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I was incredibly disappointed to find that Shock is completely disabled in the new Tech Duinn dungeon. More and more monsters and dungeons are adding monsters completely immune to sand burst, rain casting, shock, frozen blast, and other useful alchemy skills. It's being reduced to just flame burst and water cannon, and water cannon's just a worse firebolt in any situation.
Alchemy wasn't designed to have high DoT. It's a toolbox, full of powerful crowd-control utilities and monster positioning skills. Even it's trademark damage skill, Flame Burst, has incredible potential in its area-of-effect stun-lock. It doesn't need to out-damage final hit, magnum, full-swing, etc to be good.
What alchemy really needs is to return to its roots, and provide useful crowd-control and utility skills to support parties, or add versatility to solo-play with Guard Cylinders + 1-hand weapon. And, most importantly, the skills need to be relevant, or even usable, in recent end-game content.
Yep! I levelled to 200 using memoirs as a battle-chef hero talent, so that I could train all of cooking without doing cooking dungeon. At the same time, I took advantage of the level bonus to also rank up windmill and some other combat skills.
I think the monsters need to be at least as strong as you are. That means no 'weak' or 'weakest' monsters. If your CP is too high, you can run the baltane mission 'Nowhere to Run', which has lots of monsters who always have the same CP as you.