Bashing as Vampire: A Comprehensive Guide to Praenomen PVE

TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
edited September 14 in Class Guides
Hello! Those of you who talk to me know I probably get a little too into bashing mechanics in Aet and am on a constant quest to min/max any class I bash in to squeeze out its maximum capabilities. I was always fairly dismissive of the Praenomen class as a viable bashing class because it just seemed to lag behind in every area. DPS was mediocre and they were too squishy. I initially switched the Carnifex because, with zero artifacts, I was outperforming a fully-artied Praenomen.

However, right before I took a break from the game, I discovered a couple mechanics in the Praenomen class that completely flipped the script in my book, and took Prae from a class that I absolutely generally hated into one that, quite honestly, competes with Carnifex for my affection now. After discussing things with veterans of both the game and the class, I also discovered that I wasn’t the only person who was in the dark about the potential of this class, so I’m going to do my best to concisely summarize how to get the most out of PVE with the Praenomen class.


This guide will presume that you already understand the very basics of bashing in general, but I also see folk sleep on a lot of this stuff so I might as well put it here:
  • Get a ring with all four elemental resists - these will beef up your resistance to really damaging stuff.
  • Trans your miniskills - PVE damage used to be tied to how much you’d learned in the specific skill tree, but it’s now tied to how far you’ve advanced in HUNTING, so once you have all the skills you need in order to def up properly, if you’re primarily interested in PVE, you’re going to want to dump all extra lessons into your miniskills to further increase your audit tankiness (and reduce your endurance/willpower drain). For PVE Praenomen, I would say the order of importance would be roughly as follows: Fitness, Thermology, Galvanism, Frost, and then all the rest are kinda equal.
  • Avoidance - this skill is incredibly helpful for reducing your average damage taken over time. DIVERT and DODGE (and later you can do both at the same time) make a huge difference. DIVERT decreases incoming damage, DODGE completely negates it. Almost all PVE attacks are MELEE, so DODGE/DIVERT MELEE should be part of your defup This skill is very worth transing out.
  • Vigor - vigor is a fairly expensive elixir you can drink that will give you a small boost to your health whenever you achieve a critical. It’s useless pretty much below level 80, and Praenomen see minimal returns from it, being a single-hit class, but it can still be that tiny bit of an edge you need, especially if you use the vigor-boosting orbs and/or artifacts.
  • Amulets and Orbs - both amulets and orbs are fairly expensive gold-and-effort-wise, and are a bit too much to get into comprehensively here, but both red orbs and red amulets stack with each other AND artifacts, so they’re a great way to boost your DPS. Personally I think all the orbs are worth using while bashing, but I only use a couple of the amulets, but if you’re not an artiwhale like me, they’re definitely worth looking into, and bashing gold can actually start to cover your costs if you do it fast enough.
  • Chocolates - chocolates good, chocolates expensive. That’s all I have to say about that.
NOTE: I’ve decided to put the tl;dr on what you should be doing here, since the explanations for the mechanics are fairly long-winded, and if anybody is here that just wants the quick explanation to how to bash vamp and doesn’t care about why it works, I want it to be readily accessible without scrolling too far.


WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING TO BASH AS VAMP
PRIMARY ATTACK: Frenzy (Corpus, 0 Lessons) - scales with strength, uses balance

DEFENCES
  • Shield (buy a shield, and don’t forget to WIELD it)
  • Scale Armor (buy it, wear it)
  • Fortify (Corpus, 215 lessons)
  • Ward (Corpus, 600 lessons)
  • Potence [strength, unless str is 21, then Constitution. If both are 21 somehow, do Dexterity. If all three are 21, I’m issuing you for hacking] (Corpus, 1289 lessons)
  • BLOOD CONCENTRATION (Sanguis, 910 lessons) - will reduce the blood you use by 20%. Means you can get several more mends and deluges in before you need to top up.
  • Elusion On (Corpus, 16 lessons)
  • Celerity (Corpus, 289 Lessons)
  • Lifevision (Mentis, 0 Lessons) - not technically necessary but nice to have.
SUPPORT SKILLS
  • Mend (corpus, 481 lessons) - heals you for a decent amount at a pretty heavy balance recovery cost
  • BLOOD DELUGE (Sanguis, 1625 lessons) - will prevent you from dying for a short period of time. I’m not adept at using it yet, but it can really save your donkey if you utilize it properly.
  • PATH (Sanguis, 1289 lessons) - necessary for maximum blood level bonuses mentioned below, you must path into Phreneses with BLOOD PATH PHRENESES
BLOOD LEVEL
spec into Phreneses to see maximum pve benefit with BLOOD PATH PHRENESES

