Sunday 25 December 2022

Titan Quest Anniversary - RUNES Mastery Guide for Beginners

 This guide also exists on video, if you'd like to watch it, please CLICK ME!

We can assign this skill to both Left or Right mouse buttons. It can be used as a default weapon attack with all types of weapons except for the Staff type. Staff is not compatible because if it was then the balance of the game would've been broken for good. Every level up to this skill provides one more Charge level and increases the stats that this skill affects.

This is a great skill that helps the player to increase their Total Damage, Elemental Damage and Intelligence during combat. The numbers that we see on the skill are the highest numbers that we can get for that level of the skill, they are not numbers per charge of the skill, for example if the skill is at level 10, then it has 10 Charge levels and the numbers      are +25% Elemental Damages, Total damage and +100% Intelligence. So, if you attack 10 times then you have 10 Charge levels so now you reach and benefit from these numbers, if you attack an 11th time, it still counts as 10 Charge levels so the numbers will not go up.

This is one of the best default weapon attack skills in the game and if you play with Runes mastery and want to use your weapon as your main source of damage, then make sure to max it out. There is also a synergy between this skill and other skills/spells or attacks in general. If you charge up this skill and then use another spell or attack then that attack will deal even more damage, especially if that attack is of Elemental/Vitality type of damage because it will benefit from the upgraded stats that this skill provides! If you want to see examples of such synergies, take a look at my build guides DragonBorn, Berserker and more.

2. Magical Charge
This addon will provide flat elemental damage to your weapon attacks and make them more powerful. The great thing is that it also provides Elemental Retaliation which means that enemies that attack you with melee attacks, will receive this amount of retaliation as damage, so it helps passively to finish off enemies faster. It is one of the skills that i would max out if i wanted to use it. This retaliation effect is active only while you are charged up by attacking with Rune weapon though, it is not always active.

3. Energy Drain
This addon is great because it can give you back energy that you leech from your enemies but they need to have energy bars on them, also it reduces the offensive ability of enemies which is good especially if your Defensive ability is not very good because reducing their offensive ability means that you reduce the chances for their melee attacks to hit you or even to deal critical damage to you.

This addon also slows enemies down and provides the Attack damage converted to health stat, this one means that when you attack with weapon attacks only (or skills that utilize weapons such as Rune Weapon, Onslaught e.t.c.) a portion of your attack damage will come back to you as health. So, if your attacks are super powerful, you will get back much more health per attack. This stat can also stack with the same stat that comes from other skills and items!

4. Transmutation
This is a converter from Physical type of damage to Elemental. It converts only the base weapon damage and it doesn't take into account any sources that increase the base weapon damage such as Strength attribute or Total Damage e.t.c. When it converts to elemental, you get all 3 types of Elemental damage, Fire, Cold and Lightning. 

The skill at maximum level 10/6 will provide 99% conversion but if you wanted to get 100% you could do it by using some items that provide the same stat, you could combine an item that provides 50% conversion with this skill at level 6/6 that provides 63% and you would get 100% conversion. It works up to 100% even if you have 120% from different sources. 

If you are playing a build which is heavily based on elemental damage with weapon attacks and your main weapon has got a very high amount of base weapon damage, then using this conversion would increase your damage and dps very much.

5. Sacred Rage
This passive skill can save your life! It remains active if you can keep your health below 40%. Of course as a new player, it's not a good idea to try to do that but it could be interesting to use this mechanic on some advanced builds. The skill triggers if your health goes below this threshold and it lasts for 10 seconds, this duration is fixed and doesn't go up by level. All stats have fixed numbers and won't go up except for the Energy regeneration, Total Speed and - Recharge. The skill is very good to keep you alive in case you are getting closer to death and to give you a chance to retreat and heal your self up if needed.

The %Damage Absorption will reduce all types of incoming damage and the Total Speed buff will increase your Movement, Casting and Attacking speed equally. This skill is great if you wish to play deathless and in general it is a good idea to spend at least one point so that you benefit as you level up new characters.

6. Frightening Power
To use this skill, you need to have spent at least on point on Sacred Rage as it is an addon to that one. This one has a radius of effect which is a fixed number and will not go up by level. When your Sacred Rage triggers, now will also deal these stats to the enemies that it hits inside this radius of 10 meters. 

The % Reduction to Enemy's Health will reduce the health of enemies based on their current health bar, not on the maximum, the Reduced Damage will make the enemy deal less damage to you and it works with all main types of damage and it will also cause the Fear effect on them, so now they will try to run away from you. So, this addon is great because now, Sacred Rage gives you a 2nd chance in life but at the same time it debuffs enemies and makes their life harder! You should definitely spend at least one point to this addon as you level up new characters, it will help!

