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Author Topic: Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds  (Read 2604 times)

Icy

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Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds
« on: July 29, 2023, 15:18 »

Introduction and General Concepts

Introduction

Traits and character development are very rich and important for success in DoomRL, and in this guide I'll be thoroughly covering all the traits, how to viably use them, and offering my perspectives on them. Because this game has many various game modes, lengths of games, playstyles, randomness, unique situations, and so much more depth, objective decision-making can't be provided for every case. Likewise, I can only offer guidance from my own view, and naturally, that will somewhat involve my own playstyle, biases, experiences, and so on. Nonetheless, I hope all players can find this guide helpful.

There are 15 master traits in the game, and also the option to not pick any of them and go masterless, creating up to 18 different builds. This is the primary way I'll be breaking down character development and analyzing each trait.

As with all games, there is both offense and defense, and both play important roles in DoomRL. As you'll be fighting against huge hordes of enemies on every floor, sustaining as little damage as possible is what keeps you alive, which will involve lures, cornershooting, careful positioning, running away when necessary, and more. Offense is also a good defense in that if you can simply kill enemies quickly, they won't have a chance to attack back.

Of course though, you cannot avoid all mistakes and will get chipped at. Being able to have yourself a safety net for bad luck and bad decision making is also important for staying alive. To put in a simple lens, success in DoomRL is about keeping your health as high and as consistently high as possible. All strategies should revolve around this concept, whether directly or indirectly.

All traits functionally do this, whether directly such as Son of a Bitch or Tough as Nails by increasing damage dealt and decreasing damage sustained, or indirectly such as Whizkid allowing access to improvements in these two factors, or Ammochain with providing you with significantly more ammo and more inventory space.

Side challenges will also affect this, such as if you are playing Angel of Red Alert with intention to full clear the game, Hellrunner indirectly improves your survivability by allowing you more time to clear each floor by increasing movement speed and increasing your resource of time before the floor explodes. This allows you to make safer, less aggressive decisions if needed, increases the number of paths you can take to explore the floor, and so on.

This all is very obvious, but it's important to consciously recognize the fundamentals of what each trait is doing in order for you to accurately select them to best improve your chances of success.

Inventory Management

Alongside your traits is your inventory, and generally a large portion of it will be ammo so that you can be dealing damage. If you have a weapon that has infinite firing or you're using melee attacks only, then there is no need for holding ammo for most cases, and this allows you to carry far more useful items including Large Med Packs, Phase Devices, extra armors, and whatever else you may need. A bigger inventory is always an improvement.

Opposite this, if you have several points invested in Tough as Nails, Ironman, and Badass, you likely won't need to be carrying as many Large Med-Packs and can instead be bringing along a wider range of weapons, plenty of ammo, and other useful items.

So what is the correct balance? In my opinion, infinite equipment is possible through Nanomanufacture Ammo, Onyx Packs in armors, using melee, and other manners, but infinite health and defense is not. Even with maxed out builds, you can still be killed and so always having some amount of Large Med Packs is important. Alongside this, dealing massive damage also reduces your need for ammo.

That said, many games do reach a point where the rate of difficulty doesn't catch up to the strength of your build and you effectively know you have won the game long before it is actually over. In situations like this, I still generally recommend having an Envirosuit or two for deadly air floors, some nukes for quickly clearing floors and getting you to the end sooner (in particular, Nuclear Plasma Rifle and Nuclear BFG so that you can still quick nuke on floors that already started with a nuke), and some Phase Devices and Hell Staff if you are stair-diving or otherwise need to avoid the rare case where you actually are at risk of dying.

Not all games will go long enough for this to become relevant, but for those that do, I think it's very important to always gain access to at least one weapon that has infinite ammo so that you always have more flexibility with your inventory. Semi-infinite weapons such as Blaster, Nuclear Plasma Rifle, or anything with just a basic Nano Pack are also good, but the delay can poise a problem for floors that require excessive use of them, so strive to go with truly infinite weapons and armors where possible. Infinity for the sake of itself however will not always be worth it, such as trying to use a Combat Knife on a character without Brute, or using the pretty weak Nanofiber armor.

For shorter and medium length games where you can't reasonably expect to acquire these equipment, you will ultimately have to balance your inventory correctly, which is a difficult task to optimize. Generally speaking, the better you become as a player in your decision-making, the less support items you will require and can fill more of it with extra ammo, weapons, and others.
The traits and build you select will have large impacts on these decisions, and they'll be covered in the main section of the guide as well.

Masterful vs Masterless

Every class has five master traits that, generally speaking, will offer unique and strong improvements to your character and increasing your chances of success. They tend to be the focus of trait selection because of their powers, but also because they cannot be selected until all the pre-requisites have been selected, and that you don't use any of the traits that they block. Many master traits tend to narrow you into very specific ways of playing, but if those manners of playing are significantly better than other ways, then the trade-off is worth it.

Alternatively, playing masterless and not selecting any of them does not allow you to unlock them, but you have full flexibility of picking anything out of the basic and advanced traits. Playing masterless allows you to select specifically the traits you need as the randomness of the game gives you all kinds of different situations. For example, if you find Butcher's Cleaver, or a Nuclear Plasma Rifle, you might opt to pick Brute or Eagle Eye at your next level-up when you had no plans to do so prior.

Masterless builds are also significantly better for short games, such as for stair-diving or Angel of Overconfidence. You may not even achieve enough experience to select a master trait during the length of the game, so you can freely pick exactly what you need to succeed. Master traits don't always have pre-requisities that you intend on using or caring for, which leads you to either playing a weaker character in the beginning, or otherwise delaying when you actually select the master trait, likely weakening your character in the middle of the game as you are still restricted by blocked traits and playing in a narrow way without the benefits of the master trait.

Ultimately, the power of master traits are what dictate if they are worth focusing on them or to otherwise go masterless. Some master traits are very powerful and are certainly worth their costs, while others are not really all that great and can lead to your build being worse. You could still pick them if you want to play for fun with unique gimmicks and playstyles, but this guide is focused on viability.

Different Game Modes

Between five difficulties, Angel challenges, Dual-Angel challenges, achievements that involve unique and interesting challenges, and widely varying lengths of play, different builds will succeed more in different game modes. It's unreasonable to cover every single possibility, so I have to generalize, and this does lead to niche builds and trait selection being useful for certain ways of playing while they are otherwise terrible.

Some of these cases include, Scavenger being better on Archangel of 666, Sharpshooter being redundant on Angel of Max Carnage, Juggler being better on Nightmare difficulty where you can farm Former Sergeants for a stack of Shotguns to avoid reloading, Angel of Purity negatively impacting all Marine characters, Scouts with stair sense being better for stair-diving, Ammochain being better when don't intend to get infinite ammo weapons, Army of the Dead being pointless when you expect to make Nano-Shrapnel, Gunrunner being significantly better during Angel of Red Alert games, and so on.

Late Game Equipment and Traits

Generally speaking, shorter games won't have as fleshed out depth of possibilities with character development and you don't need to consider what you would do if you had all 25 trait points spent. However, for longer games such as full clear conquering standard games, or Angel of 100 and Archangel of 666 games, you will more likely encounter more of everything within the game and so you need to account for far more, if not everything, in order to fully optimize your play.

For example, Reloader trait can be helpful in speeding up your attacking, especially with Shotguns, but if you are expecting to get an infinitely firing weapon far into your game, then Reloader becomes a wasted trait. Many weapons also tend to get out-classed, such as Chaingun and Minigun being worse versions of Laser Rifle, giving less reason to use Eagle Eye. And for particularly long games, Biggest Fucking Gun, especially when in a regular BFG and finishing with a Nano Pack, tends to completely destroy every floor such that most of your other weapons are not really all that worth using or investing traits for. Son of a Bitch adding 1 damage doesn't matter much if you're doing 9d9 damage with Azrael's Scythe.

Planning this out requires where you're willing to struggle a bit more. Some traits will become pointless to have in the late game, making your build worse at that point, but if you are still strong enough that completing the game is trivial, then you suffered with a worse build in the early and middle stages for nothing. The timing of your trait selection is important.

The top weapons tend to include Biggest Fucking Gun for doing absolute destruction to everything but also including useful items and can't be fired infinitely, Dragonslayer for providing you with double melee damage on top of its insane power along with 50% faster speeds and 60% all resistance but having no range and requiring to play melee, Nanomanufacture Laser Rifle for quickly melting any single target enemy but struggling more with groups, and Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun with pierces all armor and can be endlessly fired into wide ranges to destroy everything while keeping items intact but being a fair bit weaker than the other top weapons.

The top armors and boots tend to include Cerberus Armor in one of a few bases for great all resistances and some protection, Ceberus Boots for fluid immunity and allowing far more positioning control, Plasma Shield to protect against the deadliest damage type, Cybernano Energy-Shielded Vest for best protection against all three of the late game damage types, Phaseshift set for the fastest movement speeds which is excellent for positional play and stair-diving, and Inquisitor set for fire damage immunity which is the most common at the end of the game while also providing good general protection and high movement speed.

If you are playing a long game where character development becomes much more important, be sure to consider what your build will look like towards the end of the game. If certain traits guide you towards equipment that leads to objectively worse play, then you should re-evaluate your plan.

Class Bonuses

Marine

+10 health (+2 on Angel of Humanity and Archangel of Humanity).
+20 actions for power-up effects (100 vs 80 on Nightmare, 60 vs 40 on other difficulties).
Badass does not require Tough as Nails.

Note that Ironman works the exact same way for all classes.

Marines start with 20% more health than Scouts and Technicians, and get a decent boost in power-up duration, which is particularly helpful for Berserk and Invulnerability. The extra health can also function as 20 (or 4) more with Badass x2 helping sustain the health instead of having it decay.

These are both helpful bonuses, but can be argued to be the weakest set among the other classes. The extra health is only helpful if it's making the difference between life and death, and there may be times where what killed a Scout or Technician would have been enough damage to mostly if not entirely kill off a Marine as well. It's more of a passive bonus to have, and with enough points in Ironman, the difference of 110 vs 100 isn't very significant, even as 220 vs 200 with boosted health. The benefit is stronger in the early and middle game before points in Ironman devalue the class bonus.

The power-up bonus is not a huge amount, but spending an extra 20 actions being Berserk or Invulnerable gives you more time to make use of buffs in dangerous situations. In particular, power-ups on the opposite side of the stairs are still usable for the next floor far more often than Scouts and Technicians who may have them run out. This helps a lot with preventing any hot starts being an issue. It also allows for more time if you are planning on using a nuke.

Badass being immediately available is not too bad as starting with it early will greatly increase the health you can keep, and the difference in survivability may outweigh the difference in power of going with Son of a Bitch or Finesse. Tough as Nails is a fairly strong basic trait though, so the lack of requiring it in itself is not that amazing.

These bonuses are certainly nice to have, but can be a bit lackluster relatively speaking.

Scout

+10% speed for moving, firing, reloading, waiting, all item usage, pickups, opening and closing doors, and most everything else.
All stairs are visible (does not work on Angel of Darkness, Angel of Red Alert, Archangel of Red Alert, Angel of Pacifism, or Archangel of Pacifism).
Intuition does not require Eagle Eye.

Both of these bonuses are very powerful and make the Scout inherently a strong character. With 10% extra speed in everything, which factors in with everything as a separate source except for Berserk, Scout are faster at doing everything from moving, to attacking, to even just sorting your items. Even the faster wait speed can be a little helpful with being able to act more precisely as what you're waiting for happens, allowing you to react 1 turn earlier. The increased speed improves every aspect and all simultaneously.

Stair sense is also incredibly powerful for any games where you're stair-diving. It can also be helpful in standard games if you want to check which of the pair of bonus levels was rolled to plan ahead, such as Military Base vs Phobos Lab, and adjusting your actions on the current floor beforehand. However, it's mostly irrelevant for games where you are full clearing, or playing a game mode where it gets disabled anyway.

Most games, especially on Nightmare or other forms of exceptionally challenging difficulties, will generally mean you want to stair-dive, and knowing exactly where the stairs are can save a tremendous amount of time spent on every floor, give you a much more structured plan on how to approach on every floor, and can allow you to avoid respawning enemies much easier if you had otherwise gone the wrong way in search for the stairs. This is one of the key reasons why most of the hardest achievements in the game are done with Scouts as it is exponentially more powerful than not having stair sense. On anything easier though, it loses a lot of its usefulness.

Early Intuition is also incredibly powerful as you can further improve upon your decision-making immediately, instead of requiring Eagle Eye first, making the beginning of games much easier. Not requiring Eagle Eye is also the best of the three class trait skips as Eagle Eye is not necessary for every build, while Tough as Nails for Marines and Finesse for Technicians are still highly desireable in many games.

In isolation of other class differences regarding master traits, the Scout's class bonuses are arguably the strongest by far.

Technician

Start with a Technical Pack (not provided on Angel of Berserk, Angel of Shotgunnery, Angel of Impatience, Angel of Confidence, Angel of Overconfidence, Angel of Masochism, Angel of Pacifism, Archangel of Travel, Archangel of Masochism, and  and Archangel of Pacifism).
Item usage takes 1 turn.
Computer Maps function like Tracking Maps.
BFG10K and Railgun can use a single Mod Pack or basic assembly, Cybernetic Armor is fully moddable.
Whizkid does not require Finesse.

Technicians get a lot of class bonuses, but mostly tend to be smaller. Starting with a Technical Pack can be a great way to speed up your initial weapon in isolation of Finesse. It's generally not as good to sit on for an early assembly since you won't find more Mod Packs for a few floors, and likely also not their corresponding weapon, but you could use it for a Speedloader Pistol if you roll an Agility Pack on Angel of Marksmanship. Overall, it's very small, but the early game tends to be the hardest for most characters, so the difference with it is amplified a bit.

Item usage taking 1 turn as opposed to 9 for Scouts and 10 for Marines (excluding Berserk) is incredibly helpful for when you need to use Med Packs so that you don't get immediately retaliated against by enemies. The same also applies for Phase Devices so that you have a chance to react when landing. To a smaller extent, it is also helpful when using Mod Packs and other items. It is an excellent safety net to have.

Computer Maps are far more common than Tracking Maps, and being able to more often know precisely where all monsters are and what they are is very helpful for planning out your strategies. The big downside however is that Run->Wait can't be used to instantly pass enough turns until a monster is in sight, so camping is less effective. I wouldn't consider Computer Maps common enough that this is a huge bonus, and they don't appear in bonus levels for standard games, but it's still an overall decent bonus.

Being able to mod BFG10K and Railgun is not great since BFG10K is the rarest unique (tied in spawn chance, highest in depth level), while Railgun is also fairly rare. They are generally both outclassed by other weapons, especially by the time you most likely would find them, and most Mod Packs may find better usage elsewhere, especially Nano Packs which would otherwise solve the ammo issues of both of these weapons. They're decent supplementary weapons for a few niche situations.

Being able to fully mod Cybernetic Armor is a bit better since it can be found in Hell's Armory and Deimos Lab consistently if you play well, but is unremovable and also doesn't self-repair unless modded into Nanofiber Skin Armor or Cybernano Armor. Cybernano Armor finished with a Power Pack can bring protection up to 13, while Nanofiber Skin Armor goes up to 9 with more resistances. In both cases, they tend to be outclassed by other late game armors that boost resistances to Plasma, Fire, and Acid. The benefit of it is consistency, but at the cost of stronger possibilities. I think it's a decent bonus for standard games where you are less likely to find all the best armors and can use Cybernetic Armor instead.

Having Whizkid immediately available isn't great since you generally won't make much of use it at the beginning of the game. Moreso, it's nice that it's available whenever you're ready for it. Not needing Finesse in itself isn't really helpful since it's one of the better basic traits that most characters would use anyway except for Pistol builds that use Son of a Gun.

Overall, Technicians have a wide range of little helpful bonuses, but the main one really is the instant item usage. The others you may not really notice as much and don't outweigh what a Scout could generally offer instead.
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Icy

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Re: Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2023, 15:20 »

Basic Traits

For each of the basic traits, this guide will go over a more detailed description of what they each do, and which of the 18 builds they're required, available, and blocked for. I've also provided thorough discussion of each trait, why it is beneficial, when you should choose it, and how to incorporate it into your games effectively.

Ironman

Increases current and maximum health by 10 (2 on Angel of Humanity and Archangel of Humanity)

Required for:
Marine - Survivalist

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Cateye
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Entrenchment
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
(None)

Ironman is a simple trait that increases your health, which is always important to survival, but likely not as effective at keeping you alive than avoiding damage or killing enemies easier. It's certainly not bad, but its effectiveness is generally outclassed by other traits. However, it's available for every build and is a great supplementary trait, making it popular to finish builds with in long games such as Angel of 100 and Archangel of 666. Badass x2 also effectively increases the health from Ironman to +20 per level.

One slight drawback is that one of Berserker's triggers is taking a hit that is a third or more of your maximum health (before damage reduction is calculated). By increasing your health through Ironman, you reduce the possibility of this occurring. Generally speaking though, the trade-off in extra health is more worthwhile.

Another use for Ironman in short and lucky games is extra usage of Trigun. Trigun can only be activated if your maximum health is greater than 10, and each usage costs 5 maximum health. Each point in Ironman gives you more usage at a permanent and expensive cost, but in certain scenarios, the trade-off for a nuke can be beneficial.

Proportionally, Ironman is equal in both normal games and Angel of Humanity, so it can still be used in the same manner. I don't recommend it for Archangel of Humanity however.

Overall, Ironman is good, but shouldn't be your primary focus for traits.

Finesse

Decreases attacking time by 15%, separately multiplied with other sources.

Required for:
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Malicious Blades

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Ammochain
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Marine - Army of the Dead
Technician - Entrenchment

Finesse improves the speed of firing and melee attacking, of which you'll be doing a lot of. Finesse is also a pre-requisite to Juggler and Whizkid, both of which are very useful traits in anything that is at least a medium length game.

With being able to attack faster, you will require less time to kill enemies, resulting in you taking less damage, being able to control groups of enemies more effectively, clearing floors faster, and so on. Because making enemies dead is your greatest protection against them, Finesse is naturally a very good trait.

I would generally recommend getting Finesse early unless it's not a part of a master trait you plan on using that you would like to get sooner. For Marines and Scouts, unlocking the better equipment through Whizkid is important, and the rate of experience required to gain levels increases as you go up, so you don't want to wait too long for it.

Relative to Son of a Bitch, Finesse is likewise killing faster, but it however does not directly improve ammo efficiency. Son of a Bitch is also much stronger for rapid-fires as it improves the damage for each hit, so if you are not intending to get Juggler or Whizkid right away but still want more offensive power, Son of a Bitch may be a better option. I don't think Finesse should generally be the absolute first trait you pick unless you want Juggler to be your second, but it should definitely be within your first ten or so, barring early master trait decisions.

Hellrunner

Decreases movement time by 15%, separately multiplied with other sources, and also increases dodging bonus by 15%. Note that the dodging formula is not simple and linear, so the exact amount this improves by will vary.

Required for:
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Fireangel

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Entrenchment
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Survivalist

While attacking is important, where you attack from is also important. Navigating through levels involves a lot of movement and Hellrunner will reduce the time it takes to do so.

As you get into fights with enemies, being able to position yourself in safe locations, or otherwise escape a bad situation, will help tremendously with reducing the damage you take. Outspeeding enemies, particularly Demons and Nightmare Demons also gives you significant control over them, where a deadly forced fight becomes whatever you want it to be instead. The Angel of Death for example can be avoided completely and cheesed by simply stepping outside its range, waiting for it to move two steps towards you, and then attacking while it waits for its next turn. It's also helpful for hot starts to escape the enemies' vision.

