This is a post that has been a long time in the making. I've so many requests and really dropped the ball for those people by promising to post and then never doing it. So I wanted to start off with a sincere apology for not providing some of the details that make the build tick (I do link everyone the build though when asked!).
Updated 1.2 Forsake Masters Tree Link Here Please note clicking this link wont work until the 1.2 patch is live. You can copy and paste the address in your offline skill calc.
I initially discovered Ironwill in closed beta, but I couldn't really seem to figure out how this gem would be worth it in builds I was looking at, at the time. I really enjoyed min\maxing in World of Warcraft, and I decided one day I wanted to do three things:
1. Have absurdly high health, not using Koams.
2. Use Ironwill
3. Try to hit the theoretical limit of Strength, from gear and from the tree (since changed with release and the tree redesign).
I spent a few days theory-crafting builds, and then did what any smart person should with something complicated like Path of Exile builds. I got other smart people hooked on, "Max strength in the tree" and the best way to accomplish this. With the help of Kripp and Bob (especially Bob who ended up working on the build for over a day) we improved my initial idea with unfortunately a build that I cannot show any more with the tree changes, but I am going to approximate using a Scion here. I think its important to see the progression of the tree, since it has some interesting implications for the new tree.
This build, starting as Marauder and cutting through the center which no longer exists, would net you 660-680 strength on the tree but without any real defensive nodes on the tree. I went through several iterations before settling on a build that is largely reproducible in the current passive tree design.
Link to build
What I feel like is very important to point out now is I am sure there are ways to improve the build based on your preference, or even a different way of thinking about how to maximize a certain aspect of high strength Iron will builds. That being said, for a defensive character meant to be able to truly "tank" most damage in the game with very respectable DPS (about 2-2.5k per projectile with level 20 FP, or 10k to 12.5K DPS per shotgun) I sincerely doubt there is anything to be improved on the tree I've linked here. You can sacrifice to pick up the enduring cry + regen talent in the Western Marauder section, but I am hopeful the Marauder tree will be remade and some of this will be streamlined making the points spent efficiency higher than it currently is right now.
I think it most efficient to level as a Mace Ground Slam Marauder. For anyone not familiar with this build, I am going to link to quote my write up for my build of the week submission.
[spoiler][quote="Morsexier"]Character and Gear
MorsexierSlam - (hes level 59, but hes in my level 45 self found gear + only used 53 skill points). Every piece of gear or gem is self found with the exception of Multistrike and Purity Aura (though I happened to find Multistrike on this character, you can't expect to do that).
Multistrike can be easily aquired in most leagues, purity for an Alchemy Orb just about anywhere.
Why play this class and spec?
The best class to start off playing in Path of Exile is Marauder for a number of reasons:
1. Life based characters end up being easier to play in a less expensive way
2. Has access to the best range of gems to play a hybrid between tank\melee
3. Ground Slam and Leap Slam are just plain fun abilities, especially when coupled with multistrike!
You are amazingly versatile for farming as this build. You have a character that is tanky, well positioned to Freeze single targets with your supported Glacial Hammer, you have very nice Life Regeneration in order to deal with most situations, and Multistrike is just the icing on the cake because it auto Aims for attacks 2 and 3 after the first attack.
You have two options with this build - for zones where there are heavy hitting melee monsters you can Multistrike Ground Slam to kill them from ranged, for example Vaal Ruins.
For zones with ranged monsters that try to maintain their distance, you can easily switch to Multistrike Leap Slam to easily close the distance and handle those monsters that tend to scatter once you engage them.
Of utmost priority for this build since you will not get the Keystone "BloodMagic" is finding one piece of gear with Mana Leech on it. Since your build is primarily Physical damage, as little as 1% leech on any of these pieces: Ring, Belt, Weapon or Glove will suffice and allow you to easily continuously attack monsters.
Grabbing the Keystone Blood Drinker is enough life leech for most encounters, and finding or trading for a Granite Flask to help with tougher Rare monsters is a something to consider based on the quality of your gear (Granites are like American Express, I never leave Lioneye's without it).
You have all the tools to handle any encounter in the game:
1. Ranged Monsters - Leap Slam
2. Melee - Ground Slam
3. Rares\Bosses - Glacial Hammer which with this build has a very high chance to chill or freeze these mobs, making the fight that much easier.
You run Purity for resists, and hatred to buff your DPS (The best Aura for Physical Damage based characters).