7. Reckless Offense
This is a passive skill which allows and requires dual wielding. This means that if you spend at least one point here you will be able to dual wield melee or thrown weapons. You can not dual wield one melee along with a thrown weapon in this game. It requires dual wielding for this chance to be used to actually work. When this skill triggers, your attacks will have this buff on so they will be more powerful. 

A thing to remember in this game is that when it comes to proc skills, if proc skills have their own animations then they can not trigger at the same time when another proc skill triggers. So, for example, in the case of Rune mastery alone, Runeword Explode skill will never trigger when Reckless Offense triggers because both proc skills have their one animations. If a skill doesn't have an animation then it can work at the same time with a proc skill. 

 Reckless Offense can be very powerful at later stages but as you level up, it is better to only spend a few points in the beginning and focus on more important skills for your build. Another detail: There is an item in the game which provides the Reckless Offense skill, that version of the skill does NOT allow dual wielding.

8. Energy Armor
This is a skill that provides lots of survivability to those who use it. It has a meter radius which makes all pets and allies of yours to receive this skill when you cast it on yourself. The radius will not increase by level ups, it is a fixed number. Also the stun resistance is a fixed number and won't go up. The 2 stats that increase are the energy cost and the damage absorption.
This absorption is a flat number and works in a peculiar way. If you cast it on your character and receive some damage of these 3 types that we see in the description of the skill, then it will absorb a flat number of damage. 

For example if you get 200 absorption by the skill and an enemy deals 100 physical damage at you, you will absorb the 100 damage but your absorption capability now of your current energy armor skill on you, will be 100. Now, if you click and reactivate the skill on you, your energy armor will remain the same 100, it will not be refreshed to 200! This means that you need to wait until the full amount of your Energy Armor's skill has been used before you cast it again on you. Of course if you play with pets or allies and their Energy Armor has totally depleted, then it makes sense to trigger it again so that at least they can benefit from it. 

The bad thing about this skill is that it is very expensive to energy and if you want to trully take advantage of it you will need the stat -% Energy Cost and lots of energy points and Energy regeneration. But, it is very good for tanky characters if you have enough energy to pay for it.

9. Runeword Feather
This is one more skill that we activate on our characters and stays active for a period of time, so we will have to reactivate it later again. It provides only Offensive ability and Strength reduction to requirements for weapons to be equipped. Remember that Shields are also weapons in this game.

 This skill is great in case you want to play some more hybrid or experimental builds and you need more Offensive ability and the chance to equip higher quality melee weapons and shields. It will also make leveling up easier to beginners as it will allow them to equip better weapons sooner and with increased Offensive ability to perform a bit better. Offensive ability works in comparison to Defensive ability of enemies and vice versa so if you have much higher OA than your enemies DA, then you deal critical damage to them. Critical damage works only with melee attacks and only with the types of Physical and Pierce damage, other types of damage do not crit.

If you want to level up a melee build, especially of the more experimental type, then you need to max out this one in Normal difficulty. You could also max it out in the first 5 levels of your character and then forget about it.

10. Runeword Explode
This is a proc skill. Proc skills are those that usually are triggered randomly when you attack enemies or getting attacked. It starts with a very low chance to be used but at level 10 it reaches 20% and at maximum level 14/10 it gets up to 27%. This works only with weapon attacks, not with spells like Squall or Seal of Fate e.t.c. but if you use a skill that utilizes weapons directly like Onslaught, it will work with that.

So, it goes boom and it deals some Damage which is physical and Fire damage too. It can also stun enemies for a tiny amount of time. The Arc of attack, Meter Radius and Stun effect are fixed and will not change by level. The skill will hit multiple enemies and will turn your weapon attacks to small AoE attacks which means Area of Effect. It's a very usefull skill and nice to include in your build if you attack mainly with weapons. Just, try to use it with bows, especially later in the game, it is an awesome skill!

11. Runeword Burn
This is an addon to the Explode skill, so it requires at least one point on that one. It will only add the Burn damage to the weapon attacks of yours. If you use a ranged weapon then your projectiles can release fragments that will apply the burn effect to multiple enemies with this Radius. If you use melee weapons, you will still apply the Burn effect when the skill triggers. 

This skill adds a nice effect to your character but it is not really that helpful, it would be better to spend your points on more important skills as you level up, or spend a point in Normal difficulty to be able to watch the effect happening and move on. Endgame builds could benefit from it but this is another story for some other time.

