I’m staying with Dawn of Magic for the moment, though considering that I already have put another 50+ hours into it I could very well pause the current playthrough at some point.
I have started another character with Neutral alignment and I think this time around my build should be able to handle the later stages. “Kiss of the Gorgon” from the Earth Magic school isn’t just pretty good in terms of the damage numbers, it also more or less provides everything the player might want and this is without any secondary spell that the player might combine with it.
For once, even now on level 10 the cost is only around 30, which is nothing compared to Tornado and still not a lot when considering how some things like Chain Lightning and Ice Storm already start out at 35 and 45 mana respectively. The spell drops a rock on the target, doing a good amount of damage and then applies the “Slow”-curse in a small area. As long as the curse is going it deals damage each second. This is important to know since “Curse-mastery” lengthens curses by five seconds, which is an improvement of 33 %. 20 seconds to do all the damage is quite long, but keep in mind that the damage over time-value of KotG does increase with each level. At first I wasn’t sure if Curse mastery would actually work with KotG since that one isn’t from the Curse-school, but as it turns out it does indeed increase the length of Slow even when applied through KotG.
More reasons why KotG is so good have to do with the fact that almost no investments in other spells are required. Slow is a one-point-wonder which already starts out with a 30 %-slow and 15 seconds duration and further increases are incremental. Completely pointless to invest any further. Curse-mastery is similar. 5 seconds more from the first level with just another second each further level. As said before, costs in spell points are equivalent to the spell level! Spell points one gets each finished sub-level increase with levelling, but as per usual for ARPGs the levelling process also slows down significantly in the higher levels.
At the moment I don’t have anything else I really want to invest in aside from some points in “Holy Touch” for health regen.
Edit: Oh, and the damage over time doesn’t care about resistances or protective spells. Neither “Queen of Hearts” nor “Stone Skin” or “Goliath’s Shield” negate or reduce it. Creatures seem to have no natural reistances against it. Not sure what kind of damage type it is. “Water Sphere” cancels curses and blessings, but there is no opponent of importance which actually uses that. Only the Marauders which are running across the battlefield stealing loot.