With ten level of play with the Sorceress behind you, both her high damage output and mortality should be readily apparent. At level eleven, you will begin to advance along one of the three mastery paths. To focus on both the strength and weakness of the sorceress, we will begin by following the Path of Agony. This path focuses on devastating damage to single targets. The advantages of this Path make the sorceress a surgical tool cutting out key elements of the opposing force from maximum range.
Dark Blessings is your other award for reaching level eleven. This career tactics increased the effectiveness of all heals you receive by ten percent. This is useful as you get more out of your healers spells, and it will help with Dark Magic abuse. However, you will be leaving this tactic behind for much better ones very soon.
Level twelve grants access to Grip of Fear and Siphon Power. Grip of Fear is a instant cast spell that roots all enemies withing thirty feet of you for ten seconds. This is your escape spell, as it gives you plenty of time to retreat to a safe distance. Another great use is to put the brakes on enemies who are trying to prevent an objective claim. However, be aware not to damage the rooted enemies unless you have a good chance of killing them, as they have a fifty percent chance to break free if damaged.
Siphon Power is a rank 2 morale ability that steals two hundred AP from a single target and gives it to you. It also significantly reduces their intelligence. This ability severely hampers an enemy, and gives you a new reserve of power. However, to make the most of this ability, target a caster to reduce the effectiveness of their spells too.
At level thirteen you will receive the very useful career tactic Devour Energy. This gives you a twenty five percent chance to regain thirty AP every time you cast a spell, but this effect will not activate more than once every two seconds. Since many spells have a one to three second cast time, or a longer refresh time, the every two seconds rule is not a big deal. What you gain from this tactic is the freedom to cast more recklessly without needing to focus as much on AP management.
The visually impressive spell Ice Spikes is available at level fourteen. This is an instant cast curse which hits all targets within a sixty five foot line in front of you, and deals corporeal damage over time for fifteen seconds. This is a good defensive spell to use on melee attackers before you snare them and make your getaway. Another good use for this spell is to cast near the front lines, then retreating to a safe distance to continue your long range onslaught.
Grasping Darkness, a nasty debuff career tactic, becomes available at level fifteen. When you cast Doombolt or Chillwind, this tactic will cause your target to lose twenty AP and will reduce their Strength, Intelligence, and Ballistic Skill significantly for ten seconds. The combination of AP and stat reductions inflicted by this tactic amount to an effective drop in the damage output of anybody you are targeting. Add to this the fact that Doombolt is a core skill for Path of Agony, so it is now putting out even more damage with three mastery points allocated at level fifteen. What you now have is serrations added to your sorceress' scalpel.
At level sixteen both Infernal Wave and Misdirection are available. Infernal wave is an instant cast spell with a ten second refresh, and it deals a cone shaped blast of spirit damage up to sixty five feet away. This is another spell best suited to the move closer, cast, retreat method. Misdirection is a rank one morale ability which reduces by half all magic damage inflicted on you, while simultaneously redirecting half back to the caster. Since you are striking from maximum range, if you are taking magic damage, you are too close; move back. Stick with Mage Bolt, the prior rank one morale ability, for the high damage hit.
Level seventeen is rather lackluster. You get Alignment of Naggaroth, which is a career tactic that grants a boost to your spiritual resistance. Again, you should be far away as you are too frail to take hits, so this tactic is essentially useless. You also have the chance to use a mastery point to purchase Recover Energy. This works exactly the same as Devour Energy, but you get a bigger boost and it only works for Path of Agony spells. Grasping Darkness is better. Skip this one and use the point to move up the tree to a better ability sooner.
Daemonic Chill is gained at level eighteen. This is essentially the defensive version of Frozen Touch. For one hour, Daemonic Chill gives all in your group a twenty five percent chance to deal a small amount of corporeal damage every time they are struck with a melee attack. Keep this one up at all times.
At level nineteen, you gain the career tactic Endless Knowledge. This tactic provides a significant boost to your intelligence, and therefore to your spell damage. While this is a great tactic, I still find Grasping Darkness to be the better choice for its wicked debuffs. Those debuffs increase the longevity of the meat shield standing between you and the enemy, and the longer that tank is alive, the longer you are alive. Aside from this, you are already putting out a disgusting amount of damage, especially if you are letting your Dark Magic pool boil over.
Level twenty gets you back on track with Frostbite and Focused Mind; both are awesome abilities. Frostbite is a one hundred foot range spell with a one second cast time and thirty second cooldown. This spell deals corporeal damage and disarms the target for five seconds. The uses for this are numerous. You can throw it into your standard barrage or you can provide a brief respite to an overwhelmed ally. You can also use it to save yourself by gaining the time needed to retreat of devastate and oncoming attacker.
Focused Mind is like a kamikaze carpet bombing. This rank two morale ability will remove silence, disarm, root, and snare. For the next ten seconds, you will be immune to the same, and your abilities will build twice as fast with no chance of being set back. Essentially you can not be stopped by anything short of death as you unleash a rapid fire barrage of doom.
There are a few extra things you can do to maximize the effect of Focused Mind. Set Devour Energy as your career tactic prior to activating this to ensure you don't run out of steam in the middle of your onslaught. To go even further, and become one with your inner kamikaze, keep your Dark Magic full and drink a regeneration potion prior to using this ability. This preparation combined will give you enough AP and Health to fuel of the cost of running the highest risk to drop unrelenting critical hits on your foes.
Focusing on long range abilities gives you the most survivability when playing with high Dark Magic. So using this play style with the Sorceress is a constant game of keep away and Russian roulette. To augment this, keep a tank in front of you and potions on hand for when your healer can not attend to you. You play a dangerous game, but your power is irresistible.