Table of Contents:
2. Stat Points
3. How to Level and What Gear to Use
4. Welling Strategy and Charm Choice
5. Conclusion1. Intro
So there's another great guide for a welling mage located here
which explains the basics but I wanted to just write something up and post it so I don't have to keep saying the same thing over and over when people ask me how I climb. The other guide is for catacombing until you get to the proper welling level - in my guide I describe how to level in Arena because I think that Arena is way more enjoyable, satisfying, and relaxing.
I don't want to take time to explain the basics about the well, so if you aren't familiar you can read this
. Basically the profitable thing about welling is that if you throw in high level items even if the stats are crap you can sell them for decent amounts as mutables. But then you also get the nice drops occasionally - which are what I live for.
The purpose of this guide is to describe how I personally climb my welling mages. I prefer arena over catacombs because I tend to find higher level white items and better drops in general. In addition, finding a good catacombs group can be really hard - especially if you play at odd hours like I do. I can play for 5 minutes or 5 hours - though if I have a high level magician and a vault full of white items I usually end up playing for longer than I meant to.2. Stat Points
The only other character I would use for welling besides a Magician and maybe a hybrid Paladin would be a Warlock... but if you've gotten that far then you probably don't need someone to tell you how to play so I'd recommend a Magician for anyone who's unsure.
Base stats for a magician:
The only difference in stat allotment with magicians is in where you put the first 10 points (in softcore, of course) because every point after that needs to go into Intelligence.
I'll say right now that if you are a beginner or don't have very good gear / not much to spend on gear I would suggest putting your first 10 points into vitality. If you've climbed a couple times as a healer and know how to watch your health as you heal then you should follow my advice below:
Most people will automatically tell you to put your first 10 points into vitality but I really don't think that's necessary unless you are just starting out, as I said above. If you don't mind dying a little bit you'll get longer chains and do more damage if you put every point into intelligence. The only problem about climbing with 20 vitality is that by level 64 you have around 1300 life if I remember correctly, and I've gotten critted for more than that in wells before. So for the past couple climbs I've put the first 5 into vitality and the rest into intelligence and that's been working out quite well.
But no matter how many you put into vitality into the beginning every point after that needs to go into intelligence. And you can't let stat points build up like in D2 because you'll lose from your overall mana pool at higher levels, so be sure to put out your fresh stat point every level.
To sum it up:
When I did my first 10 into vitality I would often find myself running out of mana in wells and having to run away. When I put my first 10 points into intelligence I got longer chains, more damage, and faster levels but died a bit too often from critical hits. When I did 5 vitality and 5 intelligence I found a pretty good balance - so I'd suggest either doing full intelligence or 5 vitality and the rest intelligence, unless you're new of course.3. How to Level and What Gear to Use
This is probably the part where I'll have people arguing with me the most - so I'll just tell you how I like to do it and you can argue with me if you want.
I melee my mage from 1 - 15 and then at some point between 15 and 20 I go from melee to casting. I've found that this is the most effective way to get fast levels, even if you need to regen a bit more than if you were to melee longer.Level 1 - 5
Weapon: Tier III Dagger/Staff with 40+ EE (I prefer daggers for consistency)
Armour: Robe with 150+ Max Life (I use my max life robe until around level 20). Some people like using strength robes at low levels but I don't think that it's necessary.
Charm: Not necessary, but life per kill/attack is very helpful at low levels.Level 5 - 10
Weapon: Tier IV Dagger/Staff with 50+ EE
Charm: Either keep with LPA/LPK or get a heal charm (tier IV with 40+ EE)Level 10 - 15
Weapon: Tier V Dagger/Staff with 60+ EE
Charm: If you've been using a LPA/LPK or strength charm (also an option) I'd switch over to healing now; a Tier V Heal Charm with 50+ EE should do the trick.
Around level 10 or 15 you're going to want to think about buying mana regen gear unless you want to wait days for your mana to regen. It's not that important to upgrade your mana regen gear - I have a set which is wearable between levels 10 and 30 which is between 8 and 10 mana regen and then after that I upgrade to my final 13 - 15 mana regen gear. But more is always better of course.Level 15 - 20
Here is usually where I switch over to full casting. If you want to stay melee you can just keep going with the same trend of EE weapons and heal charms. If not, this is what I use:
Weapon: 20+ Intelligence Dagger/Staff (I usually upgrade this once more before I hit level 55)
Main Charm: Attack Charm (doesn't matter what type) with 60+ EE
Acc Charm: Heal Charm (doesn't matter but I prefer Focused and would never use Wild) with 50+ EE
There is a period of time where I cast and melee at the same time - meaning that I attack with my charm all the time unless the monster just has a sliver of life left and I don't want to waste a whole cast on it then I'll switch over to my EE dagger for 1 hit. But by 20 or 25 I've switched out my EE weapon for an Intelligence weapon and just cast the whole way.Level 20 - 25
Weapon: Likely the same one
Armour: 20+ Intelligence Robe (Padded helps!)
