What am I doing wrong with summoner build?

#1BlazeAssassinPosted 1/25/2013 4:24:09 AM
Gonna be a bit of a TL:DR so if you don't want the wall of text, feel free to skip down to my questions.

I've loved playing a summoning necro/druid in d2 and I honestly had high hopes for some of that enjoyment here, but I must be doing something very wrong. From the general consensus I've seen browsing other topics, my understanding is that through most of act 1 and early act 2, summoners are garbage, and barely even are able to use their summons since they die so easily. And then around level 25-30 they become incredibly powerful, then dip down a bit, and are really strong at the higher levels again.

Well right now I'm level 30, supposedly the level where summoners should start to shine, and I'm honestly considering just deleting the character and starting over as a pure caster, its that bad. I can never maintain a full army of minions, they die more or less as fast as I can summon them. I'm not expecting them to be invincible or anything, but I spend probably 70% of my casts re-summoning minions, and only 30% casting actual spells while I'm in a dungeon. I don't mind resummoning, but I want them to be able to take a hit.

Right now I'm completely stuck on the boss at the top of the pyramid in act 2. I literally cannot have minions out, any single attack from the boss wipes them out instantly. I'm not particularly durable myself, if his laser hits me, even with full energy shield, I still die from full. Its really rough and I need some advice.

So here are my questions:

1) What should I be focusing on with skill points? It sounds kind of dumb, since there are dedicated minion boosting nodes, but they haven't been working out, is there some other stat I should be grabbing? Right now I've been getting every minion life and damage boost I can get my hands on, My minions have 43% damage increase, and 75% damage (at least from what I see in the character tab, it feels like it should be more with the nodes).

2) Are there some other stats that help my minions? Strength for example, would that give them higher base life to use my %life better? Or anything like that? I mostly want them to take hits, they die fast but their damage seems fine.

3) Any other general tips on summoner? The only explanation for how bad its working for me right now is that I've done something poorly with either my gear or build, I just need to get off on the right foot so I can fix it from here onward.
#2FrostyZaimokPosted 1/25/2013 4:47:39 AM
Read right through it.

http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/63871

I can't really be of more help than the guys in there.
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#3SyxxPakk6Posted 1/25/2013 5:21:18 AM
Quick note. Summoning build isn't great until 30+ then falls off a bit then is good again.

Basically get nodes for summons and also totem of rejuvenation helps a bit if your summons are dying. Also there is a support gem with +30% summon Hp. Another useful support you can use is life on hit. When linked with a summon it gives them life per hit to heal themselves.
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#4Zonte IIPosted 1/25/2013 6:55:40 AM
Just to add to what has been said above:

1) Get a Minion Health gem for both your Raise Zombie and Summon Skeletons skills. This helps out tremendously. If you have a spare slot, add a Minion Damage gem to each of them also, with Zombies getting priority if you only have one gem.

2) In Cruel difficulty, you'll have the option to choose a Discipline Aura skill gem from an early Act 1 quest. This gives you and your minions an additional boost to their energy shields. It starts out at 60 and improves as you level it up. This is huge.

3) Eventually, you'll also get a support gem to turn any skill into a totem. Combining this with your skeletons gives you a totem that summons skeletons for you automatically. This really takes the teeth out of things and gives you a chance to focus on casting other spells.

4) Spectres are awesome. Eventually, you'll be able to summon two, but even one is pretty good.

5) Choose an element: either fire or lightning, and aim for a single-target nuke and an AoE spell for that element. It is vital that you are casting these damage-dealing spells in support of your minions' damage. The reason I didn't mention frost/ice is because this will cause mobs to shatter, therefore they will not leave behind a corpse. Note that you should not add points into damage-boosting passives for this element until you are completely done with your summoning passives.

6) The Enfeeble curse is available by Act 3 normal, I believe. This curse drastically cuts down the damage that mobs are able to deal. Always spam this curse, especially on rare mobs.

7) Minion Instability is a priority. You know how some bosses or rare mobs are able to kill your skeletons just as quickly as you summon them? Well, this passive takes care of that issue and rewards you for resummoning minions. It causes your minions to explode once they reach 33% health and deals massive AoE damage.

8) I do not think summoners start to become decent until at least level 35. Act 3 normal was horrible for me, and it wasn't until Act 1 cruel that I was able to finally solo everything.

9) All through normal, it's best to find a group to run with. You'll be pulling your hair out otherwise.

Overall, summoners are pretty difficult as your first character in this game since they really need some additional support from your other characters in the form of gems and possibly even gear. But once you cross over the hump and your minions are able to tank and deal more damage, you'll be amazed at how powerful you can be. You're almost there, so it would be stupid to give up now.
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#5ItoranPosted 1/25/2013 8:15:51 AM
Act 2 boss did enough damage in closed beta to nearly one shot my marauder with max resists and 2k life in cruel, you're not supposed to get hit, minions are not smart enough to avoid his assault. Team up for this one unless you have another plan for him.

Post your passive tree/items, that would help more in giving advice, to see if you're wasting stuff, could improve your items, etc.
#6_Dreamcast_Posted 1/25/2013 9:00:15 AM(edited)
I'm making a summoner witch for my first character and i am loving it so far... I don't feel weak at all... Just finsished act 2 and i beat the last boss solo...

I'm level 32 and here's what my build is looking like so far...

http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgMAAuMHYxCXGmwfAiqYLJw2xUQE [space] SOdJG0myTblXK2vbc1N9GIVgh2WIQI9GkDOboZwtna6mrKcIr7fMvNDQ2CTZC-yK99f6gA==

(delete the space in the link)

My plan was to pick up Minion Instability as as soon as was reasonably possible. Along the way i picked up all the minion related nodes i could. I made my way around the map following the inteligence nodes for obvious reasons. I also invested in a few +fire damage nodes that were in my way. And a few +mana nodes in the very beginning (as opposed to the +spell damage).

The reason behind the +fire damage nodes is because Firestorm is my main attack spell (i have it binded to left click).

And that's it, i summon minions, stand in the background, and spam the crap out of Firestorm, and it's worked like a charm so far :)

I can have 6 zombies, 2 spectre's, and 8 skeletons up at once so far... I combined my zombies and spectres with a minion damage gem, and my skeletons with a minion life gem. My minions don't feel all that weak. The zombies and spectres tend to stay up for quite a bit. The skeletons not so much, but even if they do die quick its not so bad cus theyll proc minion instability (if they dont get 1 hitted [hence the minion life gem]).

I love the combination of minions and firestorm, at least for now, it works great...

My general advice would be that you nneed to combine your minions with an ofensive spell that you're going to be spamming from the background. I would recommend Firestorm. i can't really imagine going at it with just minions alone... I think you kinda need somethin else to supplement them...

Just my 2 cents :)
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