Under 10%. This will give you +2 strength and reduce your balance and incoming elemental damage dramatically. Grab something sharp, think about the state of America right now, and SLIT WRISTS until you’re under 10% blood. Choose your statpack accordingly (powerful can get a base str of 18 using this + potence.)

EXCEPTION: If you’re going to bashing somewhere you know will have fire damage, might be best to top up, since the fire resistance really tanks at low blood. When I was experimenting (without artifacts), I could HANDILY autobash Xanhaal (with orbs and amulets anybody can buy with tokens/gold), except when it came to the mobs that did fire damage. They either require lucky crits, or very smart use of deluge/mend. Mausoleum and Xanhaal then are areas where you'll likely want to top up with blood, otherwise you're going to be getting hit with 2k+ fire damage.

ENHANCEMENTS
PVP and PVE vamp enhancements are a bit at odds, but here are my recommendations for PVE Vamp Enhancements:
  • ENHANCE STATS 2: 1 strength, 1 constitution
  • ENHANCE SPEED: Balance
  • ENHANCE RESISTANCE: statpack dependent. I choose cutting with Athletic, blunt with powerful
  • ENHANCE RESISTANCE: FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE
AUGMETIC ENHANCEMENTS
I don’t actually have suggestions, the most heated arguments I’ve been apart of have all been about augmetic enhancements. The only thing we know for certain is that Crit Strength is absolutely garbage and should be the absolute last ones you get ever.

Okay, now onto the mechanic explanations, and specifically the two skills that are slept on by most people playing the class, and how to best utilize them: ENRAGE and SANGUINE.

ENRAGE is specific to Phreneses, and SANGUINE, kind of hilariously for how overlooked it is, is the very first skill in the SANGUIS tree, and both of them work as follows:

With ENRAGE, as your blood levels (%) drop, your balance and equilibrium time will go down slightly.

With SANGUINE, as your blood levels (%) drop, your strength will increase and your overall resistances will increase. There is a cost, however, in that your resistance to fire will decrease, as will your intelligence.

What does this mean in real terms? It means as your blood levels drop, you’ll hit certain thresholds. At those thresholds, your balance will decrease and your audit resistances will increase. At two thresholds, your stats will also swap around, to a maximum of +2 strength and -2 intelligence.

**NOTE: because of a classlead change, ENRAGE is no longer passive, and is a defense you must put up, so don't forget it!


But What Blood Level is best? Don’t worry! I did the testing so you don’t have to!
You get the most out of your stat bonuses at around 20% blood, but your audit and your balance will continue to improve all the way down to 10% blood, with balance capping out at 2.93 seconds (this is with the endgame balance enhancement), down from 3.16 seconds, a 7% improvement to your balance, which in turn is a 7% improvement to DPS. That may not sound like a lot, but combined with everything else, this is absolutely huge. As far as Audits go, this is what mine looks like (keep in mind that I’m a whale and I have an artie shield with fire resist):

100% BLOOD
        Cutting |  61% 
          Blunt |  54%
          Magic |  58%
           Fire |  51% 
           Cold |  47%     
       Electric | 39%         
         Poison |  39%             
        Psychic |  32% 
       Asphyxiation |  32%        
         Spirit |  10%     
         Shadow |  20%


10% BLOOD
        Cutting | 61%         
          Blunt |  54%    
          Magic |  58%         
           Fire |  20% 
           Cold |  62%     
       Electric |  54%         
         Poison |  54%             
        Psychic | 32% 
       Asphyxiation |  47%
         Spirit |  10%
         Shadow |  20%
As you can see, overall across the board there’s a huge increase in your tankiness, with the exception of fire damage (which is, frankly, a pretty rare damage source in PVE save for a few zones). Vampires are exempt from the low-blood penalties of other classes like reduced healing, making this prospect a no-brainer, imo. Low blood, all the time while PVEing. I used to top up when I was bashing during daytime, but honestly the sun doesn’t hurt that much and hasn’t made a significant difference in my experience.