You use Warlord's mark to gain even more leech(Life and Mana), and endurance charges on kill. Cast when Damage taken when used with Enduring Cry is a great and very new addition, and I highly recommend trading for this as soon as you can. Pro tip: Do not level Cast on Damage taken so it triggers a lot! You can even link a curse and it will curse the mobs that hit you
I always recommend this build because it can be played from level 1 - 85, and can be tweaked as your familiarity with the game grows. When I made this build for ExilePro, most of the questions were, "When can I do X, or What level of weapon\damage do I need to do Y".
I like this build because the answer to that question is that when you feel comfortable killing monsters in the zone you are in, you can progress and you will find that you can kill any boss you encounter.
Late edit: I've added in cast when damage taken, as it is far and away the best melee defensive gem in the history of PoE. With it you can focus totally on killing mobs.[/quote][/spoiler]
Personally I do:
Normal: Save Oak
Cruel: Kill all
Merci: Kill all
You can do things differently if you choose to, like saving oak in merci. I would actually probably do the cast speed bandit if it made any amount of sense, IE a 6-8% cast speed buff and not 4.
Some guide Trees
Level 53 - Merci Ledge
Level 62 - Fellsrhine
At this point you should be pretty familiar with the end game build, and have a good idea of how to handle the transition yourself. I personally choose to this at level 78 - 80.
The gem that makes everything possible. high levels and 20 quality is paramount for this gem.
Iron will is what allows the spec to function. It reduces your cast speed at lower levels, and it is very important to be 20 quality as well.
GMP is actually a fantastic support for freezing pulse. It accomplishes two things:
1. Lowers the damage of each individual pulse so that you can ignore reflect, even lightning thorns (exception being the promenade boss)
2. It actually buffs your DPS for this build substantially. I've come to the conclusion that for most builds GMP is a net loss, but this is just my personal feelings on the matter. Getting quality on this gem is of secondary concern until your FP is level 19 and 20 quality.
Faster Casting, and LL are both preference gems. With enough cast speed on your gear you could drop faster for quality cold penetration, which would be a huge DPS upgrade. The build can work without life leech, but this is not recommended for beginners.
Blood Magic allows you to run 3 auras, 2 60% + 1 40%.
I use Fire trap for some nice single target burst.
Ideally you would use Conc effect instead of fire penetration.
Pretty selfexpanitory, haste is amazing overall for this build. If someone in your group is running haste, you can run determination.
Turns cold resist monsters from a nightmare into a joke. Using Doedre's ring + crit weakness\ele weakness or a defensive curse coupled with Cast When Dmg Taken, makes most maps and solo content easy.
This is just as important as the Spec itself is gearing the character. You want to use PoeXYZ Linked and search for gear with these stats:
(all values are the numbers you put in the min value box)
+ to Maximum Str - 38
+ to Maximum life - 60
Pseudo +#% total elemental resists - 40
Pseudo # elemental resists - 2
These numbers scale up as you improve your gear, with the exception of the 2 elemental resists. Since you're doing a character with high strength, which is a suffix, you are limited to two resists on each gear piece.
Astramentis is a great option and in most builds set ups, is required to use high str and high dex gear. There is a perfect amulet that exists out there that is better for this build, but its a 1 in 1,000,000 drop since I've never seen it.
The rest of the specific gearing I might update with more tips, but for now this is a good starter for people trying out this build.
Example gear (please note that this gear is from Jan - >April hardcore, before eternal exalting items existed. Everything here is a "yolo ex" item, including the chest which was mirrored 10 times.
Your objective playing this build is to be mobile, unstoppable, and a killing machine. High health unique monsters are your weakness with the current party changes to health, so having a high leveled fire trap is really nice for some single target burst.
When solo now I have been trying out Doedre's ring + CwdT double curse temp + frostbite. As my gear improves I will likely switch to crit curse + frost bite or ele weakness + frostbite. Its very easy to slow and freeze packs of monsters, though your mileage will very EXTREMELY (based on mobs having resist cold).
You're amazingly strong in group play, your DPS is less than a lot of builds but your effective up time on DPS is higher than most builds and with level 19 FP + ele weakness you have a high chance of freezing monsters because freeze and stun mechanics are based on one player health pools, and are not effected by any group scaling.
So in other words if you stun\freeze them when solo, if you had a 100 person party with mobs having 400000000% health, you'd still stun and freeze them ... it would just take a very long time to kill them.
The best thing to do is go out and experiment yourself, and maybe you'll realize you always wanted to make a build using Iron Will in some cool way with some other skill than my personal preference.