Hellrunner also helps significantly with stair-diving where you are simply trying to get to the next floor as soon as possible. With even just one point in it for a 15% reduction of time spent, the amount of time on each floor is greatly reduced when also considering the positional and escape options as mentioned above. The improvement in speed for leaving floors is also useful for reducing the amount of health decay you experience if you don't have Badass, and increasing the amount of time you have available during nuke floors.

On top of all these benefits, the chance to dodge is also increased by a fair amount. Dodging attacks will likewise significantly reduce the amount of damage you take, and further stacks with the other benefits while stair-diving. Dodgemaster will make most of the dodging aspect irrelevant, but the dodge bonus is still beneficial for rapid-fire attacks that Dodgemaster doesn't cover, particularly from Arachnotrons, making the third point in Hellrunner for more dodging still helpful.

To summarize what makes Hellrunner so good, it gives you control of when and how you fight. If you are in a situation where you are at risk of taking damage, you have a greater ability to simply opt out of engaging with it. This can often outperform more offensive traits in improving your survivability.

Hellrunner is an excellent trait that should generally be selected somewhere early on for almost any build.

Tough as Nails

Increases protection by 1.

Required for:
Marine - Survivalist
Technician - Entrenchment

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Army of the Dead
Scout - Masterless
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Cateye
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Sharpshooter

Tough as Nails is a simple trait that reduces all damage by 1, including enemy damage, fluids, and barrel explosions. As you'll be generally taking quite a few hits, Tough as Nails is a small safety net that consistently works. Since Tough as Nails applies on a per hit basis like any armor would, it's a great defense against rapid-fire attacks in particular.

As you play, every hit throughout the game that you take is being covered by Tough as Nails, but generally if you're playing well, you're already going to be reducing the number of hits you take. Other traits are generally more effective at reducing overall damage simply by setting you up better for simply not taking hits. Tough as Nails also blocks over half of the master traits including all of the Scout's, making it be used a fair bit less often than it would otherwise.

All that said, especially for longer games, you will inevitably be taking hits, and reducing this damage for when you're making mistakes and getting unlucky is very helpful. I would generally recommend getting this trait around the middle to late game and prioritize the other traits that are better at helping you succeed. You may want to select it a bit earlier if you are using a melee build since you'll naturally be taking more hits, although two of the melee master traits block Tough as Nails.

Son of a Bitch

Adds 1 damage to each attack. For rapid-fire attacks, this is added to each shot. The damage is applied before armor and distance calculations.

Required for:
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Entrenchment

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Army of the Dead
Scout - Masterless
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel

Son of a Bitch is very simple and adds damage to all of your attacks. As you'll be attacking a lot, more damage is generally very helpful for any build. The extra damage is only helpful if it reduced the number of attacks it took to kill compared to otherwise not having Son of a Bitch, but given the amount of attacks that will happen, and the widely ranging probability distributions of all attacks, this will occur fairly often and at least otherwise give you higher consistency in doing so.

Pistols, Shotguns, and especially rapid-fire weapons gain the most from Son of a Bitch. Pistols generally have lower damage, so the increase by 1 is relatively much higher. However, this is outclassed by Son of a Gun which does the same but also increases speed, so only use it if Son of a Gun is already maxed out.

For Shotguns, shrapnel damage gets reduced double by armor and target distance also reduces damage. While Son of a Bitch applies before these factors, even getting a nice rounding to score one extra damage when you otherwise may only being one or two is a huge increase. Given that Shotguns spray multiple targets with every attack, there is a good chance that Son of a Bitch will be helping with killing something faster or otherwise more reliably than normal.

Rapid-fires benefits from Son of a Bitch for every shot, which can improve the damage dealt immensely. For a Chaingun, assuming each bullet hits, this adds 4 damage with just one point into Son of a Bitch, and with the trait maxed out while using a basic Plasma Rifle, this can add as much as 30. This can be the most beneficial trait for success in the game with rapid-fires.

Son of a Bitch is outclassed by Brute for melee builds, and explosive weapons tend to do large enough damage that an extra point isn't too helpful except for the edges of the blast radius, but for most of any other weapon, it's an excellent trait. Unlike other traits that help improve your ability to fight, Son of a Bitch is also improving ammo efficiency, allowing better inventory usage, which indirectly further improves your success on top of the damage itself.

If you're going to be using rapid-fire weapons and accuracy is not an issue, this should be the primary trait you invest in generally speaking. Many different master traits block it however, and it does take quite an investment to max it out whereas you may want to be balancing the power with some speed, but overall, Son of a Bitch is an excellent trait to use.

Son of a Gun

Adds 1 damage to Pistol attacks, and decreases Pistol firing time by 20%, separately multiplied with other sources.

Required for:
Marine - Bullet Dance
Scout - Gun Kata
Technician - Sharpshooter

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Cateye
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Blademaster
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Entrenchment

Naturally, Son of a Gun is only useful if you're committing to using Pistols. Pistols are quite weak and can only hit single targets, but the benefits of them is they are extremely ammo efficient. Pistols are generally very accurate, so Son of a Gun is usually the first trait you'll want for Pistol builds and you can invest in Eagle Eye later if needed.

All Pistols in the game are fast at firing, so as you put more points into Son of a Gun, you'll eventually be able to fire multiple times before enemies react at all. If you're able to reduce firing time to the minimum amount of a single turn, you get pretty close to freezing time whenever you attack.

Son of a Gun is great and improves Pistols significantly, but Pistol builds often tend to be weaker than other builds, particularly with only firing at one target at a time. For longer and more difficult games where floors can have dozens of enemies, you'll run into issues with groups of enemies even while firing extremely fast. Most Pistols also tend to use Bullet damage, which is commonly resisted.

Overall, Son of a Gun itself is very good, but the builds that it's leading to may not necessarily be good compared to using something else. If you are indeed using a Pistol build however, this is generally the first trait you want to put points into since it's stronger than Finesse and Son of a Bitch combined. The only reason not to is if you are using a secondary weapon until your Pistols are strong enough on their own.

Reloader

Decreases reloading time by 20%, separately multiplied with other sources.

Required for:
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Shottyhead
Technician - Fireangel

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Entrenchment

Reloader speeds up the time to reload, and does so faster than you would be firing with Finesse. Most weapons also tend to have much higher reload times than firing times, so the reduction also tends to be a larger difference in the raw value of time, helping avoid spiky fluctuations with enemy reactions. That said, when considering the total time spent emptying out a magazine while firing, followed by reloading, Finesse will generally reduce the total time more than Reloader.

Shotguns can benefit much more from Reloader compared to other weapons, but because of the knockback, you'll fairly often have enough time to safely reload anyway as the enemy reapproaches. Reloader also loses some value for Shotguns as well as Rocket Launchers if you were to invest in Shottyman, where you can instantly reload with each movement. This may not be ideal if your movement speed is slow or you absolutely need to stay in place, but in many situations, you can simply run back and forth for reloading, as well if you need to run away. All that said though, you might not even want Shottyman anyway as reloading may not be a significant enough of an issue to invest so many trait points towards it.

The other drawback is that Reloader tends to be used at the end of fights unless an enemy or group can sustain a full clip, as opposed to Finesse where you're faster during the actual fight. Speed improvements while you're safe aren't helping a whole lot unless enemies are wandering around nearby. Any sort of ammo package such as a Shell Box reduces reload time by 80% already too.

Lastly, Reloader becomes almost completely irrelevant for long games where you anticipate finding a weapon that grants semi-infinite or infinite firing, meaning you never have to reload in the first place.

Overall, Reloader is helpful, but in far less situations than other traits so it shouldn't really be used. I would only recommend using Reloader if your desired master trait forces you to.

Eagle Eye

Adds +2 accuracy for all attacks.

Required for:
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Scavenger

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Cateye
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Entrenchment

Blocked for:
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Shottyhead
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Fireangel

Eagle Eye helps boost accuracy, which is a significant damage increase if you're otherwise at risk of missing attacks. However, many weapons don't usually have issues with accuracy in the first place. Pistols are already highly accurate and have the aimed shot alternative fire which gives a further +3 if needed. One or two points are usually all you need after you've made use of other traits first. Shotguns don't apply accuracy, and many explosive attacks generally work fine even if it misses the target. Melee attacks also have Brute adding the same accuracy value, but also increasing damage.

The main weapons of choice for Eagle Eye are rapid-fire weapons, which tend to be used at far range and have poor accuracy. For these weapons, Eagle Eye is very useful as you can significantly increase damage and ammo efficiency by simply hitting more often, which is also increasing your consistency and allowing for more precise strategizing. Chaingun and Plasma Rifles become much deadlier with Eagle Eye, and the damage output can be greater than Son of a Bitch, depending on various factors.

That said, you likely don't need a huge investment into Eagle Eye unless you plan on firing from opposite sides of the floor or like to do so while running which reduces accuracy. And as beneficial as Eagle Eye is to rapid-fires, Laser Rifle and Hyperblaster are generally the best of them and both already come with high accuracy values, hurting the value of Eagle Eye.

If you are playing a short to medium length game and are intending to make heavy usage of rapid-fires or Pistols, Eagle Eye is worth investing at least one point into, but otherwise you probably don't need it a whole lot. The only other usage for it is if you want to invest towards Intuition, but if you aren't actually using Eagle Eye for anything, then it's a pretty hefty cost just for that.

Brute

Adds +2 accuracy for melee attacks, and adds 3 damage for melee attacks.

Required for:
Marine - Vampyre
Scout - Blademaster
Technician - Malicious Blades

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Ammochain
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Entrenchment
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Marine - Bullet Dance
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Cateye

Melee compared to ranged attacks when all else is equal is inherently worse because it forces you to be close to the enemy instead of having the option to be far. To make up for this, melee traits tend to be very strong and Brute is the cornerstone of any melee build. With a huge boost to accuracy to greatly help to actually hitting, and 3 extra damage with each attack to greatly boost damage, any melee build should be using Brute.

Depending on your build and setup, melee attacks can also be supplementary, such as carrying a Chainsaw in your prepare slot for when enemies get too close to you. A single point in Brute is usually fine enough to let you reliably hit enemies, although this isn't needed if you have Eagle Eye. Full hybrid builds can also get reasonable damage out of just a couple points into Brute.

Another investment and usage out of Brute even for non-melee builds is Berserker, where you can gain yourself Berserk by scoring a few melee kills, or sustaining heavy damage, particularly in Angel of Humanity games. An easy source of Berserk effect can be very helpful for resistances and speed.

If you are using a melee character, you should always max out Brute at some point, and it should usually be your first trait point spent to help with accuracy issues and giving you extra power. Brute is essentially a mandatory trait if you plan on doing any type of melee attacking.
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Icy

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Re: Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2023, 15:27 »

Advanced Traits

Like with the basic traits, I'll go over all of the advanced traits in the same manner.

Juggler

Swapping to the prepared slot takes 0 time. Note that you can also swap to weapons in your inventory if you use mousewheel or hotkeys. If you melee attack an enemy while you have a melee weapon in your prepared slot, you attack with that instead of your fists.

Required for:
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Gunrunner

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Ammochain
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Marine - Army of the Dead
Technician - Entrenchment

Juggler allows you to use multiple weapons without cost of time, which can be very useful for when they have different purposes. A very common example is being able to switch between a Shotgun and Chaingun for different ranges and group sizes. This allows you to attack far more effectively and have much greater control of your ammo without worrying about dangerous time costs of switching.

Juggler is also great for swapping through multiples of the same weapon without needing to reload them. In particular and especially for Nightmare games, you can gather a large stack of Shotguns and be able to fire as many as you want, then reloading all of them as you need to when it's safe. This can also work great for multiples of Combat Shotguns, Rocket Launchers, and others.

The melee weapon side effect is mostly irrelevant since you could simply just swap your weapons to the melee weapon in the first place when attacking. It is simply a quality of life feature to save you the need to do so.

For longer games, Juggler may lose some viability depending on what your build is intended to become. For builds that become focused on just one weapon, such as Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun, Juggler isn't really helpful. That said, the majority of games and builds will use at least two weapons and Juggler helps significantly with that in the early and middle game.

The important question is if this ability is worth the trait point over something else more directly helpful. If you are efficient with using each of your weapon's advantages and being cautious to avoid using them when they're not as effective, Juggler can be worth the investment. Your inventory may become a bit messy with piles of weapons, but the ammo usage will be significantly improved which cancels out or even benefits your inventory. Overall, Juggler is a very good trait, but it may require investing your build in multiple directions to make the most out of it beyond the early game, and the act of stretching yourself out in multiple directions can either make Juggler useful or not useful to have.

Berserker

If you see at least 2 enemies, and if you attack and deal 10 or more melee damage, increase BerserkerLimit by 1. If BerserkerLimit is greater than: 4 minus the lower of enemies in your vision divided by 2 and the number 3, you gain 20 actions of Berserk effect and BerserkerLimit is set to 0. Also, when you are hit and take at least 10 damage as well as at least one third of your maximum health (before damage reduction calculations for both checks), you gain 20 actions of Berserk effect.

Required for:
Marine - Vampyre
Scout - Blademaster

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Entrenchment

Blocked for:
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Scavenger

To put succinctly, if you are attacking groups of enemies or taking heavy hits, Berserker allows you to gain 20 actions of Berserk. Berserk is an excellent effect to have giving you 50% speed increases in everything from attacking speed, to picking up items, to closing doors, gives you 60% to all resistances, and doubles your melee damage. There aren't really any reasons you wouldn't want to be Berserked.

As a trait selection, it goes excellently with melee builds of course and they generally should always have it for all of the benefits. Non-melee builds can hypothetically use it as well if you want a cheap way to give yourself the effect when needed. Angel of Humanity games in particular are good for triggering it with the lower health available. However, this may be too expensive to be worth it.

If you are really fussy and have plans to find the Dragonslayer, you could technically skip getting this trait for a point in something else, but it likely will be an unnecessary and excessive cost to likely just gain an extra bit of health with Ironman at level 25 or something else nearly as irrelevant.

Every melee build that can use this should, and it is often the best trait to choose after two or three points into Brute.

Dualgunner

When firing while holding a Pistol in both weapon slots, you can fire both at the speed of 1.2x the average speed of them individually. You can also swap weapons in 0 time if both weapons are a Pistol. Note that the mousewheel trick for your inventory does not work, even for other Pistols. You can also dual reload both Pistols at the combined speed of reloading both.

Required for:
Marine - Bullet Dance
Scout - Gun Kata

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Cateye
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades

Blocked for:
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Blademaster
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Entrenchment
Technician - Scavenger

If you're committed to a Pistol build, being able to fire twice is naturally a huge help in attacking. Dualgunner helps boost the otherwise low power of Pistols and still maintains good ammo efficiency. The speed of firing them is generally just slightly slower than firing one, so it's an overall large boost in speed that functions like having a larger clip. It can be viewed similarly like a mini rapid-fire weapon.

Because Pistols are a large committment, the only builds that should really be using them are the two master traits that require it. Dualgunner doesn't really work well as any sort of hybrid build because of how much investment it takes to make them viable in the first place. You could use a masterless Pistol build or Cateye if you want the combination of Dualgunner, Son of a Bitch, and Eagle Eye, which isn't possible with any of the Pistol-specific master traits and would hold its own by outputting heavy damage without any gimmicks involved. Gunrunner could also potentially make use of Dualgunner as an ammo efficient variant.

Overall, Dualgunner is a strong upgrade for Pistols, but unless you're using a dedicated Pistol build, it's not worthwhile choosing. If you are, it's essential.

Dodgemaster

You always dodge the first projectile of an attack. Note that the following projectiles of a rapid-fire attack can still hit and are calculated as normal.

Required for:
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Fireangel

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Entrenchment
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Survivalist

Dodgemaster is a powerful trait against projectile users, particularly those that only fire once as you can then endlessly dodge their attacks. This can still be dangerous in close spaces or if being surrounded by enemies limits the positions you can move to in order to keep dodging.

One common and very strong use for Dodgemaster is it trivializes fighting Cyberdemons as you can attack after it fires and reloads. For standard games, this can benefit any build to avoid the risk of taking serious damage or death otherwise. Dodgemaster is also great for stair-diving when you need to sneak by dangerous enemies.

Because Dodgemaster doesn't work for rapid-fire attacks, the dodge bonus of Hellrunner doesn't go entirely to waste, and does create additional incentive to choose Hellrunner x3, even if you already have Dodgemaster. Likewise, even if you have very high dodging through Hellrunner, it's capped at 95% without Dodgemaster, giving incentive back to also choosing Dodgemaster.

Because Dodgemaster is consistently reliable and reduces potential damage to 0 in most scenarios, essentially every build that can use it should. It may not be an early choice if you are playing more of a campy playstyle or if you need to focus on enhancing methods of actually attacking back, but it should be picked at least by the middle or late middle of your games. Only very short games should consider skipping it.

Intuition

The first level of Intuition makes all power-ups visible and gives a hint to what a lever may do. The second level of Intuition marks enemies with a magenta X that are within your radius of sight +3 but are out of vision, and also says exactly what a lever does. Note: for lever hints, beneficial means it is either harms creatures, armor depot, or meditech. Neutral means it is either floods with water or forces explosions. Dangerous means it is either floods with acid, floods with lava, destroys walls, or summons enemies.

Required for:
Technician - Scavenger

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Cateye
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Entrenchment

Blocked for:
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Ammochain
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Fireangel

Intuition can be a very polarizing trait among strong players of the game. Some believe it is extremely powerful and arguably one of the best traits, even including master traits. Other players recognize it as good but believe it's overrated.

Intuition doesn't directly improve your offense or defense, but instead gives you a lot of information for power-ups, nearby enemies, and levers. Levers are not a significant part of the game, but can be a little helpful such as for repairing armor, or creating a fluid flood to help destroy corpses. Because of the risks of blindly using them, I personally rarely ever use them without knowing what they do.

Knowing what power-ups are available on every floor helps you significantly plan out your approach, which allows you to greatly improve in making optimal decisions. If a Berserk Pack is nearby that you otherwise may have skipped, you've suddenly gained full health, a huge speed boost, and nice resistances. Invulnerabilities spotted near stairs can help you decide on your plan for the next floor, especially for bonus floors. Knowing where important power-ups are can also mean that you'll want to take different positions when fighting enemies, such as a Mancubus to avoid the risk of it getting destroying, knowingly or unknowingly to you otherwise. And for stair-diving in particular, if you can see that there are Invulnerabilities on the current floor, you can opt to go straight to them and easily survive running to the stairs, or alternatively, not see any and know that clearing a floor is a better option.

Knowing where enemies are within your nearby radius is incredibly useful knowledge to help you select the optimal position with every move. If you are circling a square of boxes with a Hell Knight, knowing where it is means you can set yourself up to cornershoot. Seeing where enemies are when you encounter a useful item is helpful so that you know if it's safe to immediately grab or if you'll have to come back later, instead of blindly guessing. When full clearing levels, especially on challenges like Angel of Red Alert, Intuition let's you know if a section of the level is empty of enemies and you can squeeze out the rest into smaller areas as you control more of the floor. Without Intuition, you're left to rely on enemies making sounds, of which some enemies don't make sounds at all. Keeping a close eye on the magenta X marks can also hint what enemy is where because of different movement speeds, and you can likewise plan accordingly, such as an Archvile among a group of Mancubi.