12. Runeword Absorb
This is a passive skill and it is always active on your characters. It works only when you use a shield or a staff and it is really helpful if you play a build that needs lots of energy. The -% Shield Recovery Time stat reduces the cooldown of the block capability of the shield. Some shields have 2 seconds of cooldown until they can block again, other shields have 2.5 or 3 seconds, maybe even 3.5 seconds maximum.

You can reduce the shield recovery time up to 90% by using skills and items, this skill alone can reduce it by -67% at maximum level 12/8 so it can be really helpful with your survivability.
 The Absorption of Spell Energy means that if an enemy attacks you with a skill that cost them energy, this amount of the energy they spent on casting the skill, will be transferred to your energy bar, so it will give you back energy, we could say that this is one more form of energy leech.

Finaly, the flat Energy Leech Retaliation will give you energy if the enemy that attacks with melee attacks, has an energy bar. Overall, this skill is great for survivability with a shield and for getting free energy from your enemies and casting more skills/spells against them.

13. Rune Storm
This is a spell that circles around the player and deals damage to a radius of effect. This radius increases by leveling up the skill. It deals physical damage and there is this chance for one of the following effects. This means that there is an equal chance for all the effects that you see under  this stat, to trigger. If it is 4 effects then each one has a chance of 25%, in other cases on items/skills you'll find the same chance for one of the following stat providing 3 effects or 2 effects, they always have an equal chance to trigger. If you find the stat "% Chance of:" this means that all effects under this one will trigger together.

So, for this skill, there is the chance to Stun enemies, cause Fear to them so they will start running away, Confuse them so they will start attacking the air or their allies or Skill Disruption which means that for some time they won't be able to cast their skills/spells on you. Lastly, there is the Elemental Retaliation effect, this one triggers only to enemies that attack with melee attacks and deals this number of Elemental damage. Flat numbers of Elemental always deal all 3 types of Elemental damage divided equally, so if you have 30 Elemental then it deals 10 Cold, 10 Fire, 10 Lightning. 

This skill is good to have as an extra skill, but it is not one to make builds around, it's mostly of a secondary importance skill and it also has a long cooldown of 2 minutes. If you have points to spare, use it but you won't get good results unless you max it out.

14. Thunder Strike
This is an attack skill, one of the most powerful skills in the whole game! The chance to pass through enemies means that it can hit enemies beyond the first ones so it can be even more efficient some times. The skill deals Lightning damage and it has the Total Damage buff which increases all main types of damage so, if for example, you use a weapon that deals physical and fire damage with this skill, then your Thunder Strike will apply the Physical and Fire damage of the weapon itself to all enemies hit including the Lightning damage of the skill and of course all these types of damage will be boosted by the Total Damage here.

Thankfully, the Total Damage effect goes up by level, the only other stat that goes up by level, is the Stun effect of the skill and of course the Energy Cost, every other stat is fixed. The skill Releases 5 projectiles when you use ranged weapons such as Staves, Bows, Thrown weapons but if you Dual Wield Thrown weapons then it releases 10 projectiles and becomes super deadly! Also, when you use it with melee weapons, it hits 5 enemies instead of one and if you have 2 weapons equipped, it will still hit up to 5 enemies because of the limitation of the 250 Arc of Attack of the skill.

The other great thing about it is that it's a Movement Speed skill, so if you use it on enemies at a distance, it will make your character run close to the enemies and use the skill when they are in the range of the attack. This skill is awesome and you should use it if you play with weapons.

15. Unleash
This addon has a 5 Meter Radius of effect which means that all enemies inside this radius will be affected. It will apply Electrical Burn damage which is the Lightning over time damage, it will Disrupt their skills for 1 second so that they won't be able to cast any skills on you and it might Confuse them which means they would start attacking anywhere but your character. 

This is a Crowd control effect that deals some damage as well and it can help mostly with your survivability. It is a good idea to max it out if your build is using Thunder Strike all the time in Endgame. Also, it's a good idea to invest on it if you want to play deathless or to level up safer. By the way, the Total Damage buff of Thunder Strike, does NOT affect the Unleash's Lighting damage over time.

16. Seal of Fate
This is a very powerful spell which you put on the ground and after 3 seconds it goes off and deals damage to enemies inside it's radius. It deals mostly Elemental damage and Reduction to enemy's Health. The Flat elemental damage is always all 3 types of Elemental divided by 3, so if you have 300 Elemental damage then it deals 100 Cold, 100 Fire, 100 Lightning. 

This spell can be very powerful if you take it to high levels, if you want to play a caster build that is based around Intelligence attribute and Elemental damage then this one is one of the top skills. Of course it is very good also for leveling up, so make sure to invest in this one. Btw, Devices is one more Race of enemies ingame, they will receive double damage from this skill.

