Blood Assassin Specialization Guide - Dungeon Siege 2
Blood Assassins are one of the two new skill trees that were added in the Broken World Expansion Pack for Dungeon Siege 2. This skill tree is a combination of Ranged and Combat Magic, the bottom half of the skill tree focuses on the Powers associated with this build and the top half focuses on boosting your ranged damage.
If you don't plan to use Execute, Rune of Blood or Rune of Sacrifice the bottom half of the Blood Assassin skill tree will be almost entirely useless to you. There is an NPC that will let you respec your Skill Points in the Dryad Outpost, the first town in the Broken World expansion. If you want to play around with these abilities make sure you respec when you get the opportunity and focus on the one you want to use the most.
From my experience, Execute is ok and I wasn't a big fan of Rune of Sacrifice. Rune of Blood does a lot of damage and has a big radius but it takes a second for activation and you have to aim it. Ravaging Strike works a lot like Thundering Shot, the Ranged Power, which I would rather use since it doesn't consume health.
Ultimately there are two ways for you to play a Blood Assassin; you'll either be mostly a Ranged class but dumping points into Blood Assassin skills for their ranged damage boosts. Or you'll be a Blood Assassin and will pick up the skills in the bottom half of the skill tree to boost the damage of your Powers.
Blood Assassin Main: Invest in the skills at the bottom of the tree to boost the damage of the Power you want to use. I find that Throwing Weapons work best for Blood Assassins because it spreads around your bleeds and ignites the best. Also if you plan to use Execute, the Throwing Weapon Ricochet ability spreads Mark around way better than Bow/Crossbow.
Blood Assassin Subclass: You can massively boost the amount of damage you deal as a Ranged character if you invest a little bit into the Blood Assassin tree. You will want to get basically every ability at the top of the skill tree and ignore every ability to the right of and below Mark Mastery.
Important: Bleed (Ranged Skill), Shred Blood (Blood Assassin), Ignite Blood (Blood Assassin) all stack together.
The amount of spells you'll be using on your Blood Assassin is very low. I'd recommend you raise your Nature Magic a little bit so you can use Resurrect spells but other than that you won't be using any Active Nature or Combat spells. Corpse Transmutation is really the only Combat Magic spell I would recommend you use for Autocast since it'll boost your Armor by quite a bit.
If you plan to use Execute you'll also want to use a Mark spell which will debuff the enemy and apply a mark on them which you can then activate with the Execute Power. Those of you who don't plan to use Execute will get more out of spells like Repulsion (Armor increase + knock back) or Shade's Agility (flat Dexterity increase) instead.
Depending on whether or not you have a Combat Mage in your group too, you may want to use Drown which is a Combat Magic Curse that has a decent DoT as well as decreases the Lightning and Ice resists of the target. Summoned Pets as well as an Embrace/Wrath buff are always options too if you'd like to go down that road on your Blood Assassin.
When playing a Blood Assassin the first decision you'll have to make is whether or not you want to use the Powers in the Blood Assassin specialization or the Powers in Ranged. As far as the Blood Assassin Powers go, Execute and Rune of Blood are the two I like the most... However to get either of these Powers you'll have to invest in some skills that do not serve much use outside of buffing these Powers.
I used Execute for most of the game alongside Mark of the Harvest but during Elite I switched over to Rune of Blood since it does significantly more damage. The primary Power I would recommend to you in the Ranged tree is Charged Shots if you plan to use a Bow or Crossbow. It is good for both AoE and single target damage.
Throwing Weapons you'll want to use either Shrapnel Blast or Flurry depending on the situation. Shrapnel Blast is great AoE damage and Flurry is more geared towards single target DPS, like for bosses. I've said this a few times prior but it is worth repeating, if you plan to be a Blood Assassin I think that Throwing Weapons are better suited to this play style than a Bow or Crossbow.
Execute will only deal damage to the targets you've marked and a target will only become marked if you hit them. For this reason, Ricochet and Penetrate will dramatically boost the damage of your Execute Power since more targets will get marked from your attacks.
Aside from the skills in Ranged and Blood Assassin that boost your damage you'll also want to get a variety of skills from other trees that will boost your survivability. You should also figure out if you'd like to use a Summoned Pet or if you're interested in using an Embrace/Wrath buff on this character.
Below I have compiled a list of every other skill in the game that you could want to invest points into.
General Purpose Skills:
Fortitude (Melee Skill): Increases your total health. This is a must have for basically all characters, it also leads to an important skill too.
Toughness (Melee Skill): Decreases Physical Damage taken. Equally important for casters and tanks as it'll make everyone in your group less squishy.
Reinforced Armor (Melee Skill): The more armor you have the more you'll benefit, definitely a useful skill for everyone though. Getting this skill requires you to get Barricade which will allow every character in your group to use a shield if you'd like to. Some 2h weapons grant a lot of damage boosts to casters but using a shield and a 1h for defensive purposes will allow you to spend more points on DPS Skills, if you want that trade off.
Dodge (Ranged Skill): Gives you a flat chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks. I usually put about 5 points into this skill on each character by the end of Mercenary difficulty; I am someone who really likes tanky characters and this ability is a great boost to survivability.
Survival (Ranged Skill): Increases your Fire, Ice and Lightning Resistances as well as gives you the ability to harvest Health Potions. Much like with Dodge I find the survivability this grants to be very important and put at least 5 points into it by the end of Mercenary.
Brilliance (Combat Magic Skill): Flat % increase to your mana pool. Both DPS casters and healers will want to invest points into this
Natural Bond (Nature Magic Skill): Decreases the mana cost of spells by a flat % as well as letting you harvest Mana Potions from bushes. Again, both DPS and healers are going to want to invest into this since it works for all spells.
Chant of Stone (Fist of Stone Skill): This ability will give you a boost to Armor and Health depending on how much Intelligence you have. You'll find this skill most useful for casters because they stack Intelligence. I have more Armor on Finala (my Combat Mage) than on my tank because of this ability as well as Corpse Transmutation and Repulsion.
If you decide to use a pet:
Summon Fortitude (Nature Magic Skill): Increases the health of your Summoned Pets. Usually I put 3 - 5 points into this skill and that's it. Diminishing returns start to kick in the higher you go.
Summon Might (Nature Magic Skill): Increases the damage of your Summoned Pets. This skill is very important for increasing your pet's damage I put about 10 points into it (to give 100% bonus damage).
Summon Bond (Nature Magic Skill): Shares incomming damage with your Summoned Pets. As a caster I typically put 5 - 10 points into this ability to boost my survivability. Melee, Fist of Stone or a Tank I often put 1 or 2 points into it and that's it.
Summon Alacrity (Combat Magic Skill): Will increase the attack speed of Summoned Pets, giving you a minor DPS boost.
If this character is using a Wrath/Embrace buff:
Enveloping Embrace (Nature Magic Skill): Will increase the power of any Embrace buffs that this character is using. You can use 1 Embrace and 1 Wrath spell on your group; only get these skills on the characters who are using the buff. They're a complete waste on any of your other characters.
Feral Wrath (Nature Magic Skill): Will increase the power of any Wrath buffs that this character is using. You can use 1 Embrace and 1 Wrath spell on your group; only get these skills on the characters who are using the buff. They're a complete waste on any of your other characters.