Can anyone direct me to a good Merrill guide with tactics, gear and such? I have respecced her a bunch but can't seem to find out what I should really be doing with her.
Try to read these thread:
"need help with merril and anders how do i make them powerful"
1) Max out personal tree
2) Get "Blood magic: 1 more mana per HP" staff, belt, neck, rings
3) Pump Con
5) Lol, blood mage that gets 7 mana per HP and has a massive AoE stun with huge damage.
For extra lulz, use her enemy pull to gather enemies up, then her AoE stun to keep them all in place and get them low on health, then Walking Bomb (Virulent for turbolulz) one of the tougher mooks and focus-fire to finish it off.
You can have a warrior cause staggers constantly on enemies. Merril can use upgraded chain lightning or crushing prison to get good results. Also, the entropy tree is very useful against tough opponents. Make sure Merrril takes some sustainable magic spells if she's using blood magic.
If you have a warrior or rogue with talents that attack brittle enemies, a fully upgraded elemental tree can be quite nice (a bit hard to use on Nightmare, though.) Her personal tree is good, but I've only been using blood magic from it, and getting lots of good talents elsewhere. Feel free to experiment a bit.
After further experimentation it seems it is my tactics I cannot master, which is one thing I can't really find anywhere.
Anyone mind sharing their Merrill tactics?
Do yourself a favor and disable tactics. Controlling your characters manually will always achieve better results than a simplistic if-then AI.
I don't really want to disable tactics -_-
I control all of my characters a lot of the time, but I'd like them to have a 'personality' in combat for themselves, too.
Tactics really aren't too hard to figure out. It's just a big if/then/else statement. Let me go over some examples for you so you can see how they're made and hopefully get to know the system better.
The first tactics to be evaluated will be the ones closest to the top, so we need to stick the most dire necessities here. At the very top, you usually want everyone to make sure to keep themselves alive in a pinch. Merrill can't heal with Blood of the First on though, so she'll have to turn that off first. Let's start with this for the first two tactics:
Self: Health < 25% || Deactivate Blood of the First
Self: Health < 25% || Use Health Potion
Merrill also has a special power that can help her escape from danger, and things like this should also be near the top. Her Stone's Throw spell is basically identical to the Rogue's Back-to-Back, and is useful for getting her out of trouble in a pinch. Stone's Throw will sweep Merrill immediately away to a targeted ally's side. Let's see what an ideal tactic for that would be.
Self: Being attacked by melee attack || Use condition for next tactic
Ally: Highest health || Stone's Throw
This uses the "use condition for next tactic" ability, which lets you assign multiple conditions to a single action. Here you see me only using it once, and the end result is a fairly intelligent use of Stone's Throw when appropriate. If you wanted, you could blow about 12 tactic slots having her individually evaluate each companion when she's in danger and making sure the area she'll move to is safe before jumping, but really it's not that important and you need the slots for other things. The above works fine in most cases and usually keeps her safe by jumping her away from danger if enemies get near.
Next, people generally like to set up sustained modes so that they're always turned on first. Merrill's Blood of the First lets her cast from health, which helps increase her casting pool. It's pretty useful, but we want to make sure she only starts doing this if she has a decent health level to start with. But wait a second: what's the point of using your blood to cast if you still have mana left? Let's make sure she burns through most of her mana first before using blood.
Self: Mana or Stamina level < 25% || Use condition for next tactic
Self Health > 75% || Activate Blood of the First
Self: Any || Activate Rock Armor
Self: Any || Wrath of the Elvhen
Self: Any || Activate Whatever other sustainables you have
You can also set the other sustainables to only activate once mana has been burned, but their reserve isn't as large, so it's not as important. If you have extra tactics slots though, then do it. After all that's done, you'll likely want her actually doing something in battles, right? Cross-class combos are important for damage, so let's stick them next in the queue. If you have a two-handed weapon user in the party, you'll probably be seeing plenty of STAGGER effects on enemies. Bring along a rogue and you should be able to stick DISORIENT on things too. Chain Lightning does a lot of bonus damage to staggered targets with the Chain Reaction upgrade on it, and Stone Fist with the Golem's Fist upgrade will slam a single disoriented target extremely hard. Let's set those up.
Enemy: Status DISORIENTED || Stone Fist
Enemy: Status STAGGERED || Chain Lightning
What about those Entropy spells everyone says she needs? Those seem pretty useful, so how about we stick those high in her tactics by doing them next?
1 Enemy: Highest health || Hex of Torment
2 Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher || Horror
3 Enemy: Status Can't attack || Jump to tactic 5
4 Enemy: Health > 75% || Misdirection Hex
See that last one? The numbers were added so you can see how that works. This series will have Merrill using Hex of Torment to help weaken the strongest enemy. The next time tactics evaluate through, her current target will still be the enemy with the highest health that she had targeted before, and if that target is also as least lieutenant rank, she'll follow up with Horror. Otherwise, she'll evaluate other targets and hit the first lieutenant or boss she sees with Horror, skipping that spell if there are no strong enemies. After that, she'll evaluate whatever her last target was (still could be the guy who got hit with Hex of Torment) and, if that target is capable of attacking, she'll throw on Midirection Hex. Horror would prevent the target from attacking already and you don't want to waste two disables at once on a single target, so we have that jump tactic to ensure that she won't use Midirection Hex on something that already can't attack. Just set the jump to skip right over whichever tactic number Misdirection Hex is on.
Okay, that was fun, but can we get back to hurting things?
1 Enemy: Health < 25% || Use condition for next tactic
2 Enemy: Clustered with at least two allies || Walking Bomb
3 Self: Surrounded by at least two enemies || Ensnare
4 Self: Surrounded by at least two enemies || Cone of Cold
5 Enemy: Clustered with at least two allies || Wounds of the Past
6 Enemy: Clustered with at least three allies || Tempest
7 Enemy: Clustered with at least two allies || Firestorm
8 Enemy: Status Can't attack || Jump to tactic 10
9 Enemy: Any || Winter's Grasp
Here you see a very basic set-up for an elemental/primal/arcane Merrill. She'll hit near=death enemies with Walking Bomb so they burst to hit their allies; pull nearby enemies with Ensnare to slam them with a follow-up Cone of Cold; attack multiple enemies at once with Wounds of the Past, Tempest, and Firestorm; and attempt to freeze anything capable of attacking with Winter's Grasp. If every tactic falls through, she'll move around the battlefield or use staff attacks based on her current Behavior setting, which should be Ranged.
Disclaimer: The above is not my actual Merrill tactic line-up, and it's not even necessarily the most efficient, nor is this even complete. I also don't expect that you'll take every single spell I listed nor do I suggest it. I hope you can see that all of this was simply created to help give you an idea of how to program Merrill to effectively use her spells, whichever ones you take. These are all simply examples, and by seeing these examples, I'm hoping you'll gain a greater understanding of how easy to use the tactics system really is.
You are a god among men.