TSW Leeching Beginner’s Guide



TSW Leeching Beginner’s Guide by Petri

What This Guide Is NOT:

  • A replacement for the standard of end-game leeching guides, Claretta’s Reaper thread. He’s got the 10.4-10.5 thing covered six ways from Sunday, I can’t see any reason to write a competing thread, but there’s plenty of territory he didn’t cover, so read on
  • A place to debate how to best optimize your dps output as a leecher. That’s really an endgame worry, take it to the Reaper thread, or make your own.
  • A place to snipe at the newbies asking questions and looking for advice. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
  • An appropriate venue for parses, competition, or an attempt to discuss anything other than content that is Noobmare level Nightmare or lower.
  • A soapbox to expound upon the glories of leeching and/or to decry the shortcomings of any other healing format.
  • Pretty much, if you’re gonna come in here and be an asshole, GTFO. We don’t need you in this thread.

What This Guide IS:

  • A place to find recommended ways to balance your gear from Solomon Island through the end of your Elite dungeon running, and some tips and tricks to keep on leeching even in early Nightmares.
  • A place to find suggested decks for all levels, both for dungeon leeching and for solo play through the various missions.
  • A place to learn about the basic concepts of leech healing, and understand why your regular healing gear just won’t cut it.
  • A place to learn about the basic glyph stats required for leech healing, with simple percentages to help you figure out whether that shiny new piece of gear could be useful.
  • A way to learn how you can simultaneously make your leeching gear alongside functional standard healing gear and a regular dps set (Fun Fact: with this setup, you get a head and 2 majors for your dps set, and all your minors for your regular healing set, and only have to worry about one custom healing tali with hit on it. Neat, huh?)
  • A place to find a list of endgame dropped gear that you can use for a starter set while you’re getting the bullion to make your customs.
  • A place to ask questions and get help with any leeching-related difficulties you may have.

An Introduction
Leech healing is versatile. Leech healing is fun. Leech healing allows you to bring more utility to nearly every setting than any other role in the game. There are many misconceptions about leeching, though, and that’s why we’ll start with the basics.

I started out in Kingsmouth with an Assault Rifle and a Blood Magic Focus, and used some of the same skills from Solomon Island all the way up through Carpathian Fangs in Transylvania. I made some really big mistakes in the beginning (like gearing according to Dulfy’s guides, which we now know to be less than helpful for actual leeching), and I died a lot. But I learned as I went, and when the newbies in my cabal started asking questions about beginning leeching, I set them up with some simple survivability builds, and they did great (more because they’re awesome than due to my advice, I’m sure  but I think I helped them avoid a few deaths ). If you want some great versatility and extra healing options (and easy access to some passives that will *really* help with leeching), Blood is a great offhand choice.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t other great choices to be found! For basic weapon synergy, you could try a burst build and pair your AR with Chaos or Fists, thereby covering ranged and melee options. You could try frenzy and use Chaos or Blade (don’t forget to slot the passive Leeching Frenzy) and mow through huge swathes of zombies, cultists, and vampires. Really, any offhand you care to pick, you can find a way to make it work, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re an idiot. Some work better together than others, but literallyany combination of weapons can be made to work together for soloing with the right deck and gear.

That said, my soloing and dungeon decks listed in this thread are going to be AR/Blood. If you want to tinker around with another offhand, be my guest! Just make sure you have all the leeching-related Actives and Passives (don’t worry, they’ll be marked).

Dungeons

Dungeons, the heart and soul of modern MMORPGs, often the only content that really lets the second M shine through. Like most MMORPGs, the 5-member team consisting of 1 tank, 1 healer, and 3 DPS is what you’ll see most often here. As the healer, it’s your job to make sure that (first and foremost) you stay alive, because you need to be there to (secondly) keep the tank alive, and all-in-all it’s nice to keep your DPS alive as well (but as a leecher, you’re helping with the overall team DPS, so that one DPS that keeps on standing in the AoEs just might be expendable…you know the one). Here’s what you need to know about leech healing in dungeons.

Heal Rating
Healing is about heal rating, right? The more you have, the better and the only thing you might ever need is a bit of hp for survivability. This concept works wonderfully for both fist and blood healers, but is *dead wrong* when it comes to leeching. For leeching, you will do the best possible healing when your Heal Rating is EQUAL to your Attack Rating. That’s right: no weird math, nothing hard to calculate. A 1:1 ratio of heal rating and attack rating will always give you the best results for healing (i.e. dungeons).