17. Aftershock
This addon will add more negative effects to enemies hit by it. They will receive Bleeding damage over time which is not the most efficient type of damage in the game, Reduced Armor and Reduced Resistances. The Reduced Armor effect means that now they will receive more physical damage by your attacks or by the attacks of allies/pets if you have any with you. 

Reduction to Resistances means that they will receive more damage from all main types of damage, so now they become weak and easier to kill. These 3 effects are the only ones that go up by level and they can be of great help to you if you play a caster with Seal of Fate. Especially the Reduced Resistances and Reduced armor, but even the flat Bleeding can help a bit since it scales with Dexterity attribute which you will probably increase a bit to get some Defensive ability.

 The other 3 effects of the addon are also very good and they can help mostly with your survivability, you slow them down, disrupt their skill for about 4 seconds and cause their projectiles to miss their target which happens to be you! Seal of Fate fully developed with this addon, is super powerful, just use it!

18. Runic Mines
This one is a spell that deals flat elemental damage. You put 5 runes surrounding on the ground and when enemies step on them, they go off dealing damage. Of course the damage scales with Intelligence so it deals more than this numbers of the skill. Leveling up the skill, will increase the damage up to 195 at maximum 14/10 level. The duration of the skill is fixed and it counts the period of time the runes will stay on the ground before they disappear.

19. Freezing Mines
The 1st addon will add some cold damage over time to the base skill and a chance to Freeze enemies. But even if this effect won't trigger because you will not be lucky enough, they will still get slowed for 3 seconds so things will be better to you. Imagine the enemy stepping on a mine, receiving damage, getting damage over time on them and still trying to come to you but now they move slower, it is very helpful to survive better and attack again before they can attack you. Also, let's not forget, if they become Frozen and you kill them, they will break down to multiple ice cubes, one of my favorite effects in this game!

20. Rune Field
This addon is probably the most fun addon of the whole game as it adds many projectiles and also increases the duration of those staying on the ground! At level 1 it adds 1 projectile but at level 12/12 your Runic Mines spell will add a total of 24 projectiles, which is a whole mine field around your legs! Thankfully if you step on your mines, they won't go off, they are your close friends! By the way, at maximum level 16/12 the projectiles go up to 30! Now, that is great fun!

21. Rune of Life
This is a skill which we activate on our characters, on our pets and allies and it stays active for the duration. The duration and movement speed buff of the skill, do not go up by leveling, only the other stats increase. It is a great skill for the 2 resistances that it provides and of course the buff to Strength attribute can be very interesting too. It's one of the skills that you always want to use while leveling up but it is not necessary to max it out in Normal difficulty. You should max it out for Epic and Legendary though where penalties to the Resistances of players apply!

22. Menhir Wall
This skill is one of the greatest skills in the game for keeping your enemies away from your character if you don't have good Armor to withstand the attacks of enemies or good resistances overall. The best way to use it, is when you play with Bows or projectile attacks from a distance because this way, you can put a wall in the path of your enemies, they will be blocked by the wall, they will start attacking it to destroy it and while they are doing that you can shoot them down from a safe distance. It is one of the best defensive skills in the game and you can use it strategically with lots of success. If you want to see an example, check out my build guide video called "The Dragonborn". 

 The Stun retaliation chance means that enemies attacking with melee this wall, will be stunned sometimes. Leveling up the skill, increases only the Health points of the wall.

23. Guardian Stones
This skill counts as a pet. It is linked to Menhir Wall as a requirement for the player to unlock it. If you don't want to use Menhir Wall but you want this skill, then spend only one point to the Wall and the rest to Guardian Stones. If you want you can use both skills, there is no restriction here. 

This skill releases projectiles that hit enemies and deal damage. It can benefit from items that provide Bonus to all pets but only from the +% Elemental Damage stat, the Flat number of damage doesn't work. It has 2 types of attacks, one is the projectile that it releases and hits up to 2 targets and the other which is called Destruction is one passive attack which triggers when one of the 3 stones is destroyed. When this happens, if enemies are within the radius of effect, they get hit by the stats of this skill.

Leveling up the skill, will not change the number of affected targets, it will always be at 2 targets. The skill also has a very long cooldown period so to get the most out of it, you need to max out your Reduction to cooldown which in this game is called -Recharge and it caps out at 80%. With maximum Recharge reduction, it becomes really deadly!

The End (if you enjoy my content, consider Subscribing to my YouTube channel "The Line of Epic Heroes" for infinite Titan Quest plus other games too, content! Thank you)

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