What makes Intuition powerful is that it improves your decision-making as a player, which no other trait can directly do. In a game that has layers of luck on top of more layers of luck, knowing the situation greatly reduces this, giving you significantly higher consistency when playing. You are more ammo efficient when you know precisely where to aim. You reduce damage taken if you can see that an area nearby has a group of enemies and are not only alerted sooner, but while they're still not dangerous. You make better use of items on floors when you immediately know what you have to work with and what calculated risks you should take.

I am of the opinion that Intuition is an absolute behemoth of a trait, such that almost any Scout should use their first two trait points on it. All of this said, as good as Intuition is, it is an expensive investment for Marines and Technicians as it first requires Eagle Eye x2, which is only useful for certain builds to begin with, and then another two traits to get Intuition x2. Four trait points for Intuition is certainly a very expensive cost if you aren't already planning on making use of Eagle Eye, and in that case, I think it's still reasonable to skip Intuition. However, the cost of two traits at the beginning is certainly worth it, and the information provided likely will lead you to success moreso than a point in Finesse and Hellrunner. Immediate access to Intuition is another part of what makes Scouts arguably the best class of the three.

If you are playing a Marine or Technician and don't need Eagle Eye, you can argue that Intuition is too expensive. Otherwise, you should always pick Intuition at some point for them, and early for Scouts. When you substantially trade luck for skill and are strong enough of a player to make good decisions, the game becomes a lot less luck-based and a lot more skill-based.

Badass

Increases maximum health before decay by 50% and reduces knockback by 1.

Required for:
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Army of the Dead
Marine - Survivalist
Technician - Entrenchment

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Masterless
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Cateye
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Sharpshooter

Badass is a great defensive trait with partially and then fully removing health decay. By being able to maintain up to an extra 100% health than normal without it gradually reducing as you run through levels or wait in safe positions, you effectively double your life. It also stacks well with Ironman as each +10 from that trait will function as +15 and +20 with points in Badass. This increase is a massive safety net relative to other traits and defensive options available.

The knockback reduction can also be helpful when you want to hold a position and are attacked by Shotgun blasts and various explosions. Moreso, it's helpful for melee builds who require the position of moving towards enemies in order to hit them. In this manner, reducing knockback is also effectively reducing the hits you take when using melee, further building on its defensive power.

Badass is usually a great supplementary trait after you've completed any master traits and offensive traits. Generally speaking, Badass should be selected before Ironman since the amount of extra health provided is larger, just that you'll require power-ups to gain the maximum amount as opposed to just Med Packs. Badass isn't usually a great early trait since you'll reduce more damage by killing enemies more effectively and the knockback isn't as helpful in most early games except for Former Sargeants. I would only recommend an early point for melee builds that aren't using other weapons while building up Brute and other traits, such as on Angel of Berserk games.

Shottyman

Shotguns and explosive weapons reload by 1 each time you move.

Required for:
Marine - Army of the Dead
Scout - Shottyhead
Technician - Fireangel

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Ammochain
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Scavenger

Blocked for:
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Entrenchment

Shottyman helps avoid the long and frequent reloads of Shotguns and explosive weapons by automatically reloading as you move. Depending on your character's movement speed, reloading by moving can be faster than manually reloading and is fine if you aren't holding a very specific position.

That said, reloading isn't a really significant deal for most builds, and moving around is likely slower than just reloading in the first place. It can be helpful if you are escaping a bad situation to have your weapon ready or so that you can combine reloading with dodging an attack or creating more space. Elephant Gun is the main weapon to take advantage of Shottyman.

In the middle to late game, Shotguns typically fall behind the power of other weapons like Plasma Rifle, and explosive weapons tend to require too much ammo to use as a primary weapon. In long games, it's also much more common to use Nano-Shrapnel Shotguns, which don't require reloading at all. And for any part of the game, Shell Boxes and Rocket Boxes already significantly reduce the time spent reloading. Three points for a trait that is only marginally helpful is generally not going to be worthwhile.

I would only recommend using Shottyman for master traits that require it, and as a possibility with Gunrunner, which is heavily focused on movement-based combat. Shottyman is decent at what it's for, but you'll likely benefit more from other traits and build designs.

Triggerhappy

Fires an extra shot for all weapons that fire at least 3 shots per action, excluding Tristar Blaster. Triggerhappy also applies to Pistols if you have the Bullet Dance master trait. Note that the effect of each level of Triggerhappy is only applied once when using Grammaton Cleric Beretta with Bullet Dance, despite being both a rapid-fire and a Pistol.

Required for:
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Ammochain
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Entrenchment

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Army of the Dead
Scout - Masterless
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades

Blocked for:
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Gunrunner
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Scavenger

Triggerhappy adds extra shots to rapid-fire weapons, somewhat functioning as if you were firing faster. This effect tends to be more dramatic and powerful for weapons that fire less shots such as a Hyperblaster as an extra shot is a larger percentage of the burst. It can be very powerful with killing enemies much quicker, even just as more consistency due to many rapid-fire weapons having less than perfect accuracy.

Triggerhappy can either be more ammo efficient or worse, depending on what the extra shot is doing. If the extra shot finishes off an enemy, it saved you from using a second burst. If not and you have to use a second burst anyway, two extra shots were needlessly used. That said, higher consistency in a luck-based game is always very valuable, so the trade-off is generally favorable, but you do need to take more caution with ammo management, even with semi-infinite weapons like Nuclear Plasma Rifle.

In the early game, rapid-fires may benefit more from Finesse and Eagle Eye, especially as you build up your ammo in your inventory, and assuming you've already put points into Son of a Bitch. It is a very nice offensive trait however, so around the late early to middle game is where Triggerhappy becomes most viable to use in general.

Triggerhappy tends to become more useful in later and longer games when ammo is less of a concern and the danger of each floor is increasing. Plasma Rifle and its variants are usually the best way to killing single targets and are often used. Nanomanufacture Ammo weapons also greatly benefit from the Triggerhappy and the concerns about ammo efficiency become irrelevant. The only slight downside to Triggerhappy is the amount of power it adds can be diluted a bit for rapid-fires with very large outputs, especially with Firestorm Packs added, but so long as ammo isn't an issue, Triggerhappy is one of the few traits directly adding extra damage.

Whizkid

Allows 2 extra Mod Packs for weapons and 1 for armors. The first level unlocks advanced assemblies and the second level unlocks master assemblies and being able to add 1 Mod Pack to a completed assembly. Note that assemblies completed prior to Whizkid x2 cannot be modded.

Required for:
Technician - Scavenger

Available for:
Marine - Masterless
Marine - Vampyre
Marine - Bullet Dance
Marine - Ammochain
Marine - Survivalist
Scout - Masterless
Scout - Blademaster
Scout - Gun Kata
Scout - Shottyhead
Scout - Cateye
Technician - Masterless
Technician - Malicious Blades
Technician - Sharpshooter
Technician - Fireangel
Technician - Entrenchment

Blocked for:
Marine - Army of the Dead
Scout - Gunrunner

Whizkid is the key to better equipment, which are a fundamental part of making your character stronger, tougher, faster, more efficient, and sometimes also having additional effects. Every build gains a lot from Whizkid and it should always be used at some point except for very short games. Putting points immediately into Whizkid may be a slight waste since you may not find the desired Mod Packs and item bases until further into the game, so Whizkid is often best around the middle of the game.

Even before using assemblies, Whizkid can buff your character in many ways. A Technical Pack is like an extra point in Finesse, an Agility Pack is like an extra point in Hellrunner or Eagle Eye, and a Power Pack is like an extra point in Tough as Nails or Son of a Bitch. Whizkid is versatile and customizable for your needs, and the difference with and without it becomes massive as the game progresses more and more.

One slight critique with investing in Whizkid a bit early, even with intentions for some quick and cheap assemblies or Mod Pack usage is that it is heavily reliant on the luck of finding what you need. If you have plans to improve your equipment in a certain way, you can't know when exactly you would be doing so, as compared to actual points in Finesse, Hellrunner, etc, where you get it immediately and reliably. Still, Mod Packs are generally common enough that significant impacts on your game based on the timing of Whizkid are fairly rare until you consider exotic Mod Packs. You can also reliably find Mod Packs in many bonus levels.

Whizkid overall is extremely powerful and should almost always be used.
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Icy

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Re: Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2023, 15:28 »

Master Traits and Builds

Because 15 of the 18 builds are centered around the master traits, each section will cover the same information like with the basic and advanced traits, but also go into further detail of how to build each character around master traits, how to use them in various different games, sub-type builds where applicable, and suggested trait progressions. As with all other sections, DoomRL is a very rich and dynamic game where I can't reasonably cover every niche and detail, and this information should be interpreted to be more generalized. In particular with suggested trait orders, these can all highly vary depending on what your needs are and what comes up in each game. I generally suggest the most viable order for builds to get the master traits as early as possible, but there are good reasons to delay them for certain builds, such as early Whizkid, Intuition, Dodgemaster, and others. The players are left to themselves on how to play.

Vampyre

When you kill with a melee attack, heal 10% of the enemy's max health, up to 200% of your health.

Requires: Brute x2, Berserker, Badass x1, Level 6

Blocks: Hellrunner, Son of a Bitch, Eagle Eye, Dodgemaster, Intuition, Triggerhappy

Vampyre is a very strong master trait as it is a massive help with keeping you alive. Being able to heal on every kill reduces the risk of death, reduces needing as many Med Packs in your inventory, and if you play positional or campy, you can often get a kill without taking a hit, functionally treating enemies as small health packs. All of the melee traits strongly support this strategy with Brute dealing more damage and having you take less hits per fight, and Berserker likewise boosting your power to get kills, reducing damage with its resistances, and boosting your speed to help with everything. Badass also allows you to hold onto all of that extra health you're absorbing. With enough offense and defense, you can reach a point where you come out of fights with more health than you had before.

Unlocking Vampyre is also tied for easiest in the game as it only requires 4 trait points and level 6, allowing you to use it in about two thirds the experience of the level 7 master traits, and giving you some early flexibility with one of your points.

For the blocked traits, Brute tends to cover most of the issues and they aren't huge detriments to not have access to. The main loss is Hellrunner as you can't as quickly approach enemies, which can be dangerous, but at least as a Marine with immediate access to Badass, you can reduce some of the movement by taking some less knockback. Alternatively, playing a more campy playstyle, especially in the early game, can be a lot more effective. Until your build is much stronger, you'll likely take less damage than if you were to rush at enemies as you're slow and can't really dodge. Shotguns are an excellent support and secondary weapon as they don't really require many traits to cover the weaknesses of melee with approaching and with groups of enemies.

Vampyre is also essentially the only way to achieve Iron Skull, which requires taking 10,000 damage. In order to take that damage, you need to heal close to that much health, which you can do by repeatedly farming enemies that are respawned, resurrected, or created. Farming enemies in general is also a good idea where possible to exit floors with as much health as possible.

Vampyre is flexible and can be good at almost any game type and challenge. Being a melee build, it does struggle a bit at first and isn't amazing at short games, but medium length and long games it starts to shine. Particularly for long games, finding Dragonslayer makes it one of the best builds possible, but is still pretty good even without it. Reliance on Dragonslayer is not ideal as it is quite rare to find, but Ripper (B) / (T) is a strong second choice, even if the difference is a huge gap.

Overall, Vampyre is an excellent master trait and build that truly enhances melee power, it's very flexible to use, and the trade-off of blocked traits isn't too negatively impactful.

Suggested trait order:
1) Brute 2) Brute 3) Brute 4) Berserker 5) Badass
6) Vampyre 7) Finesse 8) Finesse 9) Whizkid 10) Whizkid
11) Badass 12) Brute 13) Brute 14) Finesse 15) Tough as Nails
16) Tough as Nails 17) Tough as Nails 18) Ironman 19) Ironman 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Juggler 24) Reloader 25) Reloader

The early game is about building up some melee power, getting Vampyre as early as possible, then building towards Whizkid, and then continuing to buff your defenses. After level 22, the rest are essentially filler traits if you're perhaps using BFGs or still using Shotguns. Shottyman could be used instead of Juggler or even one level of Ironman, but you likely will get to a point where you are playing pure melee. Biggest Fucking Gun can be a way to destroy a portion of a level while following up on the survivors for easy kills for easy health absorption.

Some alternative setups for this include starting with Finesse and only taking two levels of Brute early on in order to make use of Shotguns in the early game to make up for the lack of range, but less melee accuracy can make the early game a fair bit harder and inconsistent. Since melee attacks are weak while only wielding your fists and Combat Knives, even just a basic Shotgun helps a lot with groups of enemies, scouting areas, handling Demons, and more use. If you are using a melee hybrid, you may want to pick Juggler much earlier, such as if you are using rockets for destroying corpses, or using Shotguns long-term. You could also delay getting Whizkid by a couple levels for gaining the second level in Badass earlier. However, while you can carry the 200% health instead of 150% health, depending on how much killing you're doing you may already effectively be at 200% most of the time anyway.

Overall, I wouldn't stray too much from this ordering.

Early equipment for Vampyre builds include Shotgun, Chainsaw (in standard games), and Combat Knife. I don't really suggest using other weapons with the lack of Son of a Bitch and Eagle Eye. Middle game equipment includes Piercing Blade Chainsaw (in standard games), Chainsword, Tactical Shotgun, Red Armor (P), and Nanofiber Red Armor. Piercing Blade Chainsaw or otherwise Chainsword are your best melee weapons, or if you're lucky, Butcher's Cleaver. Chainsaw (B) is actually stronger on average against most enemies, but is weaker against Cyberdemon, Angel of Death, and any enemies picking up armors, but it does make good use of Bulk Packs that otherwise may go to waste. If you're able to tough out a harder early game, saving your Chainsaw until you unlock Whizkid x2 to assemble Ripper is the best non-unique melee weapon, and you can use a single Mod Pack of your choice in the meantime. Tactical Shotgun is generally your best weapon for handling groups or enemies far out of range, especially Former Sargeants who have strong knockback. Because you can expect to take lots of hits, despite constant healing, Nanofiber Red Armor is excellent to use, while Red Armor (P) is for more dangerous enemies. Your health will be semi-infinite, so you need to make sure your armor is infinite too.

Late game equipment doesn't tend to change significantly except for Cerberus Boots (A), Chainsword (P), Nanofiber Red Armor (P), and possibly Tactical Shotgun (P). Various exotic armors and unique armors can be very beneficial such as Gothic Armor in Nanofiber Armor assembly, Phaseshift Armor, Shielded Armor, and Cybernetic Armor. If you find an Onyx Pack, you can opt out of using Nanofiber Armor for something much tougher. Assault Shotgun and Laser Rifle are also nice possible finds. Longinus Spear and Azrael's Scythe are both massively powerful weapons that you should always obtain in standard games, or otherwise use Ripper (B) / (T). If you can kill enemies in a single hit, Ripper is more efficient in time, but its accuracy can be a detriment until you get Brute x5.

For long games, you may be fortunate enough to find Dragonslayer, from which point you will basically kill everything in one hit and doing so extremely fast that you will constantly heal, while also taking almost no damage, more or less winning the game. Otherwise, use Ripper (B) / (T) or the reward from Unholy Cathedral. Shielded Armor is excellent if you play campy, or otherwise a Cerberus Armor with one of the strong bases, ideally Gothic Armor (O) or (P). Cybernano Energy-Shielded Vest (P) is also excellent with Berserk for covering more resistances, at the cost of being permanently unremovable, which is particularly a problem if you want to equip Dragonslayer. For boots, Cerberus Boots (A) are usually your best choice, but you could use the Phaseshift Set instead for better movement speed to approach enemies with. Inquisitor Set is also always good so long as you can let it repair as you fight.

Bullet Dance

Triggerhappy works for Pistols. Note that the effect of each level of Triggerhappy is only applied once when using Grammaton Cleric Beretta with Bullet Dance, despite being both a rapid-fire and a Pistol.

Requires: Son of a Bitch x2, Son of a Gun x2, Dualgunner, Triggerhappy x1, Level 7

Blocks: Hellrunner, Eagle Eye, Brute, Berserker, Dodgemaster, Intuition

Bullet Dance simply allows Pistols to benefit from Triggerhappy, allowing for multiple shots from them in a row like a rapid-fire weapon. The advantages of doing this over just using a rapid-fire is that Pistols are much stronger on a per bullet basis, they benefit from Son of a Gun, and tend to be more accurate. With Son of a Gun x5, Son of a Bitch x5, and Dualgunner, most enemies get killed very quickly. With Son of a Gun, the bursts are also extremely fast, so for anything that does survive, or when taking on groups, you can continue shooting with little retaliation.

Bullet Dance at first can also be excessive with ammo, but you're able to still use aimed shots to fire individual shots, or simply keep your second weapon empty and avoid dual reloading. Bullets tend to be fairly ammo efficient to begin with which is also helpful.

This all sounds quite nice, and the build does become fairly viable in the late game with some nice equipment, but Bullet Dance is very weak in the early and middle games. Bullet Dance will often knockback enemies so that you won't be getting full damage unless you're aiming at one of the eight main angles. Bullet damage also tends to be quite weak compared to other types, especially against Revenants.

Bullet Dance also has awful blocks, especially Eagle Eye, meaning that many of your shots will miss. Pistols, Combat Pistols, and the unique ones do have decent accuracy, but not enough to max out the chance to hit even at point blank. Lack of Hellrunner also slows you down significantly, and Dodgemaster hurts defensive combat a lot. Lack of Intuition also impacts navigation through floors and trying to hit enemies that fall out of your vision after knockback.

Until you get all of the Son of a Gun and Son of a Bitch traits available, the damage itself is also not fantastic, so for short or medium length games, you functionally turn Pistols into a Chaingun, or at best, a Minigun. For long games, you can get a much more viable build out of masterless or other master traits that use better weapons, even among rapid-fire usage like a Laser Rifle.

Angel of Death poses serious problems for conqueror games due to Bullet Dance blocking both Brute and Hellrunner, so you'll either need very fast items or cheese it with a nuke.

Overall, Bullet Dance is bad but is at least playable once you build up the power.

Suggested trait order:
1) Son of a Gun 2) Son of a Gun 3) Dualgunner 4) Son of a Bitch 5) Son of a Bitch
6) Triggerhappy 7) Bullet Dance 8) Finesse 9) Finesse 10) Whizkid
11) Whizkid 12) Triggerhappy 13) Son of a Gun 14) Son of a Gun 15) Son of a Gun
16) Son of a Bitch 17) Son of a Bitch 18) Son of a Bitch 19) Tough as Nails 20) Tough as Nails
21) Tough as Nails 22) Badass 23) Badass 24) Ironman 25) Ironman

For the pre-requisites, Dualgunner is generally better than Triggerhappy, mostly due to the lack of accuracy for Chaingun, although Son of a Bitch earlier is helpful if you start with a Shotgun. Once you have Bullet Dance, your best method to improve your build is generally access to Whizkid, and the traits for adding damage should come after. After all those traits are filled in, then start focusing on the defensive traits. It takes a long time for Bullet Dance to start becoming fairly effective, and you can be very frail until you get Tough as Nails. You could mix the trait order, but strong damage is more helpful since you'll already be fast to counter retaliation, and it improves ammo efficiency which can be an issue. If you're fine with getting Whizkid later, you can also get Triggerhappy x2 after Bullet Dance to make more use of the master trait.

