Friday, September 05, 2014

Path of Exile: Cast on Critical Strike

There's a skill gem in Path of Exile called Cast on Critical Strike (CoC for short) that has always intrigued me but I've never actually used it. It's a very rare gem (it can only be obtained from the last quest in the game and you can get Cast on Damage Taken from that quest instead) but I recently had a version drop with 9% quality on it. Now I really want to look at what is going on with the gem and figure out if I can make use of it or not...

CoC is a gem that says "Supported Attacks have a x% chance to Cast Supported Spells when you Crit an Enemy" where the x scales from 30% to 68% as the gem levels up. Extra quality on the gem increases your crit chance.

This is tricky to use because attacks and spells rarely have a lot of overlap in terms of things that make them better. You can gear and spec such that you have good attacks, or good spells, but it's hard to find gear or skill nodes that work to make them both better. Then there's also the fact you're using up a bunch of links adding this stuff together. My ranger right now crits almost 40% of the time and that's pretty hot... But I would get a lot more benefit by linking 2 more damage multipliers to my main attack than I would be sticking in CoC and fireball.

One option would be to find utility spells, not damage spells, to link on. That fireball is really going to suck for my ranger, but maybe a molten shell would be good? Grabbing an extra 1000 armour each time I crit seems like it should be always up? But my spec halves my armour and I don't know that spending 2 links on 500 armour is a good idea. In fact I'm pretty sure it's a terrible idea. How about immortal call? It would make me immune to physical damage for a very short period of time. Depending on the order things proc it could be an ok solution to physical reflect? But my main AE attack spell does cold damage, not physical damage, and immortal call doesn't help against that at all.

Ok, that option is out. Next up we could make it so our attacks do no damage at all but our spells are awesome. And then rather than cast the spells directly we instead use a piddly attack skill to cast the spells for us. According to the wiki you can link up multiple spells to the gem at once and each one will have a chance to proc on each enemy each time you crit them. So instead of casting arc or fireball or arctic breath you could shoot someone with a bow attack and hope to cast all three spells at once! Assuming you put a lot of your gear and spec into amplifying elemental damage you could be pumping out a lot of spell damage at once. But that requires 5 links right off the bat... A 6th link would let you pump up their damage, but is it going to be better than just having a really awesome fireball?

I guess that depends on how many of these spells you get to cast for free each time you attack. A bow by default has a 5% chance to crit and probably attacks 1.5 times per second. If your CoC gem will proc 60% of the time you'll get a spell proc once every 22 seconds. And that's actually assuming you hit 100% of the time which is certainly not going to be the case. And with an attack your chance to crit is impacted twice by your chance to hit... You need to hit before you get to roll for a crit, and if you do roll a crit you have to roll to hit again or you don't actually crit. Even if you have 3 spells that can proc you can surely cast a spell more than every 7 second normally. So this is bad as it is. But there are certainly ways to get more chances to proc. You can use an attack that shoots faster, like barrage, which attacks 4 times instead of 1 time. Maybe you stick a greater multiple projectiles gem on them to get another 4 projectiles as welling, getting 8 chances to proc per attack instead of 1. Note that the GMP gem will impact any projectile spells you end up casting, like fireball! Now we're probably getting more than a spell per second, which still isn't great, but is starting to sound pretty good. Stack a bunch of crit chance gear (not stuff to crit more with bows or spells individual but global crit chance) and you're actually getting somewhere pretty cool, and you're amplifying the damage of your spells too.

Or maybe you use a dagger instead of a bow. Daggers tend to have higher base attack speeds and crit chances and they let you use a shield. Make your attack skill of choice be spectral throw and you get a lot of chances to proc CoC since spectral throw pierces and can hit a given target multiple times. Using GMP again seems to make sense and now you're throwing out 5 daggers that go out and back giving a chance to cast 3 different spells each time they make contact with an enemy. You could easily be at a 33% chance to crit after accounting for hit issues with a dagger I would think... That gives a 60% chance each time the dagger makes contact with an enemy to launch out a spell. It won't be nearly that smooth since each attack gets one crit roll so you'll get a bunch of no procs and then every now and then you'll get a ton of procs but it really should end up with a lot more spells being cast than with a casting spec.

But you do need a 6 link item, and you do need a pretty specific spec. And just because you're casting more spells than normal doesn't mean you're doing more damage than normal because these spells only have GMP (or nothing at all) supporting them and a normal spell with have lots of things linked to them...

It does sounds fun though. And it could be viable enough that I think I want to mess around with it and see. I do want to level each class to 65 at least, and I don't have any plans for a shadow, so maybe I should see if I can find some elemental damage and crit chance nodes around the shadow start of the tree and see what I can do...

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