A Study of Charged Bolt - by Moriah
More CB Notes - by Nystul
Pictorial - by KingOfPain
..so how does CHARGED BOLT really work?
Glad you ask, my friend, because here is the answer.
This discussion will deal only with Diablo, is only tested in multi player and and is designed to give people a better understanding of the use of the spell during gameplay.
- What exactly
is Charged Bolt?
- Where can you
find Charged Bolt, and in what form?
- Who uses Charged
- What monsters
do you use Charged Bolt on?
- How does Charged
Bolt deploy itself?
Notice that this will develop 2 blind spots 2 squares away from the caster. This corresponds to the moves a Knight in a game of chess can make. A very annoying feature as Balrogs seem very adept at occupying these unreachable squares.
The original bolts are supercharged. Since multiple bolts are cast in lots of 3, they have the ability to split up after traveling a little distance. Yours Truly has so far been unable to establish a pattern to this breaking up. Even with the splitting of the bolts, blind spots remain some distance out from the caster.
The directions of travel of the bolts seem to be within a 90 degree arc, and will be if the outer bolts decide to travel in a straight line. However, once the outer bolts have come inwards on the 90 degree arc, they never turn against their original bounds, effectively curbing the 90 degree arc to somewhat less.
Bolts will continue to travel until they hit a solid object like a wall, a pillar or a cauldron. They will keep on traveling through a spiked body, a sarcophagus and barrels. They will not harm you if you walk through your own bolts, but will harm your golem and other players.
- What tactics
do you use with Charged Bolt?
Charged Bolt is a good attacking spell from a distance, in that it can cover wide open spaces very effectively and it can also inflict a good deal of damage up close. Lets look at covering open spaces first.
The caster is asked to try for taking up a doorway or a corner of a large room. Taking a corner, cast a couple of Charged Bolts towards the diagonally opposite corner of the room. As the bolts dissipate, they will hit the monsters present and either kill them or inflict some damage. Those that survive the first wave are "woken up" and will come to the caster.
Since the caster can see the bolts dissipate, s/he can see the monsters who have come past the first wave. Quickly cast another 2-4 lots of Charged Bolt. The advancing monsters will be almost completely exterminated, at the least literally decimated. (Note: this may not be the case if this method is used in Hell/Hell on Steel Lords and Hellspawn, but at least you will know about the monsters' presence and switch to different spells and/or tactics. It certainly works in Normal/Hell.)
If using this tactic from a doorway, be sure to stand in the door and cast straight out, else the side-bolts will go to waste if the caster stands behind the door. Follow this up with 1 step forward and casting straight out to the sides of the room.
In any case, do not cast like a mad(wo)man until all your mana is gone, rather cast the spell in small bursts for maximum effectiveness.
If there are ranged attackers on the level, then be prepared to step back through the doorway and off to the side. Charged Bolt travels slowly, so don't give the monsters a chance to get to you first.
It may seem at times that many monsters escape the bolts, however, this is not so. They are merely weakened by every hit as the split bolts deliver less damage per monster-hit at a distance than they do up close, so let's look at the up-close tactics.
As noted before, make sure that the monsters are not standing in a blind spot, so either they move or you move. The latter is recommended when there are ranged attackers present on the level as well. It must also be noted that sorcerors are very fast at casting Charged Bolt, so as soon as a monster gets next to you, select the monster with the mouse and right-click. The monster will now have to bear the full payload of a third of the total bolts the sorceror has just cast. Say the spell level is 15, that makes (3+slvl)/3 = (3+15)/3 = 6 bolts. For a sorceror with 120 magic, that is a range of damage of 6*(1) - 6*(1 + 120/4) = 6 - 186 damage for the one hit. And you still have the side-bolts which continue to spread themselves around.
There are other tactics for Charged Bolt, especially in conjunction with other spells and weapons, but they are left for the reader to find.
- Last notes!
The only thing to remember when using Charged Bolt is not to right-click away like a lunatic, a tactic which may work for Fireball and Lightning on occasion, but rather use some thought about its deployment. Charged Bolt travels much too slow for immediate high-impact, so be prepared to duck around a corner at times while the bolts do the dirty work.
Yours Truly has successfully used the Charged Bolt spell at level 15 in Normal difficulty and cleared Hell/Church completely with a level 31 Sorceror without using a Mana Shield, albeit with the help of Stone Curse for various bosses and unique monsters.
Long long ago Moriah made some posts preaching the power of charged bolt for sorcerers and also explaining some key points on how to use it. While many players have recognized charged bolt as a powerful spell, I think it is usually considered very clumsy in coop. (Now while my experiences were with high level characters in hell/hell, this post will likely be most useful for young sorcerers in coop with characters who lack resistances and such.) Usually we think the only way to avoid hitting other players with charged bolt is to take the front of the formation before casting. There are alternatives though.