In the early game, standard equipment is Pistol x2 and Shotgun. Most of the basic assemblies for Pistols are not great, so you may prefer simply using Agility Packs for accuracy increases. Speedloader Pistol can be decent once you get Bullet Dance due to the need to reload frequently. In the middle game, Pistols with Bulk Packs and Agility Packs best support Bullet Dance, while armor should generally be something that reduces damage well like Red Armor (P), and Tactical Boots are usually the best until you have access to more Mod Packs and Whizkid x2. If you're lucky, you might find Trigun, Anti-Freak Jackal, or Grammaton Cleric Beretta, all of which generally outclass regular Pistols.

For the late game, you'll have low defenses and need to balance your inventory between bullets and Med Packs. Strong armor like Cerberus Armor (P) / (O) in a strong base is helpful, as well as Cerberus Boots (A) to travel across fluids. For weapons, it highly depends on what you find. The good and cheap option is Pistol (PPPBB) x2, while Combat Pistol (PPPSB) x2 is much nicer. Mod Packs are fairly customizable and you may prefer Agility Packs or double Sniper Packs for less accuracy issues. Anti-Freak Jackal, Trigun, and Grammaton Cleric Beretta are also all very helpful and powerful over regular Pistols, but can fall behind a very strong Combat Pistol.

For long games, Nanomanufacture Combat Pistol (S) x2 are your best Pistols possible as it removes the issues regarding ammo management and reloading speed. It allows you to be spammy when firing and makes the build very powerful, able to destroy even Cyberdemons in a few bursts. You may also want to get Biggest Fucking Gun for more general coverage, either in a regular BFG (N) or Nuclear BFG (F). Inquisitor Set provides some good protection and movement speed, while Cerberus Gothic Armor (P) / (O) and Cerberus Boots (A) are better for damage reduction. Phaseshift Set is also nice with its movement speed and allows you to adjust your firing angles if you knockback enemies in awkward directions. Grammaton Cleric Beretta in full-auto has some of the highest damage per in-game time of everything in the game, but ammo usage can get excessive and Nanomanufacture Combat Pistols do just fine, even if slightly weaker.

Army of the Dead

Sharpnel damage is instead piercing damage.

Requires: Reloader x2, Badass x1, Shottyman, Level 6

Blocks: Finesse, Hellrunner, Eagle Eye, Juggler, Dodgemaster, Intuition, Whizkid

Army of the Dead is tied for the most flexible trait to unlock, only requiring 4 traits and level 6, and adds some decent damage to Shotguns which otherwise generally have the worst damage type. It can be roughed out to be extra damage equal to double an enemy's armor value, but this does still come before distance checks. Overall, it will save varying amounts of shots to kill, which helps with safer, faster kills, better ammo efficiency, not having to worry about enemies picking up armors, and significantly better damage against the toughest enemies.

Unfortunately, that's where the good of the trait mostly ends. Army of the Dead is the only master trait to block a total of 7 others, and every single one of them is a good one too. Without either Hellrunner or Finesse, this build is very slow. Lack of Hellrunner hurts the usage of Shottyman as a form of reloading because the time spent moving around is generally much more than just standing in place to reload, and without Dodgemaster, it's generally not ideal to be running around enemies in combat to reload. Camping also is less effective because of slower firing speed. This can counteract Army of the Dead's damage buff as you may still be getting hit just about as many times anyway. Only hiding in secluded areas are safe, and lack of Intuition also hurts the ability to scout for these.

Lack of Eagle Eye and Juggler also harms the potential of using any secondary weapons effectively, such as a Chaingun or Plasma Rifle. Stacking Shotguns and cycling through with Juggler is unavailable, although this is somewhat alleviated by taking Reloader early on in the game. Rocket Launchers can be helpful as support, but they're ineffective as a true secondary weapon due to low ammo and messiness with use.

And even if you get a decent game going, the big lack of Whizkid means that you quickly get capped in how effective your equipment can get to. Basic assemblies end up being the best items, such as Tactical Shotgun, Elephant Gun, Red Armor (P), and Tactical Boots. You can potentially find some better exotics and uniques, but then you also become highly reliant on luck to find them in order to improve your build.

The biggest setback for Army of the Dead is the trait itself is obsoleted by just about any other build which can make Nano-Shrapnel anyway, which also provides infinite firing, making it better than anything Army of the Dead can generally use. Not having to find a Nano Pack for part of the effect is certainly helpful, but not at the expense of everything else.

Army of the Dead is decent at short games because of how quickly accessible it is, but for medium and long games, the build stops meaningfully developing and is far less viable than most other builds. Even against the Cyberdemon, the trait struggles a bit because while the piercing damage adds a ton of damage against its otherwise strong armor, simply having Dodgemaster does much better anyway.

Overall, Army of the Dead sucks. It's still playable, but it's a huge handicap compared to just using other builds.

Suggested trait order:
1) Son of a Bitch 2) Reloader 3) Reloader 4) Shottyman 5) Badass
6) Army of the Dead 7) Son of a Bitch 8) Son of a Bitch 9) Badass 10) Tough as Nails
11) Tough as Nails 12) Son of a Bitch 13) Son of a Bitch 14) Tough as Nails 15) Ironman
16) Ironman 17) Ironman 18) Ironman 19) Ironman 20) Reloader
21) Triggerhappy 22) Triggerhappy 23) Brute 24) Brute 25) Berserker

Early on, you'll likely be using a Pistol briefly before a Shotgun, so Son of a Bitch can be a helpful start. You could also get Badass a bit earlier if you don't find needing Reloader as much in the early game, especially as many enemies die in one or two hits, but Shotguns can be fairly slow without it. Army of the Dead should be obtained as early as possible, followed by buffing its damage up more and then improving your defenses. Brute is also necessary for the Angel of Death since you can't as easily cheese by running away since Hellrunner is blocked, so if you intend to kill it, get Brute much earlier.

By level 20, there's not really anything else worth getting because of all the blocks, so you could also either go with a melee secondary or a Pistol secondary. If ammo becomes an issue, you could opt to get these traits earlier instead of Ironman. Melee doesn't fill up your inventory with ammo, and can help for single targets, while Son of a Gun and Dualgunner can give you a secondary ammo set. In particular for long games, if you find Frag Shotgun, which uses bullets to fire, having Pistols helps by sharing ammo. If you are playing a long game, you could put two points into Triggerhappy, specifically for Jackhammer, which does become absurdly powerful, but is not ammo friendly and hard to find. The third point in Reloader can be a bit helpful, even earlier on in leveling if you're playing very campy. Berserker only really helps with getting boosted after a heavy hit, but this might become impossible to trigger anyway with the usage of Ironman. Overall, you'll generally be using Shotguns and the traits beyond level 20 don't really matter.

Early game equipment includes mostly just a Shotgun. If you're lucky, you can find a Combat Shotgun to switch to. Agility Packs generally go into Steel Boots, while Power Packs and Technical Packs are best to be saved for weapons later on. Bulk Packs aren't too useful, so you can use it in a Shotgun for even faster reloading, or otherwise Chainsaw in standard games. In the middle game, Tactical Shotgun, Elephant Gun, Red Armor (P), and Tactical Boots are the main equipment. Elephant Gun does much more damage and has a better spread, while Tactical Shotgun reloads faster and has more ammo in its clip. Tactical Shotgun tends to be easier to assemble since it takes different Mod Packs.

For the late game, your equipment doesn't change a whole lot since you can't get Whizkid. Rocket Launcher (T) can be a decent support since they benefit from Shottyman and Reloader a lot. You could also invest in having Fireproof Platsteel Boots for better fluid resistances. Overall though, you need to rely on finding lucky exotics and uniques to get better equipment. You'll cap out quickly, and long before the danger of enemies do.

For long games where you can reasonably expect to find a lot more, Jackhammer is a nice addition to your supply, as well as Assault Shotgun (T), Super Shotgun (T), and Elephant Gun. Assault Shotgun (N) is your best option for semi-infinite ammo if shells get low and you happen to find a Nano Pack. For more diverse ammo, you may also want Frag Shotgun and Plasma Shotgun (T) / (N) so you don't have to rely on only shells. Army of the Dead with Jackhammer and Triggerhappy is actually the most powerful Shotgun by a huge gap, but still not the most viable because of Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun and its infinite shooting. For armors and boots, Inquisitor Set is nice, but Phaseshift Armor (O) with Phaseshift Boots (A) can be nice for fluid immunity and gaining a lot of movement speed. Enviroboots and Lava Boots assembly in Acid-Proof Boots are other ways to get fluid immunity since Cerberus Boots are unavailable.

Ammochain

Weapons that can Chain Fire only use 1 ammo per burst. Note that BFG10K uses 5 instead of 25.

Requires: Son of a Bitch x2, Reloader x2, Triggerhappy x2, Level 7

Blocks: Tough as Nails, Son of a Gun, Eagle Eye, Dualgunner, Intuition

Ammochain significantly improves ammo efficiency of rapid-fire weapons by reducing ammo costs per burst. For Plasma Rifles with the required Triggerhappy x2, the cost per burst is an eighth of what it normally is. This allows you to very freely spam powerful shots, keeps your inventory much more open for other useful items, and greatly reduces the need to reload. While other builds can be using Plasma Rifle and other rapid-fires, they generally can't sustain the ammo cost for very long.

Ammochain does slightly suffer from the lack of Eagle Eye and lower accuracy, but with spamming enough shots, you can still reliably kill enemies. Hyperblaster and Laser Rifle in particular mostly nullify the issue and then Ammochain can supply you with constant huge damage.

This build also starts off fairly strong as Son of a Bitch is a great trait and is a prerequisite, while Triggerhappy is also very good, and Reloader can support Shotgun usage. Blocking Tough as Nails is a slight detriment, but not significantly so, and compared to other Marine builds, this is only one besides masterless that can use Hellrunner. Ammochain doesn't really block off anything too significant.

Hyperblaster being reliably available is critical to making Ammochain powerful because of its accuracy and having good power too. While using only 1 ammo per burst doesn't make as significant use due to Hyperblaster shooting smaller bursts, it generally does more damage on a per ammo basis still, and it also firing twice as fast as other rapid-fire weapons.

The main drawbacks to Ammochain is that it is a bit weaker with groups of enemies as rapid-fires are generally single target weapons, and lack of Eagle Eye, while impacting accuracy, does also block Intuition, which is generally a very useful trait for rapid-fire builds. Ammochain does also lose some of its advantage when it comes to late game weapons such as Nanomanufacture rapid-fires, and to a lesser extent, Nuclear Plasma Rifle, but with only single shots per burst, Ammochain allows for the expensive weapon of Laser Rifle (NNFFF), which offers two extra Firestorm slots compared to Nanomanufacture Laser Rifle (F), and Nuclear Plasma Rifles with their decent clips means that you can get a lot out of them after recharging compared to non-Ammochain usage. You can also use two Nuclear Plasma Rifles and never really run out of being able to fire by switching between them.

Overall, Ammochain is extremely strong and could be argued as the the best middle game build, while still being strong in the early and late games as well. It's one of the best master traits.

Suggested trait order:
1) Son of a Bitch 2) Son of a Bitch 3) Triggerhappy 4) Triggerhappy 5) Reloader
6) Reloader 7) Ammochain 8) Finesse 9) Finesse 10) Whizkid
11) Whizkid 12) Son of a Bitch 13) Son of a Bitch 14) Son of a Bitch 15) Hellrunner
16) Hellrunner 17) Dodgemaster 18) Finesse 19) Hellrunner 20) Badass
21) Badass 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Ironman

Start off by increasing power and then larger bursts with Triggerhappy while using Chaingun. If you really prefer Shotguns, you could switch the order of Reloader and Triggerhappy. Once you have Ammochain, going for Whizkid to unlock access to Hyperblaster and more usage of Mod Packs is important. Then from there is power, speed, and defenses. For standard games, you may want to get Dodgemaster much earlier to handle the Cyberdemon, but if you're careful and have decent armor, you could cornershoot it from the pillars. You'll also need to rely on Hellrunner for the Angel of Death.

For the early game, you can either focus on Chaingun, Shotgun or both. If you like to use Agility Packs for your early rapid-fires, you should just use Protective Boots or Platsteel Boots instead of Tactical Boots. The middle game is where Ammochain begins to shine with Gatling Gun, Plasma Rifle, and Hyperblaster. While Hyperblaster does fire less shots in its burst, its huge accuracy bonus and higher damage makes up for the difference and is definitely the best choice on a per shot basis. It also fires faster, which can be helpful in dangerous situations. You could use a Firestorm Pack on it, but it may serve better for a potential Laser Rifle. However, 2 extra shots on a Hyperblaster to go from 5 to 7 is a pretty big increase. For armor, Red Armor (P) is a good choice, but be cautious on your slow move speed. Tactical Boots or working towards Cerberus Boots (A) are the best choices for boots. Once you have Hyperblaster (A) / (F), fill your inventory with cells and you'll likely replenish them before ever getting even close to running out. Ammochain with Hyperblaster destroys everything.

For the late game, Hyperblaster (A) / (F) is still the best choice unless you get lucky enough to find Laser Rifle, in which case you should add Power Packs, Firestorm Packs, and Nano Packs to it. Nuclear Plasma Rifle can also be nice if you want to empty out your inventory for more useful items than ammo, in which case you may want to use Bulk Packs so you don't have to worry about recharging as often. For armor, Cerberus Armor (P) / (O) is good for covering resistances, and Cerberus Boots (A) are good for fluid immunity. The enemies will start to catch up a bit to Ammochains domination, but you'll still have traits to put points into to keep up.

For long games, Ammochain falls a bit behind because of Nanomanufacture Ammo, so you may want to opt for weapons that don't use it in order to benefit from more Mod Pack slots. Laser Rifle (NNFFF) gives infinite ammo through no recharge delay and is the most powerful rapid-fire in the game when setup with 3 Firestorm Packs. Nuclear Plasma Rifles can also become infinite with just one Nano Packs since they already recharge, and have a lot of Mod Pack slots for customization. Another weapon that can be interesting to use is Demolition Ammo Minigun (F) / (N), which gives you huge, mostly free bursts of firey explosions, which can be helpful for clearing out corpses, although it can't destroy walls. For armors and boots, Cerberus Gothic Armor (P) and Cerberus Boots (A) are good for protecting you, and Inquisitor Set is also good for fire immunity and movement speed.

Survivalist

Med Packs are capped in healing to 200% instead of 100%. Large Med Packs heal up to half your health, or up to 100%, whichever is more. Also, all damage you take that would be reduced to 0 has a 50% chance of doing no damage.

Requires: Ironman x3, Tough as Nails x2, Badass x1, Level 7

Blocks: Hellrunner, Son of a Bitch, Berserker, Dodgemaster, Triggerhappy

Survivalist is a fairly unique master trait as it's one of the few directly improving defenses instead of offense. With the Med Pack effect, you can make good usage of all the excess Small Med Packs without filling inventory space, instead of either wasting them or risking enemies picking them up. Staying at well above 100%, especially with the extra health through Ironman and the Marine's naturally higher health, ends up giving you significantly more than most builds. With the minimum requirement of Ironman x3, the accessible 200% is a total of 180 health, as opposed to 50 for other characters that can't as easily achieve or maintain that.

The effect of reducing damage to 0 in some cases is also helpful. With strong enough armor, some resistances, and Tough as Nails, a lot of weak damage can be ignored, such as Shotgun blasts from a bit of distance, indirect splash damage, and many rapid-fire attacks. Although there is a luck factor and no direct indication that damage was reduced to 0, the effect makes your build's health sustain a lot longer, which is already much higher than usual.

Being a defensive trait, Survivalist is also versatile with weapons, and you can effectively make a Shotgun, Pistol, Melee, or hybrid build with Survivalist. The damage and speed dealt won't be as good as other builds, but you'll be able to tank damage significantly better than others.

All of this sounds pretty great on paper, but there are quite a bit of setbacks to this general strategy. First, your health will get quickly destroyed on harder difficulties if you can't offensively defend yourself by quickly killing enemies. All the health in the world won't matter if it's getting constantly drained. Next, while all the extra health is available, many other builds can also just as easily dump points into Tough as Nails and Ironman early on, just that it's often more effective to focus on Son of a Bitch, Hellrunner, and Finesse, two of which are blocked with this build. Lack of Dodgemaster also creates a problem with the Cyberdemon for standard games, and you can't tank rockets or hard-hitting melee attacks forever.

With the nature of the game tending to favor offense, Survivalist is a bit backwards with early focus on the defensive traits first. This means that traits like Ironman which are usually your filler skills for late game become what you need early on to unlock the master trait and others like Finesse and Whizkid take the late game spot of what would be filler traits. Whizkid is also very needed for many setups as the effect of reducing some damage to 0 won't occur often if you can't reduce damage that low in the first place, making Survivalist essentially a Med Pack booster, which is still nice, but definitely not worthy alone of being a master trait. Top, end game equipment is generally required to reduce damage down to 0 as by the time you unlock Survivalist, you'll be seeing more stronger enemies anyway.

Survivalist is a decent choice for long games with Angel of 100 and Archangel of 666 where you can more realistically find everything you need for the build and gain the experience to unlock all the traits you need, but otherwise, Survivalist is pretty average for standard games.

Suggested trait order (Shotgun/hybrid):
1) Finesse 2) Finesse 3) Tough as Nails 4) Tough as Nails 5) Badass
6) Ironman 7) Ironman 8) Ironman 9) Survivalist 10) Badass
11) Whizkid 12) Whizkid 13) Tough as Nails 14) Finesse 15) Ironman
16) Ironman 17) Eagle Eye 18) Eagle Eye 19) Intuition 20) Intuition
21) Juggler 22) Brute 23) Brute 24) Brute 25) Brute

Survivalist is arguably the only master trait where it's generally less viable to try to unlock it as fast as possible as you'll need many other traits both to support making good usage of Survivalist, and to be able to attack back and reduce the damage you take before taking into consideration of the master trait's effects. Finesse is generally the best starting trait for offense, then you can build up to Survivalist. You may want Badass x2 before it if you want to keep 200% instead of just 150%. Whizkid can also be valuable earlier on, as well as Juggler if you are shuffling multiple weapons. From there is improving the rest of the traits, and then investing towards Intuition, and filling in the rest. Rapid-fires with a few levels of Eagle Eye are still decent, but lack of Son of a Bitch and Triggerhappy leaves them much weaker than other builds. Brute for some melee power is also nice to cover potential ammo issues of Shotguns. If you want to fully submit to Shotguns, you could also invest in Reloader and Shottyman, but given that Nano-Shrapnel makes the traits useless, they're not worth it for long games, which is what Survivalist is best in anyway. Other weapons you can play with are Rocket Launchers, Acid Spitter, and Tristar Blaster, as with strong enough armor, you can reduce the self-damage to 0 part of the time as well.

Suggested trait order (Pistols):
1) Son of a Gun 2) Son of a Gun 3) Dualgunner 4) Eagle Eye 5) Finesse
6) Finesse 7) Tough as Nails 8) Tough as Nails 9) Badass 10) Whizkid
11) Whizkid 12) Ironman 13) Ironman 14) Ironman 15) Survivalist
16) Badass 17) Tough as Nails 18) Son of a Gun 19) Son of a Gun 20) Son of a Gun
21) Eagle Eye 22) Intuition 23) Intuition 24) Eagle Eye 25) Eagle Eye

At the very end of this build, you get a really fast firing Pistol build that also can handle taking a ton of damage. Because of how fast attacks are, you can very precisely choose when to heal during fights, which can help optimize usage of Med Packs, or just running into a different position. The obvious issue with this build is you pretty much need to hit level 23 to be functionally complete, and Survivalist has to take a backseat in order for you to be able to attack back at enemies effectively. This build only functionally works for long games, but is pretty decent once complete.