Leeching takes a percentage of the damage that you deal and returns it to whoever you’re healing. That’s why it’s called leeching! Think of a leech, clinging to your skin, sucking the blood out of you. It damages you for X amount, and Y % of that damage is life-sustaining to the leech. Gruesome? I don’t care, I just made you remember.

Crit Rating and Crit Power!
Healing is maximized by making the most of your crits, right? Well, this one’s just like Heal Rating, so I’ll let you answer it for yourself. But which stats should I be focusing on? you may ask. Well, the same stats as a DPS! is the short answer. Hit rating is always your #1 priority, because if you can’t hit, you glance, and glancing shots do so little damage that your healing will, of course, be proportionately pitiful.

That doesn’t mean it’s the stat you want the most points in at any given time: that place goes to penetration rating. After a certain point, you’ll notice you don’t get blocked, and, in fact, you get a lot of penetrating hits. Since penetrating hits do more damage than critical hits, you get more healing from pen than crit rating. How can you make those crits you *do* get work harder for ya? Crit. Power. Which leaves Crit rating as the last, lonely stat you may occasionally deign to spend points on: often the (erroneously chosen) main stat for regular healers, this one is so useless for leechers that you could, conceivably, leave it off your gear entirely.

Here’s the breakdown by percentage (with fractional options for those so inclined):
Hit Rating 33% 1/3
Penetration Rating 40% 2/5
Crit Power Rating 18% 9/50
Crit Chance Rating 9% 9/100

Another, possibly easier way to remember Crit Power and Crit: Of the remaining stat pool after you have allocated hit and pen, 2/3 are Crit Power and 1/3 is Crit. Or: If your Crit is more than half of your Crit Power, UR DOIN IT RONG.

Here are some examples, always rounding down Crit to achieve an even total:

300 Total stat pool
Hit : 300 x .33 = 100
Pen : 300 x .40 = 120
C P : 300 x .18 = 54
Crit: 300 x .09 = 26

900 Total stat pool
Hit : 900 x .33 = 300
Pen : 900 x .40 = 360
C P : 900 x .18 = 160
Crit: 900 x .09 = 80

1500 Total stat pool
Hit : 1500 x .33 = 500
Pen : 1500 x .40 = 600
C P : 1500 x .18 = 267
Crit: 1500 x .09 = 133

Your endgame stat pool with 10.4 glyphs will be roughly 2000, so
Hit : 2000 x .33 = 660
Pen : 2000 x .40 = 800
C P : 2000 x .18 = 360
Crit: 2000 x .09 = 180
For more information on tweaking at this point, go to the Reaper thread.

Also, keep in mind that these are general guidelines. If your hit winds up being closer to 35%, or your crit winds up being 10%, it’s not going to matter that much. You’re shooting for ballpark stats. If it makes it easier to forget about crit entirely, that’s fine until endgame (Nightmares), and it’ll give you more wiggle room for the other 3. As always, tweak as needed: if you’re glancing too much (and not in a dungeon where you should have slotted Fever Pitch, like HR), look for some more hit.

Dungeon Decks

Leeching abilities are marked with an asterisk (*), so feel free to substitute other things for those without an asterisk if you prefer a different offhand weapon!

Beginner
Cost: 84 AP
Actives
Energise*
Anima Shot*
Lock & Load*
Blood Shield
Angelic Aegis
Shot of Anima*
3 Round Burst

Passives
Eagle Eye*
Anima Boost*
Leech Therapy*
Extra Clip*
Rapid Shield
Angel’s Touch
Experience*

Please note: This deck will work better leaned a bit toward heal rating, as it relies on Shot of Anima and uses these blood shields as filler to keep the heals up. I wouldn’t go past a 2/3 heal rating 1/3 attack rating split, and I think it will function best around 60% heal rating/40% attack rating, but you’re going to have to experiment.

Intermediate
Cost: 194 AP
Actives
Energise*
Anima Shot*
Lock & Load*
Blood Shield
Angelic Aegis
Transfuse Anima*
3 Round Burst

Passives
Eagle Eye*
Anima Boost*
Leech Therapy*
Extra Clip*
Rapid Shield
Shadow Medic*
Experience*

Note: you think it looks very similar to the beginner one? Only one active and one passive are changed. Why the insane AP cost? It’s funny, but the only place you have to go sink your AP in is the Squad Duty tree. However, this will enable you to begin using the 50/50 split for heal and attack rating, so it’s well worth it. You’ll keep using both of these skills all the way through the end-game.