But what about mending and deluge?
These actually aren’t that big of a deal, especially at endgame. At 5% blood, I still have ~1200 blood points. Deluge only uses 500, so even at really low levels of blood percent, you can afford both mend and deluge. I recommend if you get to about 3-4% that you feed on something (you’re bashing after all) and then slit your wrists back down to under 10% again. Here’s a quick shot for proof:
H:7700 M:3706 E:100% W:102% B:4% [b eb]blood deluge
You grow pale as the last of your life force flows from your body.
As you unleash your sanguine reserves, blood surges through you in a wild deluge
and its boundless power renders you temporarily among the ranks of the immortal.
You have gained the deluge defence.
H:7700 M:3505 E:100% W:101% B:3% [b eb]
As the lifeblood is consumed, you start to feel rather cold.
Your deluge defence has been stripped.
H:7700 M:3706 E:100% W:101% B:3% [b eb]feed nazetu
With a lustful grin you drive your fangs into a vein of the corpse of a Nazetu
crossbowman and, slurping greedily, draw out its still-warm blood from the wound
in long, deep, sucking pulls. The fluid replenishes and invigorates you.
Satisfied, you casually discard the corpse.
Balance Used: 4.28 seconds
H:7700 M:3706 E:100% W:93% B:35% [b e-]
You have recovered balance on all limbs.
BLOOD LEVEL MAINTENANCE
This is a sticking point for some people, but I discovered if you keep an animal or some other creature that doesn't give a ton of blood (anything that give the message "you grimace and feel debased as you feed from the thing you disgusting person I will kinkshame you for this") is a great thing to keep in your inventory while you're bashing, as when you get to ~2% blood, you can feed and get back up to 7% or whatever. I use spiders from Luzith's since I hit it bashing endgame anyway, but any low-blood-level creature will do.

CONCLUSION

With all these minor adjustments, Praenomen becomes one of the best bashing classes in the game. Reasonably tanky (not the best), decent health recovery (not the best, but pretty good!), and REALLY good DPS. I can break 900 dps without resorting to caramel chocolates (at 21 str, hunting 3, and knuckles 3), which is a really tough line for a lot of classes to pass over. Here is a spreadsheet to mess with for vamps specifically. You’ll need to make a copy to use the dropdowns (I think), but it illustrates all these points a lot more concisely than this post, but I kinda wanted to make it for people who bash as Praenomen, since it seems like an underutilized class.

Let me know if I missed something and I’ll add it in.

LinStineGavramelRazmaelBaranor

Comments

  • Hmm, so much for going Mhun to regenerate blood reserves. That's certainly some interesting research you did.
  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    edited October 2020
    Gavramel said:

    Hmm, so much for going Mhun to regenerate blood reserves. That's certainly some interesting research you did.

    Blood regen is pretty slow, you should be fine. Might require occasional SLIT WRIST maintenance, but tbh it's like 1% per hour. Just maintaining celerity will likely keep you under 10%

    Gavramel
  • RhyotRhyot Bloodloch
    While I do appreciate the vast amount of time and energy put into this, Praenomen as a whole is not the best bashing class. That is reserved for Teradrim, in my honest opinion. You mentioned one path out of the three, which leaves as 1/3 of a class in PVE. Which is ultimately mockingly acceptable due to the fact that Phreneses isn't meant for PVP anyway as I have been told it is primarily made as a group path.

    Allow me, if you will, to contest some various points within your post.