Suggested trait order (melee):
1) Brute 2) Brute 3) Brute 4) Tough as Nails 5) Tough as Nails
6) Badass 7) Ironman 8) Ironman 9) Ironman 10) Survivalist
11) Finesse 12) Finesse 13) Whizkid 14) Whizkid 15) Badass
16) Brute 17) Brute 18) Tough as Nails 19) Ironman 20) Ironman
21) Finesse 22) Eagle Eye 23) Eagle Eye 24) Intuition 25) Intuition

Like the other Survivalist variants, this build takes very long to complete and the early game can be tough. A point or two in Finesse before Survivalist can be helpful for better attacking speeds if desired and for support for a Shotgun secondary weapon. The exact ordering of all the traits is highly customizable for your specific needs, but you won't be able to make good use of Survivalist for awhile. The advantage of using melee with Survivalist is that melee damage from enemies is generally much weaker and you can reduce the damage to 0 much easier. However, lack of Berserk is a big loss and with also missing Hellrunner, you'll have to play fairly campy. If you're lucky enough to find Shielded Armor, you can actually tank hits very effectively. If you're also lucky enough to get Dragonslayer, the massive boost in resistances will actually start making your build feel more invincible, while still dealing massive damage to anything that approaches you, and turns out to be a pretty good build. The obvious issue with that is getting the build going and actually acquiring Dragonslayer is very rare. If you do get it, Cybernano Energy-Shield Vest makes you mostly immune to all of acid, plasma, and fire, and likewise pretty tanky for the other damage types which generally deal less damage. This variant has the worst average viability, but has the greatest potential when fully maxed out.

For the early game, your equipment will highly vary based on what type of variant you're planning for, but Pistol x2, Shotgun, Chaingun, and Chainsaw, are all the good standards. For the middle game, you might not yet have access to both Whizkid and Survivalist, so your best choices may be Red Armor (P), Tactical Shotgun, Piercing Blade Chainsaw, and Tactical Boots. Even with 8 protection through the armor and Tough as Nails, there might not be too many attacks it's reducing to 0 anyway, unless you're playing on an easy difficulty.

For the late game, you'll hopefully have some of the traits to get Survivalist going more. Assault Shotgun (PPPTT) or Tactical Shotgun (P), Piercing Blade Chainsaw or Unholy Cathedral rewards, and Hyperblaster and Pistol (PPBBB) x2 are some of the various common weapons for your build. Lots of different uniques can be very useful too. For armors, Cerberus Armor (P) might be able to reduce damage low enough depending on the attacks and rolls, but might not actually work all that often. Specialized armors tend to be more effective such as Plasma Shield, Energy Shield, Shielded Armor, and Tower Shield. If you try for something more generalized, you'll reduce damage well like normal, just that it doesn't make use of Survivalist. For boots, Cerberus Boots (A) are always good for fluid immunity.

For long games, the best equipment will depend on the build. Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun (P), Biggest Fucking Gun in regular BFG (N), Combat Pistol (PPPBB) or the expensive variant of (PPPNN), and Dragonslayer are all the usual best weapons. For armors, a mix of specialized shields are generally best to cover for everything, or Cerberus Gothic Armor (P) if you're fine with not taking full advantage of Survivalist and want better inventory management. Shielded Armor is excellent for melee camping, or if you find Dragonslayer, Cybernano Energy-Shielded Vest compliments the Berserk effect well. Every build likely makes best usage of Cerberus Boots (A) unless you want to use Inquisitor Set or Phaseshift Set.
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Icy

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Re: Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2023, 15:30 »

Blademaster

If a melee attack kills an enemy, the attacking time is instant.

Requires: Hellrunner x2, Brute x3, Berserker x1, Level 7

Blocks: Tough as Nails, Son of a Bitch, Son of a Gun, Dualgunner, Badass, Triggerhappy

Blademaster essentially lets you get free kills of enemies in terms of time, which can save a lot when there are large groups. When there are multiple enemies within your range, you're able to functionally attack all of them instantly, so long as you can hit hard enough, or if there are multiple enemies spread out within your vision, you can charge at them more effectively without getting attacked back as often.

When paired up with Berserker and Hellrunner, Blademaster highly encourage aggressive melee play, as opposed to melee setups that are more campy. With the power of the Berserk effect and the speed of it too alongside Hellrunner, you can effectively run up to a group of enemies, force yourself between them if they're clustered adjacently, and hack away at them all. The resistances from Berserk also help support you not getting killed while playing in this way. Large amounts of kills will also help boost your Berserk effect duration further and you can continue playing more aggressively. This strategy along with having stair sense also allows for Blademaster to make a decent stair-diving build too.

Like all melee builds, Dragonslayer makes Blademaster insanely powerful as you have permanent double power, tons of resistances, and huge speed, effectively letting you run around floors and hacking away. If you happen to find it, Blademaster destroys everything and you become fairly immortal with smart play.

There are some downsides to Blademaster. First is that unless you can reduce damage enough significantly enough, you'll need to be healing a lot of damage, especially if you can't get Berserk effect initially. Lack of Tough as Nails and Badass means that Blademaster builds can be a bit of a glass cannon. Blademaster also tends to work better on harder games where there are more enemies to take advantage of using Blademaster. Easier games where there are only a few scattered enemies doesn't really make a difference if your kills are instant or not for the most part. Butcher's Cleaver is also a pretty common unique and already gives Blademaster, while being powerful too. In fact, unless you're using Dragonslayer, Ripper, or a reward from Unholy Cathedral, Butcher's Cleaver is your next best choice despite making your master trait irrelevant. This can also mean other builds gain Blademaster while using a different master trait, which does hurt Blademaster as a build. That said, Butcher's Cleaver is not the only good melee weapon, and having the Blademaster effect with something stronger, and always knowing you'll have it is certainly good.

Overall, if you can mostly stay Berserk and intelligently play aggressively, Blademaster is solid overall.

Suggested trait order:
1) Brute 2) Brute 3) Brute 4) Berserker 5) Hellrunner
6) Hellrunner 7) Blademaster 8) Dodgemaster 9) Finesse 10) Finesse
11) Whizkid 12) Whizkid 13) Brute 14) Brute 15) Hellrunner
16) Finesse 17) Intuition 18) Intuition 19) Ironman 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Eagle Eye 25) Eagle Eye

In the early few levels, playing campy and using a few levels of Brute for the power and accuracy is generally the strongest way to start. Once you get Blademaster, Dodgemaster is very helpful to support aggressive play, and then the rest is buffing up speed and power. You can choose to get Intuition earlier as it can be helpful for finding groups of enemies to charge at, as well as all of its other benefits. Eagle Eye is a decent filler trait at the end as you can run with more accuracy, although the Berserk effect will keep you from running a lot. Juggler can be helpful if you're using a hybrid build, although most other weapons will be quite weaker without Son of a Bitch. This may actually be beneficial in some situations as you can use other weapons as a way to weaken enemies so that you get the instant kills with melee after.

For the early game, you could use Combat Knives or a Chainsaw, but a Shotgun will probably serve you better. Tactical Boots are great to help with movement speed. For the middle game, Piercing Blade Chainsaw is your main melee weapon, or otherwise Chainsword. If you're lucky, you may also find Butcher's Cleaver early, which is a bit redundant, but still your best weapon. You might actually consider delaying Blademaster and playing more of a masterless melee build until you find something better if you do. Nanofiber Red Armor (P) helps reduce a lot of damage and pairs well with the Berserk effect, but speedy armors such as Duelist Armor (P) are much more supportive for aggressive play.

For late game, Cerberus Boots (A) are still nice as always, but are quite slow and you may only want to use them when necessary. The best weapons are Dragonslayer, Unholy Cathedral rewards, and Ripper (B) / (T) if you're able to get any of them. For armors, Cerberus Armor is nice and tanky to cover your weak defense, but like the boots, it's also fairly slow. Phaseshift Set greatly supports Blademaster with super speed to jump from enemy to enemy and kill everything with little to no movement or actions back from them.

For long games, Dragonslayer with Cybernano Phaseshift Armor (P) and Antigrav Phaseshift Boots (A) offers some of the absolute highest speed possible in the game, and works fantastically with Blademaster as you can essentially move around frozen in time and destroying everything without retaliation. It also makes for an excellent stair-diving build, possibly the best when considering real-time. If you can't find Dragonslayer and don't have Unholy Cathedral available, Ripper (B) / (T) is the best weapon, but the difference in viability is a huge gap. If you don't want to commit to Cybernano assembly, Phaseshift Armor (AOP) or Cerberus Phaseshift Armor (O) work well too. Inquisitor Set is also good if you appreciate the fire immunity or want stronger resistances against the end game damaging types.

Gun Kata

Immediately after dodging, the time to fire the next shot with Pistols is divided by 10, and when you kill an enemy you were firing at with Pistols, you reload them.

Requires: Hellrunner x2, Son of a Gun x2, Dualgunner x1, Dodgemaster x1, Level 7

Blocks: Tough as Nails, Son of a Bitch, Brute, Berserker, Badass, Triggerhappy

Gun Kata has some unique gameplay in that it speeds you up after certain actions, making it somewhat gimmicky to use. With the speed, you will generally fire your Pistols in just 1 turn after each dodge, which is the fastest possible speed, and the time with needing to reload is generally nullified so long as you can kill enemies without emptying your clips entirely. Against groups, you can time attacking a stronger enemy, and then using a weaker enemy specifically to reload while continuing to fight.

With Hellrunner and Dodgemaster being prerequisites, you'll generally be a lot faster in the early game, as opposed to needing to detour to get them for other master traits, and movement speed is very helpful with keeping you alive early on. While using Dualgunner and only Son of a Gun x2, you'll still be fairly fast at firing, but Gun Kata makes it far faster than it would be otherwise until much later in the game.

Gun Kata is good for medium length games before other traits and equipment start to outclass it, but it's not great overall and is often awkward or impractical to use functionally. By requiring to dodge to make use of fast firing, you can only safely use it against enemies firing singular shots. Dodging doesn't work well when you're in closed spaces, fighting rapid-fire or melee enemies, or enemies that have targeted explosions like Revanants or Archviles.

While the speed is maxed out, Son of a Gun itself, which is the key trait for Pistol builds, already reduces the firing speed close to if not the minimum. The instant reloading is quite nice in all situations, especially while using Dualgunner, but many of the better Pistols already have fairly large clips where it's not a huge issue, and it's questionable if that bonus is worth committment to the master trait. You also will require good movement speed in order to safely be dodging, and that may come at the cost of not using the slower but more protective armors and boots.

The ideal usage of Gun Kata is to constantly alternate between dodging all attacks amongst a group, retaliating with a dual shot, reloading on each kill, and repeating. It can be very strong in the middle game compared to other options at that point, but with Pistols getting outclassed over time, and Gun Kata being made mostly irrelevant by Son of a Gun and Nano Packs, it doesn't hold up well.

Overall, Gun Kata is an interesting gimmick, but is unfortunately not that amazing.

Suggested trait order:
1) Son of a Gun 2) Son of a Gun 3) Dualgunner 4) Hellrunner 5) Hellrunner
6) Dodgemaster 7) Gun Kata 8) Finesse 9) Finesse 10) Whizkid
11) Whizkid 12) Intuition 13) Intuition 14) Son of a Gun 15) Son of a Gun
16) Son of a Gun 17) Hellrunner 18) Ironman 19) Ironman 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Eagle Eye 24) Eagle Eye 25) Eagle Eye

Start by powering up Pistols, then improving movement speed. If you prefer to start the early game with a Shotgun, you could use Finesse first and get Gun Kata a bit later. Intuition early is also a good choice if desired, but keep in mind that pushing Gun Kata too far back will make the middle game harder. The extra levels in Son of a Gun add valuable damage to your Pistols, but because you'll likely want Finesse for Whizkid and be a bit faster naturally being a Scout, you may want to opt out of them to get other traits earlier. Eagle Eye is generally not as important for Pistols, but can be useful if you're attacking further targets or to max out accuracy. You'll more likely gain more out of the speed increasing traits, but a point or two may help depending on how close you are while dodging enemies.

For the early game, you can either use dual Pistols or go with a Shotgun. Early Eagle Eye can also be used if you want to use Chaingun or Chainsaw a bit. Tactical Boots are also very helpful to further support movement. In the middle game, modded Pistols are generally your best weapon, and because of the auto-reloading, the lower clip of High Power Pistol is less of an issue. With some points into Whizkid, Pistol (PPPBB) x2 are fairly strong and fully supported by Gun Kata's speed. If you choose not to use a point into Eagle Eye early on, you might want Agility Packs in your Pistols instead. Red Armor (P) is good for protection, but you may prefer a faster armor so that you are only getting attacked once per movement to ensure you aren't dodging and then getting hit on the following attack. Duelist Armor (P) is excellent if you're fortunate to find it. All of the unique Pistols are also helpful if you find any of them, especially Grammaton Cleric Beretta which greatly benefits from auto-reloading. Tactical Boots are still great at this point.

For the late game, Combat Pistol (PPPBB) x2 are very powerful Pistols and will generally always be firing in 1 turn. Otherwise, regular Pistols with the same Mod Packs are your best option. You can opt for more Bulk Packs to ensure you never have empty clips if you are lower on damage. For armors, Phaseshift Set is excellent to support moving and dodging, but otherwise you may want to use Cerberus Armor (P) and try to offset it with Hellrunner or Tactical Boots (A). Cerberus Boots (A) are always nice for fluid immunity, but using them in combat may get you hit with not being able to dodge as effectively with their slow speed, and you may want to switch them off and on as needed instead.

For long games, Combat Pistol (PPPBB) x2 are generally the best Pistols and are fairly cheap to make. Nanomanufacture Combat Pistol (P) x2 will give you infinite ammo and more inventory space, but that with maxed out firing speed completely nullifies the usage of Gun Kata. You may be inclined to use other weapons only so that the build itself isn't irrelevant, such as Demolition Combat Pistol (P) x2 with Inquisitor Set, using Grammaton Cleric Beretta with its bursts, or Combat Pistol (PPPSS) x2 for maximum damage at the cost of carrying ammo. Phaseshift Set is also excellent by giving movement speed to dodge much easier and consistently, but again, your firing speed will already be maxed out in most cases so forcing yourself to dodge is unnecessary. Gun Kata is pretty pointless in long games unless you're struggling with finding Nano Packs, or using guns without recharging or infinite firing to make use of the auto-reloading, but your inventory will be less flexible.

Shottyhead

Firing speed with Shotguns is reduced to 33%, separately multiplied with other sources.

Requires: Finesse x1, Hellrunner x1, Reloader x2, Juggler x1, Shottyman, Level 7

Blocks: Tough as Nails, Son of a Bitch, Eagle Eye, Badass, Triggerhappy

Shottyhead significantly improves the speed of Shotguns, allowing you roughly three shots in the time of one. This allows you to quickly burst at enemies before they can react quickly and makes your gameplay much safer through more speed. While firing speed is only one part of the speed of Shotgun usage because of reloading, being required to take at least two points of Reloader, or simply having Shell Boxes available helps make the entire process fast and not spiky. Many Shotguns later into the game such as Assault Shotgun, Plasma Shotgun, and Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun have large clips, and you can also reload with Shottyman anyway.

Because of the large knockback many Shotguns have, you can effectively push enemies out of the way and keep them there. If they get close to you, you can fire quick enough that you'll either push them back to a safe distance, or if there is a barrier behind them, you'll get stronger shots being closer to them.

Shottyhead is a bit of a simple trait and can be a little lacking as it enhances your speed, rather than unlocking an ability that changes the way in which you play. Shotguns also don't get any additional power with Shottyhead, especially with the block of Son of a Bitch, so late game ammo can still be an issue and you may need a secondary weapon. Plasma Shotgun can be helpful since it takes a different ammo type, as well as Frag Shotgun if you happen to find it.

The knockback can be a bit counter-intuitive with the firing speed since you'll end up needing to wait for enemies to reapproach anyway. However, the knockback is certainly nice for hot starts or nasty surprises, but if you're camping, Shottyhead mostly just helps ensure enemies don't get close. And while there is a lack of Son of a Bitch, the faster firing does allow you to more safely let enemies approach closely, so Shottyhead indirectly does give you more power and ammo efficiency.

Overall, Shottyhead is a decent master trait. You'll need a good solution for ammo management, or avoid long and harder games if you can't find a Nano Pack.

Suggested trait order:
1) Finesse 2) Hellrunner 3) Reloader 4) Reloader 5) Shottyman
6) Juggler 7) Shottyhead 8) Intuition 9) Intuition 10) Finesse
11) Whizkid 12) Whizkid 13) Hellrunner 14) Dodgemaster 15) Finesse
16) Hellrunner 17) Ironman 18) Ironman 19) Ironman 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Brute 23) Brute 24) Berserker 25) Brute

Start with the helpful speed boosts, then get Shottyman, and then Juggler. If you're playing on Nightmare or like to quickswap multiple Shotguns anyway, Juggler can be the second point. After Shottyhead, you may want Intuition immediately if you didn't get it early, and then likely Whizkid. For standard games, you'll likely want to delay everything to get Dodgemaster as Shotguns are quite bad against the Cyberdemon due to its high armor. The rest are speed boosts, Ironman, and then filler. This is one of the master traits that may be better off unlocking later, especially since it doesn't fundamentally change the way you play, but the first 14 traits should be the same in some order.

For the early game, you should have a Shotgun and likely multiples. Having multiple Shotguns helps reduce the need to reload early on, but be sure that you carry as much shells as possible as they become more scarce later. In the middle game, you'll want Tactical Shotgun, Red Armor (P), and Tactical Boots. You could also have a Rocket Launcher for support since you'll have Shottyman anyway. You could also use a Plasma Rifle to help cover some ammo usage, despite not really having many traits to support using it. Likewise with the early game, try to hang onto as many shells as you can. Make good usage of Shottyhead and get close shots in to increase damage, while being safe doing so with your firing speed.

For the late game, Assault Shotgun (PPPBB) / (PPPTT) is nice to find, or otherwise continue using Tactical Shotgun (P). Elephant Gun (P) is also nice if you're careful with reloading, and Focused Double Shotgun (P) is a cheap version of Super Shotgun. For armor, as you won't have Tough as Nails, high protection with Red Armor (AOP) is a fairly accessible choice, or otherwise go with Cerberus Armor for resistances. Cerberus Boots (A) are always great for fluid immunity, and you'll often be standing in place, so movement speed isn't super critical. If you need a support weapon for single targets, Hyperblaster is a fairly cheap and good choice since you'll be lacking Eagle Eye and Son of a Bitch.

For long games, the best weapon by a large gap is Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun (P), which gives you infinite firing and insane speeds. Shottyhead as a build is a bit of a waste for the weapon since Reloader x2 and Shottyman become irrelevant, and a masterless Shotgun build can often be more viable, especially since Son of a Bitch is blocked by Shottyhead. With Shottyhead, make good use of the firing speed to cover for the lack of Tough as Nails and Badass. Biggest Fucking Gun can also be a good support weapon, but it somewhat defeats the advantage of Nano-Shrapnel not destroying items. The best armors and boots include Cerberus Gothic Armor (P), Cerberus Boots (A), and Inquisitor Set. You could use Phaseshift Set to chase enemies around as you quickly blast them and then quickly chase them, but simply letting them come to you is generally more efficienct and safer. With Shottyhead, Finesse x3, Intuition x2, and Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun (P), most enemies will never have a chance to get anywhere near you and the game should become an easy win.