Elites
Cost: 282 AP
Actives
Energise*
Anima Shot*
Lock & Load*
Platoon
Blood Shield
Transfuse Anima*
3 Round Burst

Passives
Eagle Eye*
Anima Boost*
Iron Maiden*
Extra Clip*
Anticoagulant*
Shadow Medic*
Experience*

Again, only 3 skills changed, but a high cost to get there. To access Iron Maiden, you’ll have to fill out the inner ring on Blood (which you may have chosen to do already for your soloing build, so this isn’t necessarily a sacrifice). We’ve added Platoon as a group heal (works out of combat, too!) and dropped Angelic Aegis (which, let’s be honest, was a placeholder). The only non-AR active you now have is Blood Shield, so that you’ve still got a way to top up the tank out-of-combat (albeit a slow one, since you’re only 50% heal rating). Now you’ll be applying your own afflict, to guarantee 100% uptime for Iron Maiden (something your tank will definitely be doing in NMs, so this one is a short-term option, but eh, you had to get it on the way to Platoon anyway).

Intro to NMs
Cost: 451 AP (if you want to have Veteran as an option for HR, it’s 562 AP)
[u]Actives
Energise*
Anima Shot*
Lock & Load*
Platoon
3 Round Burst
Transfuse Anima*
Reap & Sew*

Passives
Eagle Eye*
Anima Boost
Iron Maiden*
Dark Potency
Anticoagulant
Shadow Medic*
Experience*

If you’re new to nightmares, you’ll probably find yourself grouping with other new people. This means your tank may not yet know they should be afflicting. If your group is the talking kind (and it should be, you’re newbies), you can hash out who’s applying afflict and debilitate before you get started, so you know what’s up. Keep in mind that Dark Potency will only work if *you* apply the afflict, and that your only other option for stacking penetration rating is probably Body Piercing, from the Shotgun tree, and that’s going to be a bit pricey in terms of AP. Likewise, you can bring your own 12 Gouge (from SG as well), to stack debil (30% less damage for the tank = 30% less healing required for you to keep them alive). Then again, if you’re already buying skills in Shotgun, it may not be so bad. If someone else is afflicting, and you’re therefore using Body Piercing, that frees up the passive slot where Anticoagulant is, and I’d slot Donor (on the cheap) because it shields your defensive target when you penetrate (which you should do often). If you’ve done nothing but buy the abilities listed (Body Piercing, 12 Gouge, Donor), it brings your total AP spent to 700. If you want to invest in the other useful passives, it will be a good deal more.

For final Nightmare decks (or rather, a list of abilities and the reasons why/why not to use them), please reference the Reaper thread. There are plenty of passives that would be better to use that come from different weapon trees, and an argument can be made for alternate offhand weapons, even in the early game (ex: use Shotgun for Breaching Shot and take its passive Breach Party; use this as a healing cooldown when you need some heavy healing, as it’s a massive boost to the number of pens you’ll get, and therefore the amount of healing you’ll do). This guide is giving the bare minimum required to do your job effectively.

Nightmare Dungeons

How long do I have to Blood Heal or DPS until I can get back to my real job?
Actually, if you’re really careful about your gear selection and use the right passives, you can get by as a leech immediately. The following Elite gear will make NM leeching possible though not easy by any stretch of the imagination:

Head: Accurate Forgotten Ashes of the Kingdom (Cairo + Ca D’Oro Vendor)
Finger: Band of the Bacab (DW)
Neck: Clean Linen (Ankh)
Wrist: Fleshwired Fetter (HE)
Luck: Sekhmet’s Gambit (Ankh)
Waist: Incandescent Capacitor (HE)
Occult: Greed (HR)
Weapon: Tears of Chaac (DW)

This will bring your stats to:
1266 Heal/1229 Attack
670 Hit (with a Nightwatch Glyph kit, or X with a blue QL10 glyph, though the Kingdom Signet will add 120 to either once it’s up)
253 Pen
48 Crit Power

