Nature Magic Specialization Guide - Dungeon Siege 2
Nature Mages are the healers and support builds of Dungeon Siege 2 but you can also specialize them to deal Ice or regular Magic damage (sometimes called Nature damage). I strongly recommend you have at least one Nature Mage on your team or a Fist of Stone character who specializes a little bit into the healing skills of Nature Magic.
For a support/healer build you will want to get a Summoned Pet early on and focus heavily on the Summon Fortitude, Summon Might and Summon Bond abilities. I'd also recommend you pick an Embrace/Wrath buff to use and dump points into the ability that increases how powerful it is. Spirit Embrace is what I typically use on my Nature Mage since it is a universally useful spell.
There are a few different ways you can play a Nature Mage, I have broken down a few of my favorite play styles below to give you an idea of builds you can do.
Healing Nature Mage: As the name implies, this is a build that is focused primarily on being a healer and supporting your allies. Invulnerability is my favorite Power for this build and I like to get a Summoned Pet both for the Summoned Bond skill as well as the extra damage. As aforementioned I usually use Spirit Embrace on this character so I also dump a lot of points into Enveloping Embrace.
DPS Nature Mage: For the most part this build is going to be focusing entirely on dealing damage. Ice is good if you want lower damage but some CC in the form of freezing enemies. Nature/magic is the best route if you want pure damage.
Support Nature Mage: This character is designed to be a jack of all trades and master of none. Essentially this character will be used as a buffer - either Wrath or Embrace works fine along with spot heals and a little bit of damage too. I'd recommend using a Summoned Pet of some sort with this build too as it'll buff the overall damage of your character.
Nature Mages will have two lines of magic which they can use - ice and.... magic? Sometimes their second type of magic is called 'Nature Damage' but other times it has no description whatsoever in the game. Spells like Grasping Vines and Ripple deal 'Nature Damage' and are the two best non-ice spells that you can use on your mage.
Many of your best Powers will require you to put Skill Points into your ice specialization but I would actually recommend you avoid using ice spells. Most ice spells deal less damage than the nature ones but once you get higher level and put points into Freezing (Skill) your ice spells will freeze targets as well. This will make up for the lack of damage in many cases. Cold Snap, Frost Beam and Encase are decent if you want to go the ice route.
The two best damage dealing spells you can use on a Nature Mage, however, are the aforementioned Ripple and Grasping Vines. Ripple is great AoE damage whereas Grasping Vines is high single target damage. As for your Autocast spells, you'll want an Embrace/Wrath buff in one slot, a Summoned Pet in another and either Nourish or Heal in the third slot.
For the last Autocast slot I recommend the Defender buff if you have the Broken World Expansion Pack. This is a Nature/Melee buff that will give you a bonus of 12% armor; since you won't be using melee attacks you won't have to worry about it splitting your EXP either!
Another alternative is Repulsion which is a Combat/Ranged Weapon Enhancement (also Broken World) but it will require you to be in Veteran/Elite difficulty and Multi-classed enough to use the spell. It boosts your armor by even more and provides you with a knock back which is amazing.
Tip: Items like Keh's Rulership (Ring), Endless Memory (Cestus) and Elven Wedding Ring are very powerful for your character. Both of the Rings come with +2 Skills to both Combat and Nature Skills and the Cestus (Weapon) comes with +3 to both. Stacking items like these will allow you to take advantage of strong Combat Mage skills like Summoned Alacrity and Quickened Casting without investing any points into them.
Like usual you're going to figure out which Powers you primarily want to use on your Nature Mage and make sure you get the skills you need to max them out. Icicle Blast is arguably the highest damage Power you can get but it requires you to know which direction your character is facing if you want to properly aim the Power. This may not sound like a big deal but in the middle of combat when you have a party of 4+ characters and a dozen + enemies are fighting you -- you're going to easily lose track of a character or two. For this reason I don't like Icicle Blast.
Aether Blast is the other main damaging Power that you can buy but it requires a Summoned Pet. It causes a smallish explosion around your pet that damages all nearby enemies. For those of you who share my concerns about Icicle Blast or don't plan on being an ice mage anyway, this Power is the best alternative.
There are a couple Powers you'll be able to get as a Nature Mage that do 0 damage but provide utility to you or your group. Gravity Stone is a very useful Power which will help you clump together all of the enemies you're facing making them very easy to AoE down. If you have multiple characters in your group with AoE Powers or AoE spells investing in Gravity Stone may be a very good idea.
Invulnerability is the other non-damage Power that is worth getting and it does exactly what the name implies. Your entire group will become Invulnerable for either 6, 8 or 12 seconds. This is one of the best Powers in the entire game as it can save your ass in a pinch or prevent a lot of incoming damage if you use it at the right time.
For non-damaging Powers you also have Summon Provoke which is essentially a Provoke ability but for your pet. Even if you have max pet skills your pet will probably still get defeated pretty quickly but that's better than your party members taking the damage! If you plan to use a primarily ranged/mage party then I recommend you have at least one character with Summon Provoke.
Last but not least another great Power to get on a Nature Mage is Chant of Stone which is in the Fist of Stone tree. This is one of my favorite Powers in the game because I love being tanky. It's as good for regular enemies as it is for bosses. Typically one of my characters always has this Power in my group since it's useful for basically every single situation.
Aside from the skills in your specialization there are also many other skills worth investing into. Below is a list of every skill in the game that you may want to put points into outside of the Nature Magic tree.
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.
Barricade (Melee Skill): Allows you to equip a shield. You only need a single point into this skill and it is useful on all different builds (except Ranged) if you want to boost your survivability.
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 incoming 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.
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.