Cateye

Increases your vision radius by 2.

Requires: Son of a Bitch x2, Intuition x1, Triggerhappy x1, Level 6

Blocks: Tough as Nails, Reloader, Brute, Berserker, Badass, Shottyman

Cateye is an incredibly simple master trait, but the power of additional vision is immense and has many useful properties and impacts from it. First, Cateye stacks with Intuition so not only is your vision radius increased by 2, but so is the radius Intuition is working with, giving you a large increase in what you can plan for. Intuition significantly helps with good decision making, and Cateye enchances it. Cateye also lets you see further out than enemies can, so if there are any on the edges of your visibility radius, you are able to hit them without the 50% accuracy penalty of shooting outside your line of sight. Combined with Intuition, you can hit enemies a few times to get their attention, and then hit them a couple more times with much stronger accuracy before they are able to retaliate at all. This is an excellent way of reducing the damage you take and can help with ammo efficiency as well instead of shooting into the darkness.

Cateye in its simplicity also allows you to be versatile with your builds. While it's designed and most effective with rapid-fires, it works just fine with Shotgun and Pistol builds as well. Melee is not really usable at all without Brute, and losing a good trait like Tough as Nails hurts, but if you play a very ranged game, you can counteract these two weaknesses. Cateye is also tied with others for only requiring level 6 and 4 traits, allowing for some flexibility with your first few traits, although I would suggest the extra point going to Intuition since it works well with Cateye and is excellent on its own.

By giving you a lot more information and control when playing, Cateye is indirectly both very offensive and defensive, while also improving quality of life with being able to look for items, explore floors for better positions, doors, other entry ways, and more. There aren't really any significant weaknesses of Cateye, while providing an excellent improvement. With being usable in almost any time of game, whether it's a standard game or challenge (especially Angel of Darkness), and whether it's a short game or long game, Cateye is always a very viable choice.

Overall, Cateye is a top master trait and could be argued to be the best in the game.

Suggested trait order (general/rapid-fire):
1) Intuition 2) Intuition 3) Son of a Bitch 4) Son of a Bitch 5) Triggerhappy
6) Cateye 7) Eagle Eye 8) Eagle Eye 9) Finesse 10) Finesse
11) Whizkid 12) Whizkid 13) Finesse 14) Triggerhappy 15) Son of a Bitch
16) Son of a Bitch 17) Son of a Bitch 18) Hellrunner 19) Hellrunner 20) Dodgemaster
21) Hellrunner 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Ironman

This setup is for getting to Cateye, and then making sure you get your hits in consistently and fast. With enough ammo and a strong rapid-fire weapon, you can slowly approach enemies throughout each floor until they're beginning to enter your vision, and get some very safe hits in before they can even see you. Hellrunner also helps with being able to keep the enemies at the edges of your vision as you adjust position after initial attacks. This setup is also very flexible and you can select the traits in many different orders, as well as opting to take one of each trait instead of one at a time in bunches across a few levels. Ideally, you'll find yourself a Nano Pack to make Nanomanufacture assembly and never have ammo issues, allowing you to spam shots even out into the dark without worry. Some other adjustments for this build is to have Juggler if you plan on using multiple rapid-fire weapons and like to switch between them. You could also potentially skip out on Eagle Eye if you're fortunate enough to find a Laser Rifle, or are willing to use Agility Packs. If you are planning on using a hybrid Shotgun and rapid-fire setup, you may want to get Juggler and Son of a Bitch much sooner, and consider not using Eagle Eye right away. For standard games, it might also be in your interest to get Dodgemaster much earlier for the Cyberdemon if you aren't quite strong or tough enough by that point, especially since it has +1 vision itself compared to most enemies. You might also want to invest a bit into Hellrunner if you want to kill the Angel of Death.

Suggested trait order (Pistol):
1) Intuition 2) Intuition 3) Son of a Bitch 4) Son of a Bitch 5) Triggerhappy
6) Cateye 7) Son of a Gun 8) Son of a Gun 9) Dualgunner 10) Finesse
11) Finesse 12) Whizkid 13) Whizkid 14) Eagle Eye 15) Eagle Eye
16) Son of a Gun 17) Son of a Gun 18) Son of a Gun 19) Son of a Bitch 20) Son of a Bitch
21) Son of a Bitch 22) Hellrunner 23) Hellrunner 24) Dodgemaster 25) Hellrunner

Using Pistols instead of rapid-fires, you are far less reliant on Mod Packs, ammo, and finding good base weapons. Simply using Pistols, loading them up with basic Mod Packs, and then dedicating the build traits to them can get very powerful. With max power, each pair shot will hit basically anything anywhere, long before enemies can reach you, you'll be firing almost instanteously, and each shot will do an additional 10 damage from Son of a Gun x5 and Son of a Bitch x5. Pistols suffer a fair bit against large groups, and this setup is very much a glass cannon as you'll have basically no defenses to keep you alive if things go poorly or you get bad luck in certain situations. I would generally recommend the rapid-fire setup instead, but this way of playing is definitely viable if you're very careful. The other big disadvantage is it takes a lot more traits to get going, so it's generally better in longer games.

Early game equipment generally includes Chaingun or Pistols, and likely also a Shotgun for early support. Cateye for both build setups takes a little bit of leveling to get started, so Shotguns work best until you reach a point where your other weapons outclass them in most combat situations. In the middle game, you should generally have Red Armor (P), Plasma Rifle, and perhaps some good basic assemblies. You could opt for skipping Eagle Eye for later to get Whizkid sooner to help assemble Hyperblaster and Assault Rifle, as well as possibly Tactical Shotgun. Tactical Boots are a great assembly to have at this point, but you may consider using Agility Packs to help with accuracy issues if you'll be firing from far away.

For the late game, you'll want to have mostly the same items but with lots of Mod Packs to help support what you need. If you skip Eagle Eye, Agility Packs in your weapons are helpful. Otherwise, you may want Power Packs or Technical Packs. Firestorm Packs are the best for rapid-fire weapons, but you may not happen to find any. If you're using Pistols, Pistol (PPPBB) x2 is very cheap to make as far as strong weapons go and will deal major damage on a per bullet basis. Agility Packs over Bulk Packs can work too, and Sniper Packs are also nice if you find those. If you're fortunate, you can find some nice exotics like Minigun, Laser Rifle, Nuclear Plasma Rifle, Assault Shotgun, and Combat Pistols. For armors, Red Armor (AOP) is fairly cheap and strong, Cerberus Boots (A) are great for fluid immunity, and any of the Phaseshift Set can help improve your control of spacing with any enemies.

For long games, the best weapon for rapid-fires is generally Nanomanufacture Laser Rifle (F), and if you're playing with intentions to eventually make one, you should consider skipping Eagle Eye entirely for more points into other traits both early and in total. Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun is a great support weapon for nearby groups of enemies that you can't fully control with distance. Biggest Fucking Gun also fits well with any type of build. For Pistol Cateye builds, Combat Pistol (PPPSS) x2 are expensive but will allow you to do huge damage with every bullet to any enemy you can shoot at. An even more expensive option is Combat Pistol (PNNSS) for infinite ammo and no reloading while doing the same thing. Alternatively for a more realistic choice, Nanomanufacture Combat Pistol (S) x2 are also excellent. For armors, Inquisitor Set or Cerberus Gothic Armor (P) and Cerberus Boots (A) are your main choices. Phaseshift Set can be nice, but Cateye builds are fairly frail and you can't handle taking huge hits too well.

Gunrunner

Running lasts for 45 actions instead of 30, and when you move while running with a ranged, loaded, non-rapid-fire weapon while at least 1 enemy is visible, you automatically fire at the closest enemy.

Requires: Finesse x1, Hellrunner x2, Juggler x1, Dodgemaster x1, Level 6

Blocks: Tough as Nails, Son of a Bitch, Whizkid, Badass, Triggerhappy

Gunrunner is an interesting, gimmicky way to play where you are attacking and moving simultaneously. As Dodgemaster is required, you'll be able to approach many enemies, circle around them, while firing at the same time. This allows you to repeatedly fire while dodging at the same time, securing very safe kills. The large increase of running actions is also very helpful for quickly traveling through floors and stair-diving, even if you are choosing not to attack. With Juggler, you can effectively turn Gunrunner off as needed by instantly switching to a rapid-fire, or using it to cycle through multiple weapons and avoid needing to reload while moving. However, even if you have to pause momentarily to reload, it only costs 1 running action so slow reloading weapons are fine too.

All that said though, Gunrunner is mostly an awkward way to play and often not attacking in the most viable manners. With Shotguns, you can very easily blow up barrels you don't want to, draw attention of several other enemies, and still require to be reloading constantly. This can be offset a bit by using Juggler for several Shotguns, but this takes up a lot of inventory space. Shottyman is another alternative, but it's quite a bit of investment into traits. You'll also generally be hitting enemies as soon as you see them at the edges of your radius, which is where Shotguns are weakest.

Instead of Shotguns, you could use Dualgunner and Pistols, but this also takes a lot of trait investment, and Pistols tend to be slow at killing, and you'll likely be needing more than 45 running actions to clear out groups of enemies. You'll also have a severe accuracy penalty while attacking when running. Son of a Gun's huge speed boost also tends to make Gunrunner's ability irrelevant anyway.

Gunrunner as offense also means you don't have control of how you're attacking since it's automatic. This naturally means that you are unlikely to be firing in the most viable manner and burning a lot of ammo. All of this is also only possible for 45 actions per floor, unless you're able to find lots of power-ups to restore tactics or excessively using Med Packs in your inventory.

The other big issue with Gunrunner is that it has horrible blocks, particularly with Whizkid. For a trait designed to be attacking in a reckless and aggressive way, you're forced to use only basic assemblies or base items. The only way to achieve infinite firing weapons that work with Gunrunner are Blaster (N) x2, but it would be very expensive and not really doing a whole lot of damage anyway. Tactical Shotgun and Assault Shotgun (B) are decent, but not amazing and still have the issues as mentioned above. Your defenses will also be worse with weaker armors available, and no Tough as Nails. While you can dodge attacks as you run about, the hits you do take will be harder compared to other builds. Son of a Bitch being blocked also negatively impacts the damage potential of both Shotguns and Pistols.

Gunrunner in the early game functions mostly like a masterless build since gameplay is normal beforehand. In the middle game, Gunrunner does its thing and you're likely to be playing somewhat impractically. For late game however, the lack of improving your equipment and defenses will eventually catch up and Gunrunner will start to somewhat struggle. If you're stair-diving, which is what Gunrunner is strong for, you'll accelerate the enemies getting stronger than you.

The one saving grace for Gunrunner is it's very good at Angel of Red Alert and Archangel of Red Alert as those function as having time limits, while Gunrunner lets you move and fire simultaneously. The additional actions of running also helps a lot with finding stairs and enemies before each level explodes. Naturally with these games, you'll have a lot less time to acquire what would be good assemblies, equipment, and experience in general, so Gunrunner's weaknesses in that regard aren't as significant.

Overall, other than the niche of Angel of Red Alert, Gunrunner is gimmicky and bad.

Suggested trait order (Shotgun):
1) Finesse 2) Hellrunner 3) Hellrunner 4) Dodgemaster 5) Juggler
6) Gunrunner 7) Reloader 8) Reloader 9) Shottyman 10) Intuition
11) Intuition 12) Finesse 13) Hellrunner 14) Finesse 15) Ironman
16) Ironman 17) Ironman 18) Ironman 19) Ironman 20) Brute
21) Brute 22) Berserker 23) Brute 24) Brute 25) Brute

Start off with getting the pre-requisites, Gunrunner, and then Shottyman. Once you have both, you can endlessly use Shotguns as you run, but you'll need to be cautious of ammo management as you'll be burning through a lot. From there, there's a mix of traits you can focus on. The third point of Hellrunner and Finesse are the most important to increase your effectiveness, then Ironman to help boost your defense. Berserker can be an okay choice to trigger the effect when taking a heavy hit. You can also invest in Intuition, even as the first two trait points. Really though, you run out of major improvements by level 14 and the rest is various filler.

Suggested trait order (Pistols):
1) Finesse 2) Hellrunner 3) Hellrunner 4) Dodgemaster 5) Juggler
6) Gunrunner 7) Son of a Gun 8) Son of a Gun 9) Dualgunner 10) Eagle Eye
11) Eagle Eye 12) Eagle Eye 13) Hellrunner 14) Son of a Gun 15) Son of a Gun
16) Son of a Gun 17) Intuition 18) Intuition 19) Ironman 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Eagle Eye 25) Eagle Eye

The start for this build is similar to the Shotgun variant, although you likely still want to use Shotguns until you unlock Dualgunner. From there, you'll need Eagle Eye to undo the accuracy penalty while running, and then work on speed and more power. Additional levels of Finesse are unnecessary with Son of a Gun, and you could opt for more or less Eagle Eye, but Eagle Eye x3 is a good balance. You could also opt for Intuition earlier like all Scout builds. This setup is far more ammo efficient and controlled than Shotguns, but it's much worse at clearing through groups of enemies and accuracy is an issue. Pistols are also very weak weapons without Whizkid or Son of a Bitch.

Suggested trait order (hybrid):
1) Finesse 2) Hellrunner 3) Hellrunner 4) Dodgemaster 5) Juggler
6) Gunrunner 7) Reloader 8) Reloader 9) Shottyman 10) Son of a Gun
11) Son of a Gun 12) Dualgunner 13) Eagle Eye 14) Eagle Eye 15) Eagle Eye
16) Hellrunner 17) Son of a Gun 18) Son of a Gun 19) Intuition 20) Intuition
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Ironman

To put simply, this build works like the two above, but focuses on putting points into both sets of traits. This takes a long time to build up and offers almost no defense, so it's likely more effective to focus on a pure build. The main advantage is that with Juggler and two types of ammo, you can use both types of weapons more effectively and worry less about ammo management. The trade-off may not be worth it though and you'll be spreading yourself very thin.

For the early game, regardless of the build variant, you'll generally want to be using a Shotgun and Tactical Boots, and playing like a masterless build until getting Gunrunner. By the middle game once you have it, the best weapons are Tactical Shotgun, Elephant Gun, and Speedloader Pistols. Tactical Shotgun provides more of a clip for when you have to manually reload, while Elephant Gun does large damage but needs Shottyman to be reasonably effective. For armors, Red Armor (P) helps cover for the lack of damage reduction, or if you're lucky, you can find Duelist Armor (P) for more movement speed. Tactical Boots are likely still the best boots unless you find Phaseshift Boots (A).

For the late game, your equipment can't really improve due to the lack of Whizkid. Assault Shotgun (B), Blaster (B), Combat Pistol (B), and Plasma Shotgun (B) are all great if you can find them. Phaseshift Set is very supportive of movement, but can leave you a bit frail to attacks and can be hard to find. For Pistols, you can also make use of Trigun and Grammaton Cleric Beretta if you find them, but Anti-Freak Jackal may be too dangerous and unpredictable.

For long games, you could hypothetically get a few Plasma Shotgun (N) in order to constantly be rotating them and keeping shots constant, while also functionally holding a clip of 10 and dealing plasma damage. Blaster (N) x2 is nice for truly infinite firing, but Combat Pistol (B) is more realistic to find. Trigun is strong but has a small clip, while Grammaton Cleric Beretta is a bit weak. Both Inquisitor Set and Phaseshift Set are powerful for faster movement and are generally the best for the build regardless of variant.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2023, 18:08 by Icy »
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Icy

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Re: Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2023, 15:31 »

Malicious Blades

If you have a blade in the prepared slot, you get 50% bullet, shrapnel, and fire resistance, and 75% melee resistance. If you have a blade in both weapon slots, you attack with both simultaneously each at half the attack time. Note that there is only one accuracy check for the dual attack.

Requires: Finesse x1, Hellrunner x2, Brute x2, Dodgemaster x1, Level 7

Blocks: Tough as Nails, Eagle Eye, Berserker, Intuition, Badass

Malicious Blades, unlike other melee master traits, directly makes your attacks stronger and your defenses tougher, as opposed to special effects after each kill. It can be viewed somewhat like a pseudo-permanent Berserk effect. With the huge increase in power, killing enemies in far less hits helps reduce the hits you take back, and the hits you do generally take also reduce damage significantly, particular with melee damage. This helps enable a campy playstyle where if positioned well, you'll mostly be taking melee damage.

While you are limited to blades, which generally will be pairs of Chainswords, they are very easy to acquire and don't take many Mod Packs. If you're fortunate, you can also find Butcher's Cleaver, and even Dragonslayer which are both considered blades. While leveling and getting Chainswords, you can still use Chainsaw in the meantime as well. And although Malicious Blades blocks Berserker, you can still naturally find Berserk Packs to functionally quadruple the damage a normal Chainsword is doing, as well as enhancing the already high resistances and fast movement speed.

The big downside to Malicious Blades is that being restricted to blades, and melee having some inherent disadvantages, early games tend to be difficult to get through. Once Malicious Blades is unlocked however, the build starts to get incredibly powerful and all of the beneficial traits like Brute and Son of a Bitch are functionally double-applied as you'll be using two weapons. In the fortunate case you find Dragonslayer, permanent Berserk will allow you to one hit kill almost everything, you'll be incredibly fast at moving, and most of your resistances will be maxed out, reducing all damage to 1.

If you're feeling creative, you can also use a hybrid build and use Malicious Blades moreso for the resistances that are generally hard to acquire otherwise. Dualgunner is incompatible, and Eagle Eye blocked hurts most rapid-fires, but you can opt for a Shotgun build or try to find Laser Rifle.

Malicious Blades is relatively poor for short games, but excels in medium games and long games. You also don't need to be reliant on luck to get the build going, and can keep your inventory mostly filled with Med Packs. Shotguns in the early game while leveling can also help compensate the struggles of melee, especially without Berserker.

Overall, Malicious Blades is very good, but you have to play very well in the beginning where it starts off as a very weak build.

Suggested trait order:
1) Finesse 2) Hellrunner 3) Hellrunner 4) Dodgemaster 5) Brute
6) Brute 7) Malicious Blades 8) Brute 9) Whizkid 10) Whizkid
11) Finesse 12) Brute 13) Brute 14) Hellrunner 15) Son of a Bitch
16) Son of a Bitch 17) Son of a Bitch 18) Son of a Bitch 19) Son of a Bitch 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Juggler

You could start with Brute, but Finesse and the other traits with Shotgun will likely fare you better. Once you unlock Malicious Blades however, you should start switching to be more melee focused. Whizkid isn't too helpful early on, and you can just make another pair of Chainswords if you completed them before Whizkid x2. From there, it's just buffing up your damage and then defense. If you use Shotguns for longer periods into the game or are playing a hybrid build, you may want Juggler much earlier. For builds that are less focused on melee and using Malicious Blades for the resistances, put points into Brute later and focus on Son of a Bitch instead. With Juggler, you can instantly switch from having a rapid-fire or Shotgun to a blade in your inventory if enemies get close to you, so don't skip out on melee altogether.