Now for all charged bolt but especially at high levels, there are 3 primary bolts that initiate the spell (getting back to Moriah's posts). The most damaging charged bolts tend to go (if you are aiming orthogonally or diagonally, which you should do one of the two) straight down the line you aim on. There is also potentially a lot of damage along the 45 degree angles, although this is mainly only at short range. This creates blind spots at the "knight move" squares, and it is bad news if your enemy can slip into these squares. However, if you can get your fellow player to hold his/her ground...guess where you can stand: a knight move away from them of course. Now you can surround your teammate in a fury of lightning bolts without touching them. (OK for a low level player you can surround your teammate in maybe 2 lightning bolts :) If your teammate is engaging in melee it is likely that your spell will hit the enemy (for low level CB, for high level CB it is likely that very many bolts will hit the enemy) because of the way the spell dances around these blind spots.
Another possibility is shooting charged bolts at a diagonal into a wall in order to "dampen" the spell. This will result in one major stream of charged bolts surviving and moving along the wall (numerous factors will determine whether this can still be more powerful the regular lightning). For high level CB, you can do this near a doorway or opening and your bolt stream will turn the corner and spread out into the next room. This is a good way to scout out lightning susceptible monsters and rough them up some while your teammates stand back from the door and finish them off as they get close. Along the same lines, aiming one of the side streams at enemies instead of the main stream will often solve the "friendly fire" problems with charged bolt. Of course it is a good thing if your teammates know you might be using this spell so they don't run into your line of fire.
Lastly a point to ponder: A high level sorcerer can kill a hell/hell lava maw with about 3 "primary bolts" of charged bolt (level 15-20 assumed with 250+ magic). With that in mind, it is not a good idea to hit your teammate in the back with the main stream of charged bolt.
Awhile back, Moriah suggested that I may want to host his study on Charged Bolt as well as Nystuls supplement. I thought it a good idea and volunteered to grab some screen shots as well. I was in for a surprise - I have discovered some weird CB behaviors. I then went on Bnet, found Nystul, did some testing and grabbed a lot of screens. Well, not really, I found out later I have closed instead of minimized the screen program. :p So, the illustrations youll see are without the benefits of a human guinea pig; I had to go at it alone.
Note: There was a time I managed to make CB change directions when hitting certain walls, but I havent been able to duplicate the effect for this posting. Most of the animation are slowed down for better analysis.
Blind Spots - Illustrates the Knights Move and how to cast
= Knights moves, blind spot
For the purpose of our illustration - lets call it a straight forward cast when firing along the blue lines (marked by mana potions), and diagonal when firing along the lines marked by the yellow potions.
It turns out that the Knights moves from the caster are not always blind spots, it really depends on the firing directions. Note the mouse pointer for the direction of the cast - blue potions highlighted.
The first animation shows that two of the Knights moves, 2:30 oclock and 5 oclock, got hit by the bolts. There is a good chance that the Knights move at 3:30 oclock will be hit also, but unlikely. So far, it appears that the center packet of bolts do not have the strange effect of going backwards when it spreads
.Shown below are 2 more examples of hits on the Knights move blind spots. Btw, Stareye dropped a Mind Cry, nice! :)
The Knights moves turn into 100% blind spots when the caster fires at the diagonal directions.
All walls are not created the equal - Unlike men
CB can pass through corners and tips of some walls. This gives the caster an extra advantage when firing off CB to flood a room. In effect, it will give you one more main bolt into the room doubling the coverage and damage potential. Your CB will reach deeper into the room due to the firing angle.
But the passable walls seem to exist in the Church only, more testing are needed for the Catacombs and Hell.
How to identify the different walls? I have not yet found any usable patterns to identify which walls can be passed through. So far, it seems most (all) partition can be.
Sorry for the long loading time. I could have spread the animations over a few pages but you will have spent more time in the end.
Tactic - How to use and co-op with CB
Red potion = teammate
The animation below shows only 2 (3?) casts of CB. This is enough for high level CB (only 15 in this case. What do you expect from a BNM?) to flood the room. Note the mouse pointer for the direction of the cast so the center charge goes through the wall partition.
The warrior (your teammate) can stand where the red potion is (or a step above or below) and pick off anything that comes close. Another excellent position for the warrior is the Knights/blind spot at 1 oclock where the blue potion is. These formations guarantee no monsters can slip through the warrior to get at the mage, and the warrior would not be hit by any strayed bolts either.
On levels other than the Church, both the mage and the warrior can move one step up to achieve the same effect.
Depending on the monsters locations, the mage may want to switch to the right side of the warrior instead. As Nystul noted, staying in front of your teammate is not always the best way to co-op with CB. In my suggestions, the mage is actually a little behind his teammate.
The following tactic submitted by Charis
If the warrior got totally surroundedy by 8, this might also be a decent technique to try to rip some of those baddies off him :)
In for a surprise - If I tell you now it wouldnt be a surprise, would it?
So Charged Bolt can go through walls, big deal you say. Well it is. It has many useful applications when you are playing with those nutty variants out there. God only knows why they have to act so strange and do things the hard way. :p
Even after finding that spells can go through the tips and corners of some walls, I was in for a surprise when I tried the following. This discovery can certainly change the game play for many Ironman and low level characters.
Imagine a horde of archer skeletons waiting to make pin cushion out of you just on the other side of the wall. Or better yet, a horde of skeletons with King Leoric on the left side - so his path to you is blocked. Even if you are a low level and the only player in the gmae, have no fear. You can kill him before he even see you. :*)
BTW, this also works with bow and arrows.