Obviously, these stats deviate hard from the recommended balance, but first and foremost you have to be able to hit the boss in order to heal your tank. This will involve re-running Elites (though only HR, DW, Ankh, and HE, so none of the ones that are hard to group for), so if that’s not your cup of tea, and you have a complete set of DPS and/or Healing gear from running your Elites (you have to have one or the other to clear the Gatekeeper, so…), I’d expect a minimum of 10 days running all that you can (including odd bosses, i.e. the first or first couple of bosses from the later dungeons, so Ankh 1, HF 1 & maybe 2, Fac 1, HE 1 & maybe 2, SH 1) to get geared up. It’s all going to depend on how often you play and how hard you push yourself/your team, or whether you hang out in Noobmares and see about making yourself useful to higher-geared groups. On more than one occasion, I’ve dropped into Noobmares to PuG a 5th for HE, and we’ve taught them to run HE 2 & 4–so even though you may not contribute buckets of DPS, at least you’re useful to the team.

Dungeon Drops You Need
This section is predicated on the simple assumption that you picked up the Forgotten Ashes as your Cairo reward and have slotted the Kingdom signet. This will be the first item you upgrade, and getting it to 10.4.4 will cost you 140 bullion (that freebie saved you 50 bullion, be thankful).

Be aware that you will always need to upgrade your glyphs before the actual talismans. I cannot stress that enough. I will PuG the 3.4k Attack Rating DPS who has maxed out glyphs EVERY time over a 4k AR DPS with .0 glyphs. Ignore the Agartha spam. If you put yourself on LFG, stress that you have X Hit/Y Pen/Z Crit Power and what utility skills you can bring (leech healing is a utility skill, as you’re providing DPS a regular healer can’t do, but you can also bring, for example, Breaching Shot or Clean Up).

This set of equipment will bring you some better stats than the Elites you came in with (obviously), and if you can get it, the Head tali will help balance out your pen until you can afford the bullion to start working on your rifle:

Head: Dust of Crushed Cities (HR 6)
Finger: Needled Maw (DW 3)
Neck: Envy (HR 3)
Wrist: Iron-Sulphur Brace (Pol 5)
Luck: Chit of Kinich Ahau (DW 3)
Waist: Fenrir’s Grasp (Pol 6)
Occult: Greed (HR 6)
Weapon: Tears of Chaac (DW 6)

All of these items are obtainable in just the first 3 dungeons–the ones that you’ll be grinding over and over and over. Once you’ve gotten your head to at least 10.2.4 (only 100 bullion), you can begin working on your Assault Rifle. You’ll glyph it full pen, and it’ll need to be at least 10.2.2 before you can swap it in, so the bullion cost is 150 before it’s useable (weapon upgrades cost 40, unlike the 20 of glyph and tali upgrades–ouch).

At that point, this is an excellent setup:

Head: Accurate Forgotten Ashes of the Kingdom
Finger: Touch of Var (Pol 6)
Neck: Tristitia’s Keepsake (HE 3)
Wrist: Iron-Sulphur Brace (Pol 5)
Luck: Pearl of the Deep One (Pol 3)
Waist: Fenrir’s Grasp (Pol 6)
Occult: Rakshani Filigree (HE 6)
Weapon: Piercing Assault Rifle

For this, I’ve added a couple of drops from HE, because by this point you should be attempting it (and maybe completing it); if not, Greed still works as your Occult, though there’s no other Pen-based neck tali to swap in; I suppose you could use Seed of Agression from HR 5, but you’re definitely going to need the Body Piercing passive equipped.

250 bullion may seem like a lot, but if you’re managing to go at least 17/18 on a daily basis, you only need to pick up 3 odd bosses to get 30 bullion daily, and that means only 9 days to get the bullion (unless you’re in full newbie groups, at which point I’d be expecting more like 25 bullion a day by going 15/18 + 4 odd bosses, but hey! That’s only 10 days…). Realistically, this is definitely something within reach of the first 2 weeks of running NMs, even with other NM newbies.

At this point, it’s a matter of replacing your majors and then minors. In this setup, I’d replace the finger first with a healing tali glyphed for hit (remember, don’t replace your dropped item until your upgrades at least match it, so in this case, you need it to be 10.2.2; also, don’t move on to your next tali until your glyph is 10.4). I’d simply go right on across, making an attack neck and wrist, then doing the healing minors.

If you’d like to see what I’d recommend, this link will take you to the online glyph calculator. I would suggest this as the optimal build because, for me, this results in the stats that I want at 10.5 without ever having to reglyph. I realize the hit is on the lowish side (it’s the bare minimum), but while you’re working on that purple breaching/laceration/what have you, it’s completley viable, and once you’ve got both your head and finger talis upgraded to 10.5.5, you can drop the signet in favor of something better. Unless you spend extensive time playing the market, you won’t have your purple breaching (or whatever) until after you’ve acquired those two fuses, so I don’t think it matters all that much.