Early game equipment will be Combat Knives, Shotgun (T), and Chainsaw. If you're fortunate, you'll be able to find Mod Packs to make Chainsword early on. Piercing Blade ignores armor, but does much less damage and is only marginally stronger for some bosses. You could make a Piercing Blade Chainsaw if you want some melee power in the early game, but it becomes worse than most pairs of blades once Malicious Blades is unlocked. For the middle game, you should try to get a pair of Chainswords, ideally with (P) later for big damage boosts, Red Armor (P), and Tactical Boots. While you'll have high resistances, you won't have much for flat damage reduction, so Red Armor (P) helps balance that out and heavily reduces most damage close to 1. If you are intending to play a hybrid build, you'll likely want Tactical Shotgun and Hyperblaster at this point.

For late game equipment, Chainsword (P) x2 are your main weapons unless you find Dragonslayer or Butcher's Cleaver. Subtle Knife is generally worse and not worth using. In the case you find Dragonslayer and become permanently Berserked, you become essentially immortal and have absurd power, becoming one of the best builds possible. Butcher's Cleaver as a secondary weapon in that case is still helpful for the few enemies that don't die in one hit, but the Blademaster effect won't trigger most of the time. Alongside your melee weapons, you can use Tactical Shotgun (P), Assault Shotgun (PPPTT), Hyperblaster (P), and Laser Rifle (PPPTT), but definitely don't skip Dragonslayer to keep them. For armors, Red Armor (AOP) is cheap and gives you lots of damage reduction, and Cerberus Armor (P) / (O) can bring many of your resistances to 95%. For boots, Cerberus Boots (A) are generally best for fluid immunity. Phaseshift Set is also great if you find them so that charging at enemies is safer and faster.

For long games, it's much more reasonable to find Butcher's Cleaver, which should take over one of your Chainswords. The Blademaster effect only works if it gets the killing blow, so you'll want it in the primary slot for weak enemies, and in the prepared slot for stronger enemies, which gives an additional use of Juggler. It's also much more reasonable to find Dragonslayer when playing through Angel of 100 or Archangel of 666, but you still might not find it, so be prepared to play without it. For hybrid setups and secondary weapons, Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun (P) and Nanomanufacture Laser Rifle (F) are excellent. For armors, Cybernano Energy-Shielded Vest (A) with Dragonslayer gives you maxed resistances and enough damage reduction to bring everything down to 1, but you'll need to find Dragonslayer first since the armor is unremovable. Alternatively, Cerberus Gothic Armor (P) / (O) tends to be the best armor to cover the resistances that Malicious Blades doesn't, while maxing out the others. You could also use Phaseshift Set and Inquisitor Set if desired, but you'll be pretty weak to plasma and acid damage. For boots, Cerberus Boots (A) are generally the best, but if knockback is an issue, you may prefer Enviroboots at the cost of a bit of movement speed.

Sharpshooter

Pistols always do maximum damage.

Requires: Son of a Gun x3, Eagle Eye x3, Level 7

Blocks: Tough as Nails, Son of a Bitch, Dualgunner, Badass, Triggerhappy

Sharpshooter simply makes your Pistols always do maximum damage, which provides not only a powerful, ammo efficient attack, but it also provides reliability and consistency. Pistols generally aren't strong, and Dualgunner is blocked with Sharpshooter, but you will generally deal more damage per shot than the average of most other weapons. With Pistols taking bullets and without Dualgunner making Ammo Boxes otherwise awkward to make good use of, ammo with this build is one of the most efficient in the game and it should never be a concern.

With Pistols and a few levels into Son of a Gun, you'll be firing fast enough such that most enemies won't be able to retaliate with too many attacks, alongside also that they'll be getting killed quickly by the strong shots. Eagle Eye as a prerequisite also helps with accuracy never being an issue and being able to get Intuition without detouring the traits for your build.

The consistency is also very important in a game filled with luck. Knowing exactly how many times each enemy has to be hit gives you excellent planning skills and knowing when to adjust your strategy, as opposed to needing to calculate a lot more risks. Very astute players can also use the damage message when looking at particular enemies to know how many more hits they will take in the case they are partially damaged from explosions, crossfire, fluids, and other hits.

The main disadvantage with Sharpshooter is it's one of the worst early game builds as not only are you putting points into Pistol traits, but you don't have access to Dualgunner which makes them much more useful. Eagle Eye being the other prerequisite, while nice for some weapons, is useless for Shotguns which are generally the best early game weapon. Essentially, unless you're intending to play with a single Pistol until level 7, none of the traits are very helpful. This isn't too big of an issue on easier difficulties, but on Ultra-Violence and Nightmare, Sharpshooter struggles a lot to get going.

The other issue is that as powerful as max damage shots are, you are still forced to use a singular Pistol. Late game weapons can get quite powerful, or if you use a full auto Grammaton Cleric Beretta for some big damage, but other top weapons are generally much better, partially also because of being able to hit crowds better instead of singular targets.

Overall though, Sharpshooter is a pretty good master trait and does very well once it gets started.

Suggested trait order:
1) Eagle Eye 2) Eagle Eye 3) Eagle Eye 4) Son of a Gun 5) Son of a Gun
6) Son of a Gun 7) Sharpshooter 8) Whizkid 9) Whizkid 10) Intuition
11) Intuition 12) Son of a Gun 13) Son of a Gun 14) Hellrunner 15) Hellrunner
16) Dodgemaster 17) Hellrunner 18) Ironman 19) Ironman 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Eagle Eye 24) Eagle Eye 25) Reloader

While Son of a Gun is the critical trait for Pistols, lack of Dualgunner means you'll likely be better off using Shotguns or a Chaingun, so I would recommend Eagle Eye first. If you find the early game to be too difficult, you could invest some trait points into Finesse to help Shotgun speed, even if Son of a Gun will later make it irrelevant. Alternatively, you could also put a point into Reloader so that it's still helpful for Pistols. Once you get Sharpshooter, Whizkid is the primary way to make your Pistol much better, and then Intuition to help you aim at enemies optimally. After that is boosting power, speed, and then health. For filler skills, more levels of Eagle Eye can support shooting while running, or when attempting to shoot far across floors. Finesse and Juggler can be helpful if you choose to use other weapons along with your Pistol. Reloader can also be nice if you find and use Grammaton Cleric Beretta. Another alternative is intentionally not getting Son of a Gun x5 to reduce your damage for the purpose of not knocking back enemies. This can help with killing enemies in doorways, keeping good angles for multi-shot Pistols, and making it slightly easier to hit them. I recommend against this though as knockback is a great tool for spacing yourself from enemies, can be used to push them into fluids, and accuracy is usually good enough it's not an issue.

For the early game, I would suggest holding onto a Pistol or two for modding later, but otherwise using Shotgun (T), Chaingun, and Tactical Boots. You can even use Chainsaw with the levels of Eagle Eye supporting accuracy, even if damage is a bit weaker than it would be with Brute. For the middle game, your main weapon is a Pistol of some sort, and I would recommend Storm Bolter Pistol (P) for its power and double shots. Energy Pistol is decent too if you want two ammo sources and a better damage type. Alternatively, a simple non-assembly Pistol such as (PPPBB) can be very powerful. Red Armor (P) is standard and strong, and you'll likely still want Tactical Boots and save Mod Packs for your weapon. If you're lucky, Trigun and Anti-Freak Jackal are very powerful, and especially Grammaton Cleric Beretta which can fire large bursts, causing huge damage in a single attack.

For the late game, use a Combat Pistol if you find one, but otherwise keep using the same Pistols. If you want to get fancy, you could have an extra Pistol specifically modded with Sniper Packs as your gun to use when shooting into the darkness. Firestorm Packs can also be used to make a Demolition Ammo Pistol for a fire damage source if you don't find Anti-Freak Jackal. For armor, Cerberus Armor (P) is great to cover for resistances, and Cerberus Boots (A) for fluid immunity also helps. If you play carefully and isolate enemies, while also trying to hit them in the darkness when outside their vision, you may not even be in danger too often.

For long games, Combat Pistol (PPPBB) is very powerful, fast, and has a huge clip. If you want infinite ammo, Nanomanufacture Combat Pistol (P) is only slightly weaker, but you'll have a much nicer inventory and never have to reload. The expensive option instead is Combat Pistol (NNPPP) for infinite ammo and 6 extra damage, or alternatively, Combat Pistol (NNSSP) for being able to destroy enemies before they ever get anywhere near you. Grammaton Cleric Beretta can also be nice to keep around if you run into tough single targets that you need to burst against, such as Cyberdemons, Shamblers, or Lava Elementals. For boots and armor, Cerberus Boots (A) are great, Cerberus Gothic Armor (P) is good for covering all damage, or you can opt to use Inquisitor Set. Phaseshift Set is also nice so that you can continually reposition yourself while attacking very quickly and keeping enemies from approaching you with your knockback. Sharpshooter can be very powerful when fully maxed out.

Fireangel

You become immune to all blast radius damage when it's not a direct hit.

Requires: Hellrunner x2, Reloader x2, Dodgemaster, Shottyman, Level 7

Blocks: Son of a Bitch, Son of a Gun, Eagle Eye, Dualgunner, Intuition, Triggerhappy

Fireangel gives immunity to most of all explosions, except where you're taking a direct hit. This includes barrels, Cacodemon plasma balls, Baron of Hell acid balls, Cyberdemon rockets, and all of your own attacks that would otherwise damage you. As many enemies, especially towards the end of the game have explosive attacks, this is a very helpful immunity to have. More importantly with the design of the build, it allows you to use any explosive weapon without fear of damaging yourself since you can't directly hit yourself with a Rocket Launcher for example. This allows you to freely spam rockets, Tristar Blaster shots, Demolition Ammo assemblies, and others.

Fireangel also works as a general trait and doesn't necessarily need to be used alongside Shotguns and explosives, since it isn't directly boosting particular weapon types. Immunity for the most part to the Cyberdemon, Lava Elemental, and Archviles is helpful on its own. Mancubus spread shots that can otherwise be difficult to dodge become far less of a problem as well.

Fireangel sounds great in theory, but there are a lot of downsides to it. First, although you do have Dodgemaster, you have to be very precise with movement as any direct hit will still be doing full damage as normal, so a bad step can result in massive damage compared to zero, which can heavily distort your play. Finding a good timing where you can fire back can also be challenging, as you can't simply dodge forever. Revenants in particular can be difficult to avoid sometimes. Without Intuition, it's possible to accidentally walk towards the vision of an enemy and take a direct hit before you can correctly adjust. You are still taking full damage to any non-direct explosions.

The other big issue with Fireangel is it has horrible blocks. Son of a Gun and Eagle Eye blocked means you can't really be using anything but Shotguns and Rocket Launchers. Son of a Bitch really cements in not to use Pistols or rapid-fires if you were planning on attempting to, but also hurts Shotguns by a fair bit too. Melee also doesn't quite fit well with Fireangel since you likely won't be making as much use of explosive immunity if you're not long range. With this, your best choice is indeed Rocket Launchers, but they aren't really functional as a primary weapon due to low ammo availability and they can be pretty slow. Explosions that aren't a direct hit on enemies tends to not deal significant damage and scatters your targets. They also can potentially destroy useful items to you.

Fireangel is more helpful relatively speaking for medium and long Nightmare games where you can comfortably destroy corpses whenever you need with explosive weapons, and the ability to Rocket Jump without health being a concern is excellent for movement around open floors.

Overall, Fireangel is very specialized in offense, and a good support in defense. If you are smart with your movement and play, you can gain a lot out of the immunity, making it an okay master trait, but Fireangel really sucks offensively.

Suggested trait order:
1) Reloader 2) Reloader 3) Shottyman 4) Hellrunner 5) Hellrunner
6) Dodgemaster 7) Fireangel 8) Whizkid 9) Whizkid 10) Finesse
11) Finesse 12) Finesse 13) Hellrunner 14) Juggler 15) Tough as Nails
16) Tough as Nails 17) Tough as Nails 18) Badass 19) Badass 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Reloader

Since Shotguns will be the best primary weapon, speeding them up with Reloader is a helpful start. You can opt for Dodgemaster first if you are playing Nightmare and need the movement speed and survivability more. After Fireangel is generally Whizkid, then finishing speeding up, and then all of the defensive traits. Juggler is helpful for whenever you need to switch to Rocket Launchers for corpse disposal, Rocket Jumping, or even just scattering enemies for defensive purposes. If you're using Fireangel more passively, you may not need Juggler, and you could also get Fireangel much later than as soon as possible. If you want to use a bit of melee, a point or two in Brute can be useful too, but Fireangel may not be supporting you as well. The build tends to end up being fast, but weak.

In the early game, you should have Shotgun and Tactical Boots, and not much else is critically important to have. You may want to save the starting Technical Pack for a Combat Shotgun, but Shotgun (T) is fine too. Lack of power and accuracy hurts a lot for trying to use most other weapons, but Shotguns are still fine. In the middle game, you should have a better Shotgun of some kind, such as Tactical Shotgun, and ideally a Rocket Launcher as well. While Red Armor's fire resistance won't be as helpful, the protection is still nice, so I would still suggest using it if you don't find any nice exotics.

For the late game, Tactical Rocket Launcher can be handy to have, especially for Rocket Jumping. Missile Launcher is also okay if your primary usage is destroying things. Tactical Shotgun (P) is generally the best, but Elephant Gun (B) / (T) is also great if you are making use of Shottyman. Exotics for Shotguns can also be great if you find any. If ammo is running low, you can use Hyperblaster (P) and Plasma Shotgun (P). For armors, Cerberus Armor (P) / (O) helps cover your other resistances, as well still providing fire resistance for when you misstep. Cerberus Boots (A) are also ideal for fluids, but you might prefer something faster to make use of dodging better. If you're fortunate to find a Firestorm Pack, you can use it for Demolition Pistol for a cheap and ammo friendly source of corpse destruction. Alternatively, you could find Anti-Freak Jackal, which isn't too rare among the uniques.

For long games, if you want to commit to Rocket Launchers, Nanomanufacture Rocket Launcher (F) will allow you to continuously fire rockets without fear of damaging yourself. If you want to get expensive, you can also use a double Nano Pack to remove the recharge delay and gain two extra slots for Firestorm Packs with Rocket Launcher (NNFFF). If you're using it more for movement with Rocket Jumps, you might prefer Technical Packs. You can do the same for Napalm Launcher, but keep in mind that Firestorm Packs don't work for it, so you may also prefer Technical Packs for it too. Tristar Blaster can also be used, including with Nanomanufacture, but its blasts are very scattered and awkward to aim with. BFG10K is another weapon you can use without fear of hurting yourself, but it essentially needs a Nano Pack because of its huge ammo use. If you're leaning more towards Shotguns, Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun (P) is the best choice. Hyperblaster (F) is okay, but if you need something destructive, Biggest Fucking Gun is generally the only other good weapon. For armors, Inquisitor Set is a bit silly to use with Fireangel, although it still may be useful in a few situations such as a Lava Elemental cave. For more general use, Cerberus Gothic Armor (P) / (O) covers all the other resistances and gives you protection from direct hits. Cerberus Boots (A) are also nice for fluid immunity. Alternatively, Phaseshift Set will make you much faster for dodging attacks and being able to retalitate fast enough before another attack, and also strongly enhances Rocket Jump. Revenant's Launcher and Demolition Pistol can also be nice support weapons.

Entrenchment

While using Chain Fire, you receive +30% to all resistances.

Requires: Tough as Nails x2, Son of a Bitch x2, Badass x1, Triggerhappy x1, Level 7

Blocks: Finesse, Son of a Gun, Reloader, Juggler, Dualgunner, Shottyman

Before analyzing Entrenchment, let's first analyze Chain Fire, which is needed to be used in order to use the master trait. Chain Fire is only available on most rapid-fires, and its usage initially fires two thirds of the regular burst the weapon would, then the same amount, and then all following shots firing at three halves of the regular burst. Chain Fire only works when you have targets within your vision, when you have ammo in your weapon, and when you continue choosing to use it. If there are no enemies in your vision, your gun needs to reload, or you choose to do anything other than continuing to Chain Fire, including using anything in your inventory or even wanting to check your status screen, the effect ends. Furthermore, if you change direction as you Chain Fire, the turn is not instant and you will be spraying some bullets at some of the angles before reaching your new angle.

This is all a massive cost to gain the ability to shoot larger bursts, and it doesn't even necessarily help if you're overkilling enemies and wasting ammo. Unless you're surrounded by a large group, not too many enemies are going to survive three blasts of Chain Fire anyway, which is how many bursts it often takes just to break even compared to firing normal bursts.

In short, Chain Fire is awful to use. The only general viability out of it is actually using it to shoot less ammo with the initial burst when finishing off an enemy.

Now we consider Entrenchment which only works when this effect is active. The resistance boost is pretty nice and adds on to resistances that are normally hard to acquire. However, Chain Fire requires you to stay in place and be tanking hits, which are certainly at reduced damage, but simply camping in a safe spot reduces damage all the way to 0 if you're not getting hit in the first place. You could combine this with Entrenchment for tough enemies that you're waiting for, but firing less shots than normal and without Finesse might generally be worse than if you played a different build and fired normally.

Entrenchment also has horrible blocks with Finesse, and even to an extent, Reloader. If you can't even fire fast while putting yourself into dangerous positions, you'll be tanking many hits and the resistance boost will only help so much before you're taking more damage than had you played with better tactics instead. Once you run out of your clip and need to reload, assuming you're in a dangerous position, it takes doing so a fair bit of time, and you don't have Entrenchment's resistances at that moment since you are no longer using Chain Fire, making you a huge open target.

So Entrenchment is awful in dangerous positions, it's awful in safe positions, it burns through ammo very inefficiently, firing itself is slow, and you're required to use certain weapons. In the early game, the +30% resistances from 0% is only reducing damage by marginal amounts, and in the late game where going from say 50% to 80% is a good gain proportionally for damage reduction, at that point relative to other builds, you could be performing much better.

You have to ask yourself if burning through your clips are a good idea to begin with. If hypothetically, the Chaingun fired all 40 shots at once, it would be amazing for single targets, but mostly a bad weapon to use regularly. On the other hand, a Chaingun that fired only 2 shot bursts is mostly pointless. Where the ideal line is drawn depends on the situation, but I would argue that Chain Fire is more towards the excessive side of things.

Entrenchment may be the only master trait where you are often better off not using it in the first place, or only sparingly in a few situations where it's marginally better to use it over something else. Overall, it's a terrible master trait and arguably the worst in the game.

Suggested trait order:
1) Son of a Bitch 2) Son of a Bitch 3) Triggerhappy 4) Tough as Nails 5) Tough as Nails
6) Badass 7) Entrenchment 8) Eagle Eye 9) Eagle Eye 10) Whizkid
11) Whizkid 12) Triggerhappy 13) Intuition 14) Intuition 15) Son of a Bitch
16) Son of a Bitch 17) Son of a Bitch 18) Tough as Nails 19) Badass 20) Hellrunner
21) Hellrunner 22) Dodgemaster 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Ironman

Start off by building power with Son of a Bitch, then go through the rest to unlock Entrenchment. Eagle Eye is very helpful since most rapid-fires don't have great accuracy, but assuming you'll be only firing at what's within your vision, you likely won't need more levels in the trait. If you're anticipating finding a Laser Rifle, you could skip it and Intuition for more levels in Ironman later and putting points into other traits earlier. The rest is a suggested order on how to develop offense and then defense. Hellrunner isn't actually too helpful since you'll be standing in place most of the time. You could also opt for higher defense earlier on with the third point in Tough as Nails and second point in Badass after Whizkid. Likewise, you may want to be sure you get all five levels of Ironman and squeeze out a different trait. Depending on your ammo usage, you may also want to delay the second level in Triggerhappy, despite defeating the purpose of Entrenchment in the first place. For conqueror games, you'll need some earlier points in Hellrunner or some points for Brute as the Angel of Death can become a problem otherwise.