    ENHANCE SPEED: Balance

    Due to the fact that there is a severe disassociation with Praenomen in terms of PVP vs PVE, this point forces the Praenomen to essentially spec for PVE -or- PVP. If you have absolutely no intention of performing in PVP, then sure go for balance. However, if you even care to dabble into PVP, choosing the option to enhance your balance speed is absolutely detrimental to any time you will spend fighting in PVP environments. Without a 750 cr investment, your whisper speed is 3.75. With crown it is 3.48, with eq+crown it is 3.23. Even before enhancements were created to allow eq/enhancements, fighting at a balance of 3.48s was difficult. If you utilize the ONE speed enhancement you have to Balance, you are effectively gutting yourself in PVP. Now, this is counterable if you decide to spend the 100 credits to obtain a rebirth crystal to reset your enhancements, or if you have adaptation artifact (750 cr) and just swap from Shapeshifter -> Praenomen to reset your enhancements. While I understand that this thread focuses purely on the PVE aspects, Aetolia is not a vacuum in which you can just avoid the PVP aspect without it being affected in any manner at all.

    Ultimately, this means that you have a balance time of 3.5 (standard Frenzy speed) vs 3.15 (bal enhanced). If you want to maintain your stance of blood loss in Phreneses, then even without bal_enhancement you can get to 3.15 with less than 10% blood. Being a Phren Praenomen with 7% blood for the increase in speed and sitting at 21 Strength with all but red ammy, you can achieve a DPS of ~698, but I'm getting smacked to high hell by dwarves when they decide to hit with fire damage (~3000+ fire damage).


    SUPPORT SKILLS

    Mend (corpus, 481 lessons) - heals you for a decent amount at a pretty heavy balance recovery cost
    BLOOD DELUGE (Sanguis, 1625 lessons) - will prevent you from dying for a short period of time. I’m not adept at using it yet, but it can really save your donkey if you utilize it properly.


    While you do bring up good points, if you are trying to maintain a blood level of less than 10% to achieve maximum frenzy speed, you are already pushing your death timer. The reason I am saying this is because you will die at 0% blood and while you likely wouldn't be using skills like Trepidation when you are bashing (though you might because most systems have automatic defup and Trepidation is one of them), your active cure Mend utilizes at least 1-2% blood usage. This means you can mend 5 times before you have to Feed again and then spend MORE time SLITing WRISTS to get back to below 10%. Because of this, your DPS is not consistent and requires more time and effort to put into maintaining a subpar DPS of ~700. Eventually, you'll spend more time FEEDing and using SLIT than you will with bashing unless you feed on crap mobs like animals which only give MINIMAL blood gain. That said, most classes nowadays can do anywhere from 780-820 with maxed out stats/weapons with -zero- upkeep in the manner that Praenomen does.



    PATH (Sanguis, 1289 lessons) - necessary for maximum blood level bonuses mentioned below, you must path into Phreneses with BLOOD PATH PHRENESES

    I'm just going to touch on this one momentarily. This skill has a cooldown of four hours unless you invest in the quick_path artifact to reduce the time of path switching. Essentially, while I understand that this thread is primarily for the benefits of PVE, we cannot discount the usage of PVP. And while Phreneses is absolutely nasty in teams, a lot of people don't necessarily enjoy fighting as Phreneses especially if they want to fight in a 1v1 capacity or have the capability to.


    My take of being a Praenomen for 9+ years

    If you are not Phreneses you are hard pressed to get near 650 DPS due to the fact that your balance speed does not increase with lower blood loss. Most classes in PVE are balanced around either being tanky and hitting softly or being squishy and hitting hard/multiple times (due to increased crit chances ie monk/zealot/carnifex/syssin/shapeshifter). Praenomen used to fall into the former where it was tanky because they had an Affinity skill with their minion which was relatable to a Teradrim sharing damage with their golem. When the Praenomen revamp happened, this tankability was removed without any additional change to the PVE offensive capabilities, leaving Praenomen in a very tough bind unless you were artifacted to high hell.

    As I said previously, most classes bashing when maxed out, can achieve around 780-820 DPS -before- caramels without any real need for consistent upkeep. So while I applaud the time, effort, and research that went into your post. I cannot help but feel that some things were overlooked in your research that goes against the idea that Praenomen is a great PVE class.


