A collection of my thoughts to play a well balanced Storm. This is specifically in relation to end game content – the journey from 1-30 is what you make of it. As of March 5, 2019.
The Storm has three main goals – dealing massive damage, setting up combos, and not dying. The first one is simple enough, the second takes some practice and coordination, while the third can be a real nightmare.
Pros / Cons
Storm is very similar to a mage class in a standard RPG. They are masters of elements, and long range combat. Up close, they have very poor defense, and a very weak melee attack.
To that end, properly playing a Storm is not about going all out crazy, it’s about picking your targets for optimum carnage. You solo vs a shielded elite is not smart. You standing behind a Colossus and raining AE damage on multiple enemies is very smart. You freezing a large enemy so that the entire team can flank is also very smart. You need to play smart to be a good Storm.
Storm are unique in that they can hover indefinitely, and doing so increases their shield capacity. Hovering means off the ground, whether a foot off the ground or a mile.
The downside to hovering is that you are going to be wide open to take attacks. Continual strafing is important, and lots of dashing as well.
You are not melee, should never be close to anyone. Standing farther back, you’ll find that aiming is a challenge as well, leaving limits as to what type of weapon you want to use. Since you’re going elemental attacks, the actual weapon you use will be sporadic. Only the effect from the active weapon applies, so your 2nd weapon is essentially a stat stick.
Some options include, in my order of preference:
Thunderbolt of Yvenia – 33% chance to hitting with lightning. This is really quite deadly when combined with other elemental boosts.
Elemental Rage – Hitting an elite gives a 5% boost to elemental damage for 10 seconds, stacks to 20. Since all your skills are elemental, this is a significant boost.
Death From Above – Increased weak point damage while hovering, which is really useful for tough enemies.
Divine Vengeance – Every 3rd hit on a weak point applies fire damage. This is effectively a “free” primer.
Truth of Tarsis – Hits on weakpoints set off combos. The boost here is less important than the actual damage potential. Devastators have only 1 ammo, but it deals insane damage.
Ice slows/freezes enemies. Fire causes area damage, as well as some damage over time. Lightning deals single large strikes, that in some cases can chain to other targets. The chart below shows the primer/detonator skills – of particular note is that none of them are Impact or Blast effect, they are all elemental.
While leveling, I don’t think it really matters much. At GM1+, there really is only 1 viable choice for Focus Seals, and that’s Frost Shards (or Ice Rime as MW). The ice effect is essential for shutting down spawn points, you can apply it to multiple targets, and if a Storm manages to detonate the effect… then it spreads to everything. That and the fact that Ice Rime increases Blast Seal damage by 125% after freezing an enemy…hello! (Arc Burst / Stasis Chain is neat when there are multiple targets, but the damage is still quite low, and does not prime/detonate.)
Blast Seals are a different matter, and you’re really looking at the MW effects. My choices:
Ponder Infinity – Increases electric damage by 60% while hovering. This is the most damaging baseline attack, and it gets even better.
Binary Star – Launches 2 living flames instead of one. Decent damage, with a DoT, and applies a primer.
Venomous Blaze – Applies acid damage after a 3 hits. Part of a solid fire build, and can melt through armored enemies.
These are passive boosts to your javelin. In all honesty, the way the game works today these require a significant amount of balance.
In concept, components come in 3 types – increased armor/shields, increased elemental damage, gear (equipment) modifications. You can only use 1 type of component at a time, and with 6 slots it’s pretty easy pickings since only 5 are of real benefit.
Token of Daring – increases Seal damage by 20% when shields fail. Shields are always failing on Storm and this is a decent boost.
Tome of Precision – Sniper rifle kills boost lightning damage by 60% for 5s. The baseline effect also increases lightning damage by 5%. You’re not going to have too many chances to get the sniper rifle boost on bosses, but regular combat certainly will.
Gunslinger’s Mark – The MW effect is broken right now, but the baseline effect decreases skill cooldown by 50% while lowering damage by 20%. Without getting into the math, this is a 60% increase in damage potential.
Mark of Wrath – While Focus is on cooldown, Blast damage increases by 50% for 5s. This is an easy effect to keep active. It also increases skill damage by 50% but increases cooldown by 20%. Again 60% overall increase.
Token of the Master – Hit an enemy with Blast and Focus damage is increased by 60% for 5s. Useful if your Focus skill is decent damage. Also increases Blast damage by 35%, but that doesn’t seem to impact a single Storm skill.
This appears pretty broken at the moment. Windwall goes down in 1-2 shots, while Quickening Field’s effect requires you to stay still (bad idea) and a 20% haste for 10 seconds isn’t at all noticeable. Consider both of these slots as stat sticks.
God rolls focus on the following:
Javelin damage – Extremely useful, and applies to guns and seals equally.
Gear damage – really only useful for Blast Seals and the weapon.
Seal Damage / Cooldown – Nearly all your damage comes from use of skills. Increasing their damage and lowering their cooldown makes for a much better experience. At around 50% cooldown bonus from inscriptions, you likely won’t need to use a weapon at all.
Elemental Damage – Increasing this is a major boost to damage.
Luck – Caps at 90, and has a significant impact in the quality of item drops. Has no other impact.
The rest of inscriptions are so-so. Increasing the number of combo targets really only applies to specific spawn points. Weakpoint damage doesn’t apply to elemental attacks, only weapons. Ultimate damage/cooldown is useful, but with experience you’ll quickly learn that combos fill up that bar very quickly (Practice on Tyrant Mine boss, you should be able to fill the bar after every spider cave spawn.)
That means that of the ~50 inscription types, only 6 have any tangible value.
As of now, there certainly is some build variety at GM1, but top end content really only has one option – Ice Rime + Ponder Infinity, and the necessary items to reduce cooldowns and increase damage while hovering. It will take some tweaks to make Fire a viable attack type (either increased duration of DoT, a short disorient, or a continuous interrupt), to combat Ice’s major defensive benefits, and Electric’s insane instant damage.