Main Charm: Same kind of charm with similar or higher EE
Acc Charm: Same idea as Main CharmLevel 25 - 30
Weapon: Somewhere between here and 55 you should try to upgrade to a weapon with 30 or more intelligence to take you to 71
Armour: Same idea as Weapon
Main Charm: Keep with the same type of charm and try to continue getting ones with higher EE either 5 or 10 levels apart
Acc Charm: Same idea as Main Charm - though I find that I usually don't need to upgrade my heal charm as muchLevel 30+
By now you should be noticing a pattern I hope... Keep in mind that it's not necessary to upgrade your charms every 5 levels if you can't afford it - on my first casting climb I had level 15, 30, 45 and 55 attack charms and even less heals. But if you can afford it - I'd suggest upgrading whenever you can.
For your weapon and robe - I have just two sets of them. One for low levels and one for high levels. Both just have the highest intelligence I can afford. I wouldn't go all out when spending on these as they aren't as important as the charms. Some secondary mods which can be really nice are Mind Numb, Mana Skin and Heal Mastery.
For your charms - aim to gradually increase the enhanced effect on your charms to try to hit around 100 on your level 55 charms (more is always better - and if you can't afford it then just make do with what you have).
Keep in mind that each tier is separated in effectiveness of enhanced effect by around 20 - 25%. That's just a confusing way of saying that an 80% EE level 15 charm is just as effective as a 55% EE level 20 charm - and the level 15 one would cost less mana. So you should try to keep in mind how effective your current charm is versus your new charm - because sometimes it's not worth it to upgrade. If you're interested in reading about the enhanced effect comparison guide you can check that out here
To be able to successfully well you'll need at least the following stats on your gear:
Weapon: 30+ Intelligence
Robe: 30+ Intelligence
Attack: 100+ EE XIV
Heal: 110+ EE XIV
With that setup there you'd probably get a good 75% success or so. If you got a 120+ EE attack charm and 140+ EE heal charm you'd probably bump that up to 85% or 90%
I've found that paying for a good heal is damn worth it, because they totally save your ass when you're deep in a well. Which brings me to my next topic: Welling Strategy.
If you PM me at any given time I can tell you what welling gear I'm using and what my success rate is - but I'm not going to post it here because I'm always upgrading it.4. Welling Strategy and Charm Choice
A good welling success rate isn't all about your gear - just mostly. There is a certain strategy behind it: and I'll explain to you how I do it.
I don't even look at the life bar of the monster except for the first couple hits. I can usually tell by the 3rd or 4th hit if I'll succeed or not just by seeing how much my mana pool goes down vs. how much the enemies life goes down. After that I just watch my life and mana bars and switch to my heal as soon as I get below 2/3 (it was even less when I used a worse heal charm). So basically you'll find yourself switching back and forth a lot between your attack and heal charms - almost every other hit sometimes. But that's what it takes - because you'll be thankful when you get hit for 1.2k and then are actually able to recover. It's all about keeping your life as high as possible because you can always get hit for some insane amount that you wouldn't expect.
Some people like to argue for days about what the best level to well at is. I say that it really doesn't matter, but I prefer to start welling at 64 (because that's the first level where you can get level 55 items as secondary drops) and then just well all the way until 71. Then you can just MQ and climb again, collecting whites along the way and sending them to a mule or into the vault. I like doing it that way because I always make some nice FG by the time I'm ready to MQ.
I guess I'll just briefly talk about different types of charms in this section. Charm use is all about preference. Some people like to hit really really high but also hit really really low (lightning, wind and wild heal) but other people love consistency (ice, earth, focused heal). There is also a medium range (fire and regular heal) which is in the middle of the extremes. You'll find that the consistent charms are more expensive than the varying ones - ice and focused heal charms being the most expensive and wind and wild heals being the least expensive. Personally I love the consistent charms (but ice is too expensive for me) so I use earth and focused heals. Earth is nice because it hits high sometimes but you usually know about what it'll hit for - though sometimes you can be surprised. Focused heals are amazing because you always know almost exactly what it'll do. It makes welling really easy because I just wait until my health is slightly lower than how much one cast will heal me then I switch to my heal charm for 1 shot and then switch back. I couldn't imagine welling with a wild heal - it just seems too out of control to me. When I get a critical hit for 7/8ths of my remaining life I want to know that I can get my health back to full in just a couple heals. Getting caught in a "heal trap" is one of the best ways to fail a well. When a monster keeps getting in critical hits over and over and you can't heal yourself well enough to recover - and if you stop healing for the one second it would take to hit Run Away then you will surely die. That's a terrible feeling, which is why I focus more on upgrading my heal charm in comparison to my attack charm.5. Conclusion
I know that I've left stuff out - partially because lots of it is covered in other guides and I also forgot a bit I'm sure - but I hope that this helps some people with their magicians. I feel that this is by far the best way to go about making easy forum gold in ladder slasher because even when the items are crap you can still sell them (most the time - except like medium armour and stuff that no one wants). I usually make anywhere from 300 fg to 1k per climb just in mutables that I find along the way.
So yeah - I hope this has been some help to some people somewhere, and if you have any questions feel free to post them here or PM me.