    Tetchta
  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    I think you're overstating the maintenance requirements of Praenomen, but as we discussed in another channel, I definitely should test that more without artifacts. Several other classes do need maintenance, though, especially sans arties (Syssin and Carnifex come to mind). Part of me fears that you're simply not ready to accept the truly metal aesthetic of spilling blood everywhere in the middle of bashing ;)

    The most valid concern, I think, is that you essentially have to permanently lock yourself into PVE if you don't have the ability to change statpacks on the fly due to Enhancements being locked in. That's actually a really rough sell for anybody who doesn't already have an artifact to switch the SPEED enhancement and I think it should be addressed in a patch of some kind. Having to choose between PVE and PVP is permanently...yeah, that's rough.

  • edited September 14
    Thread necromancy, but I've been diving into Akkari pve since the release. This guide, I think, is very accurate. I can't speak to how it is without artifacts, but modern calculation of DPS should include critical hits. Following this guide, this is what I Was able to work up:
    Notes: Tcanna mobs, calculations on paper, red orb and red amulet, 54.23% crit rate, l2 hunt artifact, l2 knuckles, 21 str							
    Class	        Attack	Per Second	AvPer Hit	Balance	Single Hit Base Damage        Non-Crit dps	Notes
    Akkari	Denounce	2574.26	8726.75	3.39	        2595	                               765.48	        100% blood
    Akkari	Denounce	2761.62	8726.75	3.16   	2595	                               821.2	                100% blood, l1 bal 
    Akkari	Denounce	2744.26	8726.75	3.18		2595	                               816.03	        23% blood
    Akkari	Denounce	2938.29	8726.75	2.97		2595	                               873.73	        23% blood, l1 bal
    Akkari	Denounce	2779.21	8726.75	3.14		2595	                               826.43	        8% blood
    Akkari	Denounce	2978.14	8726.75	2.93		2595	                               885.66	        8% blood, l1 bal
    Akkari	Denounce	2493.35	8726.75	3.5		2595	                               741.42	        non-Dosan
    Akkari	Denounce	2676.91	8726.75	3.26		2595	                               796.01	        l1 bal, non-Dosan
    My take away is that the upkeep for the class to be able to optimally bash is rough, particularly needing to switch between eq and bal for optimization. I can't think of another class off the top of my head that has a split optimization like this particular one does. The other thing that I'm leery about is the requirement to be in Dosan/Phreneses, but with the advent of milestone credits and how cheap it actually is to get the host/path change cooldown dropped to 15 minutes, it's probably fine. All in all, it seems like it can be a very good class for pve.

    Edit: My table didn't format right after being submitted but it should be semi readable.

  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    Thread necro here is good, especially since it should be known that ENRAGE isn't a passive anymore and has to be enabled. The eq/bal thing is, honestly, horrendous, and needs addressed in some way. I did the math somewhere and the hit you take from bashing in eq+ spec hits you with a 7% DPS drop off the top, which is roughly the same impact (slightly less) that you would get if you dropped from hunt3->hunt1, since the damage loss is multiplicative (due to hit affecting balance times) while the hunt arti is additive (as it impacts damage directly).

    Another QOL thing Prae/Dosan needs, imo, is an easier way to maintain your blood levels. While many folk will overstate what a pain it is to slit your palms to lower your blood levels, it *is* a really annoying aspect. Being able to instantly drop to 10%, and maybe even an easy way to maintain/keep it consistent (feed to 10% or something when you drop low) would go miles in making the class less of a slog to bash in, especially since your blood levels are reset to max when you level up (meaning if you're doing serious bashing, you gotta stop every level to redo your bloodletting).

  • I think I'm going to drop in a classlead asking for a feed/deliver to X% and a verb for each class to drop bloodlevel to a desired percentage. with maybe a second classlead asking for an adjustment to frenzy/deliver that would allow it to benefit from either +eq or +bal against mobs, we'll see what comes of it.

    Tetchta
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