Soloing

Ok, dungeons are great and wonderful, but you’ve got to have survivability out in the open world, where you’re playing the story and doing all the side missions (you are doing the side missions, right?) to earn your XP and thereby AP and SP. I’d recommend 1 healing major, 1 healing minor, 1 hp minor, and the rest attack. If you’re in green gear, skip the hp minor in favor of more attack or healing as needed.

Kingsmouth Deck
Cost: 58 AP
Actives
Boiling Blood
Anima Shot
Lock & Load
Infection
Blood Shield
Three Round Burst
Slow the Advance

Passives
Corrupted Blood
Anima Boost
Extra Clip
Dark Potency
Rapid Shield
Eagle Eye
Experience

Not too shabby: while it lacks a multi-target builder, it at least has both a single and multi-target consumer, and Slow the Advance should help with the crowd control as well. The point at this stage of the game is mostly just to fill up all 7 slots with things that are vaguely related.

An alternative
Cost: 73 AP
Actives
Safety Off
Anima Shot
Suppressing Fire
Angelic Aegis
Three Round Burst
Fire at Will
Slow the Advance

Passives
Extra Bullet
Anima Boost
Military Code OR No Contest (these are both kind of meh, but you might as well put something here)
Brawler
Angel’s Touch
Eagle Eye
Experience

This stuff will get you through Solomon Island. Onward to Egypt!

Scorched Desert Deck
Cost: 183 AP
Actives
Safety Off
Anima Shot
Open Vein
Left Hand of Darkness
Three Round Burst
Fire at Will
Tactical Retreat

Passives
Extra Bullet
Anticoagulant
Lucky Bullet
Brawler
Iron Maiden
Eagle Eye
Experience

Since I’m limiting these builds to AR and Blood only, along with inner ring passives, we’re missing out on some great stuff, like Finish the Movement (to pair with Bloodline as a builder) or Contortionist (handy against the vampires in Transylvania) or Twist the Knife (for a cheap and easy damage boost).

For the Endgame! If you haven’t found something better than this, I will eat my Assault Rifle. This is something I threw together and while it’s functional, I’m absolutely certain there are better combos (if nothing else, there are passives you can take advantage of from other ability trees), so don’t treat this like it’s some sort of ideal.

Transylvania Deck
Cost: 431 AP
Actives
Safety Off
Anima Shot
Suppressing Fire
Three Round Burst
Fire at Will
Bloodshot
Tactical Retreat

Passives
Lethality
Shoot ‘Em Up
Lucky Bullet
Leeching Frenzy
Iron Maiden
Eagle Eye
Experience

The key to AR solo survivability is to take advantage of leeching and the passive Leeching Frenzy as soon as you can. If you find you’re not healing enough, tweak your heal rating up. If you find you need more hp, slot a bit more. None of this is rocket science, and it’s all about finding what works for you.

Conclusion

Leeching is fun! It lets you bring dps to a group that a healer couldn’t otherwise bring, and it gives you great survivability while soloing. I would point out that while leeching has been in vogue lately, there have been a lot of meh leechers around. I would attribute this to DPS thinking “Hey, all I need are a few healing talis and I can heal while I DPS!”

While this sounds right, you really need to have a healer mentality to be able to leech heal. Until you’re in 10.4.4s, you really don’t need to worry about boosting your DPS, you need to worry about keeping everyone alive to the best of your ability. If you’re worried about topping the DPS charts, that’s not going to happen. If you go with no heal rating (yes, I know, in full gear and with a fully geared tank…but this is for the newbies, ok? and even then, you’re doing it for a challenge, not because it’s a smart way to heal) you will wipe the party. If you are glancing all over, you will wipe the party. If you pick the wrong passives, you will wipe the party.

Fist Healers, and to a similar extent Blood Healers, can get away with facerolling it a time or two. As a leecher, you really can’t get complacent. Your build will be knife-edge balanced coming into NMs, and one misstep will cause a wipe. That’s not to scare you away from this! I’d rather leech than fist or blood heal any day of the week, and I’m assuming that if you read these walls of text, you think you’re the same. So come on, ask your questions, leave your comments, and above all, have fun .

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