In the early game, Chaingun and Shotgun (T) are the main weapons and both benefit from Son of a Bitch. With the early points in Tough as Nails and a decent armor, you'll have some good early game damage reduction. In the middle game since you'll be taking lots of hits, you may want to get Nanofiber Red Armor (P) for cheap infinite durability. Chaingun should be upgraded to Plasma Rifle, but because of ammo costs, you'll likely need to be using both. Tactical Boots can be okay, but some simple Platsteel Boots (A) might serve you better for fluid damage reduction.

In the late game, Hyperblaster (T) is generally your best choice since it doesn't wipe out all your ammo and it fires fast. Normally when using it, it's half the speed for half the shots, but because Chain Fire takes three bursts to reach full power anyway, the faster firing is massively beneficial. Laser Rifle is also a good choice for its higher accuracy if you happen to find one. For armors, Cerberus Armor (P) / (O) in one of the good bases will bring all the resistances to 80% at least, making you actually quite tanky despite still getting pelted by hits constantly. For boots, Cerberus Boots (A) are generally the best choice.

For long games, you can actually make Entrenchment into something pretty decent. First, Nanomanufacture Laser Rifle (F) will resolve the issue of reloading, accuracy, and also be blasting tons of shots, especially once at full power with Chain Fire. Next, the rarely used Gothic Set is actually excellent for this build since you won't be moving anyway. Gothic Armor (O) with Cerberus assembly gives infinite durability and tons of resistances, and then with Gothic Boots gives 4 protection to reduce almost all damage to 1. Cerberus Boots (A) are generally the best boots to switch off to when not attacking, along with Inquisitor Set. Still, this is a very expensive and necessary setup in order to just be a decent build that other builds are still matching or outperforming anyway, but at least Entrenchment is playable.

Scavenger

Unloading an empty assembly ranged weapon gives a random basic Mod Pack with 1 in 4 chances each. Unloading an empty exotic ranged weapon gives a random basic Mod Pack or Sniper Pack or Firestorm Pack with 1 in 6 chances each. Unloading an empty unique ranged weapon give an exotic Mod Pack with 1 in 6 for Nano Pack and Onyx Pack each, and 1 in 3 for Sniper Pack and Firestorm Pack each. Scavenging BFG10K and Trigun always give a Nano Pack, and scavenging Railgun and Revanent's Launcher always gives a Sniper Pack.

Requires: Eagle Eye x2, Intuition x1, Whizkid x2, Level 6

Blocks: Berserker, Dualgunner, Triggerhappy

Scavenger essentially improves upon Whizkid usage by providing you with more Mod Packs and being able to scrap ranged weapons that you don't need. With Scavenger, early Whizkid, no basic trait blocks, and being available at level 6, Scavenger is very versatile and can be used for a wide range of items. The goal with using Scavenger to be viable is to very rapidly improve your equipment such that you'll have excellent items far earlier than normal.

While exotic and unique items will come along as they do, you can also purposely create many basic assemblies you don't need for a chance to recycle them into a different Mod Pack you need. Examples include Speedloader Pistol (A/T), Elephant Gun (P/P), Gatling Gun (B/B), Micro Launcher (T/T), and High Power Weapon (P/B). This is a great way to get many basic Mod Packs that you need.

Since Nano Packs and Onyx Packs are very rare and are used for the best equipment in the game, having a way to gain more of them is helpful in quickly getting them. In particular, Trigun guarantees a Nano Pack and is fairly common among uniques.

All of this sounds great on paper, but there are a lot of drawbacks to this strategy. First, despite having access to the possibility of more Mod Packs, it's still always random what you get. Finding useful Mod Packs naturally is luck-based, and finding them through Scavenger is still luck-based. Given that Scavenger also only works on ranged weapons, less than half of the uniques can be scavenged anyway. The other big issue is that while basic traits are all available, Scavenger blocks three very key advanced traits for build specialization, severely hurting melee, Pistol, and rapid-fire setups, mostly leaving either Shotgun builds or hybrids that don't excel at any particular role. It also makes the points into Eagle Eye mostly useless for your late game build. Rapid-fires can still at least be decent without Triggerhappy.

You are also still required to find good bases for these Mod Packs. Even with an Onyx Pack and Nano Pack available in your inventory, you likely don't want to waste them on inferior bases unless you're desperate or near the end of the game.

Disadvantages aside, with some good luck with finding bases and with what you scavenge, you can get some very powerful weapons and armor early on. In particular, Scavenger build is the best at assembling Biggest Fucking Gun, which in many cases is the most powerful weapon in the game. On top since they can at best be semi-infinite with ammo, it is always beneficial to build more of them, so Scavenger doesn't run out of usage so long as you can keep finding BFGs. Firestorm Packs are also much easier to scavenge than Nano Packs, although regular BFGs once assembled are definitely best with a Nano Pack.

For short games, Scavenger can be widely varying in how effective it is as you won't be putting points into too many useful traits like Finesse, Hellrunner, or Son of a Bitch early on, and will be heavily dependent on fast, good luck. When it works, it's amazing, but a lot of the time, going into Whizkid too early doesn't accomplish much. Medium length games are where Scavenger is strongest as it offers a balance of enough time to make use of the trait, while not dragging on too long for where other builds would likely get to the same items anyway. Once you have all the weapons and armors you need, Scavenger loses almost all of its use. For long games, Scavenger fizzles out once you have everything you can imagine to have, but the one saving grace is being the best build for Biggest Fucking Guns. That said, if you're already using one, you're much more likely to accidentally be destroying additional BFGs with it anyway.

Overall, Scavenger can have high potential, but you are very dependent on your equipment over having directly useful traits, and this results in very high variance. Often, other builds are much more effective at reliably improving through traits earlier on and naturally finding Mod Packs anyway. When Scavenger does yield excellent luck though, it can get very powerful. The other setback is that while Scavenger can do most things other builds can and get there quickly, it generally is worse at doing so because of the blocks it has and the investment in other traits to unlock Scavenger. The average result for Scavenger is generally worse than many other builds and it often ends up being similar to a worse masterless build.

Suggested trait order:
1) Eagle Eye 2) Eagle Eye 3) Intuition 4) Whizkid 5) Whizkid
6) Scavenger 7) Intuition 8) Finesse 9) Juggler 10) Son of a Bitch
11) Son of a Bitch 12) Son of a Bitch 13) Son of a Bitch 14) Son of a Bitch 15) Finesse
16) Finesse 17) Hellrunner 18) Hellrunner 19) Dodgemaster 20) Hellrunner
21) Tough as Nails 22) Tough as Nails 23) Tough as Nails 24) Badass 25) Badass

In order to have some early offensive power, starting off with Eagle Eye is helpful followed by Intuition, especially when using Chaingun. Once you have Scavenger, following up with the offensive traits and then the defensive traits is generally the best way to build up your power, but the ordering of this is highly customizable and by no means needs to be done this particular way. Scavenger builds are flexible and can also simply add on traits based more on what the game happens to give you. Various hybrids can all benefit from Juggler, but if you're focusing on only using one weapon, you can skip it for other traits earlier. You could also use more points into Eagle Eye for rapid-fire accuracy, but two is usually enough.

This trait order is very generalized and intended to be a hybrid that can work with any weapons. Nano-Shrapnel, Nanomanufacture, and Biggest Fucking Gun all are effectively improved using these traits, so you can make as you like. For long games, I'd recommend using this trait set so that you make the most of BFGs as it's the key way for Scavenger to stand out compared to other builds. Otherwise, other builds will eventually catch up and get ahead once they find the same Mod Packs. You can also opt to get Scavenger much later than as early as possible for better early game offense. For conqueror games, you mostly just need a Piercing Blade Chainsaw for the Angel of Death since Eagle Eye helps with accuracy. You still may want a point or two into Brute for the damage, even if you can't get Berserker.

If you want to get really creative, you could also put a few points of Brute or Son of a Gun into your trait selection, despite lack of Berserker and Dualgunner. Quick builds of Ripper (B) / (T) and Pistol (PPPBB) are extremely powerful that can hold up for the duration of medium length games. If so, swap these traits in for Son of a Bitch and get the rest later.

For all of the early game, middle game, and late game, your equipment will highly vary based on how lucky you are, and it's quite difficult to suggest where you would be with them at any particular point. It's possible to have items like Ripper (B) / (T), Hyperblaster (P), Cerberus Boots (A), and Cerberus Armor (P) as early as Phobos Anomaly, or you might not have any of them part way through Deimos. There are no real set standards to be meeting, which in part is what makes Scavenger less viable on average.

In terms of late game and long games, some of the items you should start gathering include all of the best ones like Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun (P), Nanomanufacture Laser Rifle (F), Cerberus Gothic Armor (P), and Biggest Fucking Gun either in regular BFG (N) or Nuclear BFG (F). Inquisitor Set is also always nice to find but Scavenger has no impact on finding it. You can also go with Phaseshift Armor (AOP) and Antigrav Phaseshift Boots (A) if you're looking for speed. Once you already have everything, the only thing else Scavenger does is helping make more Biggest Fucking Guns. If you want to get really expensive, you can create more infinite firing weapons by using double Nano Packs such as Napalm Launcher (NNPPP), Rocket Launcher (NNFFF), and Combat Pistol (NNPPP).
« Last Edit: July 30, 2023, 19:45 by Icy »
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Icy

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Re: Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2023, 15:34 »

Masterless Builds

Masterless builds have the main advantage of total flexibility with both which traits you select and the order in doing so. As the master traits above have all been covered, they can be compared more to having the full arsenal of basic and advanced traits, and in my opinion, masterless builds do tend to be quite strong. For short games where you might not gain the experience to select a master trait in the first place, you can freely pick exactly what you need without worry of what you'll be blocking in doing so. For longer games, you can gain all the benefits of Tough as Nails, Son of a Bitch, Hellrunner, Finesse, Intuition, and all others that are really useful without needing to sacrifice any for a master trait. Because the collection of basic and advanced traits are designed to be balanced, being able to use all of them also keeps your character balanced.

Many of the master traits not only block useful traits, but require using some of the traits you may not need, such as Reloader and Eagle Eye. By skipping these, masterless builds can play with more effective and useful points instead, including the point that goes into the master trait itself. For example, if you are anticipating finding Nano-Shrapnel Super Shotgun and are comfortable enough with its firing speed, masterless is gaining 4 extra trait points over Shottyhead, while also not being blocked of Son of a Bitch or Tough as Nails.

If master traits were designed to be exceedingly powerful, the viability of builds could shift more in favor of master builds, but I strongly believe masterless builds tend to be some of the best in the game. There are only a few master traits that are truly powerful to be worth choosing without disrupting the rest of your trait selection or severely handicapping you at the beginning of the game prior to getting the master traits.

Onto the actual masterless builds, there's no need to go into thorough depth for all three classes because the only differences between them when playing masterless is their class bonuses and their early advanced traits. To narrow it more into the aspects that are most relevant, Marines have 10 extra health, get 20 extra actions for Berserk Packs and Invulnerabilty, and have early access to Badass. Scouts are 10% faster in every aspect, have stair sense, and have early access to Intuition. Technicians take 1 turn to use items and have early access to Whizkid.

Comparing these differences, Scout is arguably much stronger than the other two classes. Being faster in literally everything in a game where speed is incredibly important to staying alive, it inherently makes you much better at staying alive. Stair sense is incredibly powerful for short games, stair-diving, and various challenges. Intuition early gives one of the most powerful traits to you immediately, greatly improving early games and consistency, but also lets you skip the weakest of the skippable traits as many builds don't need Eagle Eye, even rapid-fire builds if they find Laser Rifle.

Marine and Technician are fairly comparable in terms of viability, but I would slightly lean towards Technicians being a bit better. 1 turn item use is incredibly powerful as a safety net for Large Med Packs and Phase Devices. Whizkid early is certainly not worth skipping Finesse for unless you're using a Pistol build, but more correctly is it's Whizkid immediately accessible that is powerful. Instead of attempting to time when you get Whizkid based on finding Mod Packs and putting points into Finesse, you can invest into it whenever needed. Marines having immediate access to Badass isn't too helpful since offensive traits tend to be stronger in the early game, and Tough as Nails is generally not worth skipping. The main benefit from it is you can opt to get Badass before Tough as Nails if you happen to get some very strong armor. The class bonuses aren't all that great either as Ironman dilutes the advantage of extra health, and effect bonuses, while nice, aren't a massive difference with impacting how you play. They make the early game a bit easier however.

All this said, because the three masterless builds have basically the same traits available, they're not significantly different relative to how different the master traits are from each other.

Below will be some suggested build orders, but being masterless, there are tons of different ways to play and orders to select traits and I'll only cover some very general ones. Likewise, certain build variants are definitely outclassed by their corresponding master traits, such as a melee Marine without Vampyre.

Masterless Marine

Suggested trait order:
1) Son of a Bitch 2) Son of a Bitch 3) Son of a Bitch 4) Finesse 5) Finesse
6) Whizkid 7) Whizkid 8) Hellrunner 9) Hellrunner 10) Dodgemaster
11) Badass 12) Son of a Bitch 13) Son of a Bitch 14) Badass 15) Finesse
16) Hellrunner 17) Tough as Nails 18) Tough as Nails 19) Tough as Nails 20) Ironman
21) Ironman 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Juggler

Although lacking some of the fancy advantages of the other classes, a masterless Marine can be designed as a very generic and well-rounded build. The extra 10 health isn't a huge amount, but as builds don't tend to get Ironman until much later, that 20% advantage holds its weight for quite awhile in the early game, and letting you be more aggressive with offense with a slightly better natural safety net. Immediately putting points into Son of a Bitch, then Finesse, and then Whizkid, you can hit very hard in the early game. Dodgemaster is generally helpful for the Cyberdemon, but if you don't feel the need for it, it can be delayed until later for Badass or Tough as Nails earlier instead. This build is highly flexible with any weapons, and you can lean more towards using Eagle Eye, Intuition, and Triggerhappy if desired or you find weapons that would benefit from them. Overall, it's a solid build that can do most of everything, even if it feels like the most bland gameplay possible in the game.

Masterless Scout

Suggested trait order:
1) Intuition 2) Intuition 3) Finesse 4) Finesse 5) Whizkid
6) Whizkid 7) Hellrunner 8) Hellrunner 9) Dodgemaster 10) Son of a Bitch
11) Son of a Bitch 12) Son of a Bitch 13) Son of a Bitch 14) Son of a Bitch 15) Triggerhappy
16) Triggerhappy 17) Finesse 18) Hellrunner 19) Tough as Nails 20) Tough as Nails
21) Tough as Nails 22) Badass 23) Badass 24) Juggler 25) Ironman

Start with Intuition for all of its amazing benefits, then work towards Whizkid. Son of a Bitch could be picked earlier since its damage increase is what helps you save your ammo for longer games. Triggerhappy can also be obtained much later since it can be wasteful and is only helpful for rapid-fires. Finally, Juggler can be picked much earlier if you're heavily focused on multiple weapons, or skipped completely for an extra point in Ironman if you're generally sticking with one weapon throughout. This build can skip Eagle Eye, and it's only helpful for rapid-fires in the early and middle game. That said, if you aren't expecting to find Laser Rifle, it's definitely worth putting at least one point into Eagle Eye since Plasma Rifle is very helpful around the middle game and greatly benefits from the accuracy bonus.

This build is extremely versatile and there isn't much it can't do. Early games are strong, middle games see significant development of the build, late games have a strong build put together, and long games see it reach full power. Angel of Death can be countered simply with Hellrunner and no need for Brute, and the Cyberdemon with Dodgemaster. With the Scout's speed, Intuition's information, and all the power and speed boosting traits available as you need them, masterless Scout is strong at every point and for essentially any challenge. In my opinion, masterless Scout is the best build in DoomRL.

Masterless Technician

Suggested trait order (rapid-fire/hybrid):
1) Son of a Bitch 2) Son of a Bitch 3) Triggerhappy 4) Triggerhappy 5) Whizkid
6) Whizkid 7) Son of a Bitch 8) Finesse 9) Finesse 10) Hellrunner
11) Hellrunner 12) Dodgemaster 13) Son of a Bitch 14) Son of a Bitch 15) Finesse
16) Hellrunner 17) Tough as Nails 18) Tough as Nails 19) Tough as Nails 20) Badass
21) Badass 22) Ironman 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Ironman

With early Whizkid and no restrictions on going for early Triggerhappy, this masterless Technican build can get very powerful rapid-fires early on. Dodgemaster can be obtained in the middle game if needed for the Cyberdemon, but otherwise, there's heavy focus on the offensive traits, followed by the defensive traits if you're playing a long game. You can opt out of Eagle Eye if you aren't having accuracy issues and don't want to invest towards Intuition, but you may need a point or two if you aren't getting Hyperblaster or Laser Rifle. If you prefer better ammo control, you can also skip Triggerhappy and only get it much later when you have semi-infinite or infinite firing.

Suggested trait order (Pistol):
1) Son of a Gun 2) Son of a Gun 3) Dualgunner 4) Whizkid 5) Whizkid
6) Hellrunner 7) Hellrunner 8) Dodgemaster 9) Son of a Gun 10) Son of a Bitch
11) Son of a Bitch 12) Son of a Gun 13) Son of a Gun 14) Son of a Bitch 15) Son of a Bitch
16) Son of a Bitch 17) Tough as Nails 18) Tough as Nails 19) Tough as Nails 20) Badass
21) Badass 22) Hellrunner 23) Ironman 24) Ironman 25) Ironman

With a Pistol-focused masterless Technician, you're able to fully skip both Finesse and Eagle Eye without significant consequences except lack of Intuition and a bit of accuracy. With Dualgunner and early Whizkid, you can get your Pistols to decent power very early, and unlike Sharpshooter, you can fully power them up with Son of a Bitch. If you aren't concerned about the Cyberdemon, you can also skip early Dodgemaster to have more early power instead. Overall, it's still a Pistol build and will lack Intuition, but you can power up significantly faster than other Pistol builds and have much more space for other traits as desired, as well as excellent inventory management. Like other masterless builds, this template is highly customizable. If you do decide to still use Eagle Eye, you should also still use Intuition.

Icy's Build Tier List

Across the 18 different potential builds, there are naturally some differences in how viable each one is. As mentioned, DoomRL is a very rich and deep game and has a wide variety of challenges, so different builds will perform better in some situations than others. Nonetheless, I thought I would share my opinion and perspective on all the builds with the tier list below. Tiering is based on overall viability, effectiveness, and consistency across a wide range of games such as standard games, conqueror games, Angel of 100 games, badges and medals challenges, and more. Builds are not ranked within each tier.

S: Scout - Masterless
A: Marine - Masterless, Marine - Vampyre, Marine - Ammochain, Scout - Cateye, Technician - Masterless
B: Scout - Blademaster, Technician - Malicious Blades, Technician - Sharpshooter
C: Marine - Survivalist, Scout - Gun Kata, Scout - Shottyhead, Technician - Fireangel, Technician - Scavenger
D: Marine - Bullet Dance, Marine - Army of the Dead, Scout - Gunrunner
F: Technician - Entrenchment
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Icy

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Re: Icy's Guide to Classes, Traits, and Builds
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2023, 15:34 »

(Reserved post if ever needed in the future.)
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