Changes to gear coming U23

It looks like some people thought some items were to strong and they might change. As it seems the idea is to adjust down or split up. Pity, consolidated items are good. In fact so many of the items have redundant features I’d like to take a scalpel to the items and carve out the nonsense. And by nonsense I’m talking about the many features that are worthless as a whole. Like reflex +10. I can guarantee that most people have a resistance +10 item already. If not a good size augment. There’s at least 3 different items that share some sort of +10 feature (Fortitude etc). But there are also 2 items that comes with +11 and +12 resistance.

I understand the idea – maybe no one has an item like that or maybe they won’t get the items with the better resistance. But when you look at it, it’s fairly useless. And inflating numbers like that only add weight to things you don’t need and reduces other stuff that you feel you do.

Currently the boost and the Mentau Goggles might get adjusted. The 2 items I was looking most forward too. Not because they were SUPER, but mostly because they consolidate gear slots. If they break those up they immediately devalue. Even if it means that something else get similar values. But the whole point is consolidation. I’m not adverse to slight adjustments.

What seem to make the items strong is actually a mirage since so many of their features are doubled up on other items. Like UMD – you’ll find tons of items with UMD, making it less then a unique feature. So instead of reducing the usefulness of Mentaus goggles, they should remove redundant features that only inflate the over all value but add nothing to the total bottom line. Such as removing reflex +10 completely. if it’s not a unique insightful value it’ll be pointless.

Plus the issue with a lot of the items right now is that so many of them have sheltering on it, but to such a degree that a level 28 item might have sheltering 15, that’s 1 under the currentl ML 28 augment. And yet on others you find odd numbers like 21, 30 etc. The reality is of course that by adding so many features on so many different items it leads to inflation and suddenly you see the hammer come down on the useful and unique values (like Mentaus +4 insightful) and you still have UMD on 2-3 items (including Mentaus).

And while so many of the items are good, any change will devalue usefulness. At least a change to the unique aspect. Such as the boots tactical feats. Remove some of those and keep speed and you have an item that’s pointless. There are PLENTY of items including random with speed. In fact most melee probably use the feat that gives you a better choice. Speed is so Jorgundals Collar ago.

So well see, hopefully they’ll give the items another go, strengthen some of the weaknesses (like ring of unknown origin, pointless) and balance the OP items without destroying the synergy. If most of them becomes meh and some of the features are moved around, you still will have a collective of high level but unappealing items. And suddenly the 2-3 items you definitely want becomes the 1 or 2 you might swap in.

Dragon Singer continued

I sometimes makes the mistake of looking at the one thing and by mistake assume the same across the board. It’s easy to get that blind. Especially when off destiny leveling or just starting out that one toon with new fresh gear slogging up him both ways.

Until you do something that makes everything that much better. First, dragon singer is not the undead killer concept I’m looking for. Not that I ever thought it was. It was a mistake of me to gear up with all the toys, run out into E Macabre and then fail in a few encounters and read the writing on the wall. The truth is that this build is not well served by undead critters. It’s not meant to be. With only short range sonic and lots of lightning and fighting critters who couldn’t care less about hold and dancing ball, it’s no wonder it was less then optimal.

But yesterday I played a few quests and things sure fired nicely, the concept of hold and such still lives on. I also learned about something else – mind fog. Together with dancing ball it works just fine to extend the effects. See, you learn something new every day – and I’m sure most people who play cc toons already knew about it. But to me it was new and it add that little extra to the holds.

As I see it I might be maxed out on my Evocation at the moment. Currently sporting max item and lots of feat bonuses, but I still got a few extra strings on gear like +11 Charisma items (can’t wait till E Macabre arrives) +6 Tome and at least a few more Sorc TR’s. That should add a good +3 – +5 more evocation. So if things are about 60-70% now on upper end quests, that amount should make it close to perfect (looking for 80-90).

Then it’s a matter of DPS. That’s where Shiradi comes in (eventually) but with hold and lots of quick firing spells it works, even if it takes longer. In the end I will TR into a human, it’s just a question of getting that final greater shard so I can create my con op. After that TR and try again – ideally continuing to unlock destinies until I hit Shiradi.

Concepts

First, this latest lam allowed me to truly check out a few concepts within the changes that are coming. Namely half tank (not so much full tank tho), Paladin and my Dragon Singer.

There are of course other concepts that should be investigated – such as DPS fighter in relation to the DPS changes, full tank – both Paladin and Fighter, but I’m not sure I have time or interest in digging into everything. There’s one main drawback – currently MRR, this new magic resistance rating also lowers the healing. It’s an unintended side effect so hopefully that’ll change.

First off my Bladeforged Paladin. The fun part about doing Lam is that you can also get the latest toys, mix and match the augments and most named items (that you don’t have) and upgrade stuff like Thunderforged to Max. So in essence, you can check what your future build can look like. So in the end I put together a fully upgraded thunderforged greatsword, changed some feats since cleave and greater cleave is not needed if you pick the new Paladin cleave enhancement options and over all tried to put together the max features for a 2hf Bladeforged.

Note – this is not a tanking concept – it has a very small amount of tanking enhancements and most of it is either racial or more traditional. As such it worked out beautifully. Plenty of swings, plenty of smiting and plenty of overall DPS together with the crusader destiny. As such there’s nothing that can truly challenge it in EMacabre. Paladins are ideally built for such encounters and properly equipped you could call it a holy butterknife. There’s very little to add other then you can’t find a more ideal way of dealing with undead and such then a Paladin and over all DPS is good enough to deal with non undead. And with smites even harder to kill things goes down quickly enough.

My second concept is my Dragon Singer. I’ve already discussed my Arti and I kind of jumped on that before my Dragon singer because I was curious about the new rune arm (I know that some don’t like it because of the imbued damage, but it’s hard to explain to them just how great force lore and spell lore is together and how that consolidates several items).

My Dragon Singer ended up with 2 fully upgraded thunderforged items, lightning and Sonic and lots of other goodies. I also upgraded all destinies and ended up with tier 4 energy burst, using a Shiradi destiny for additional DPS and a lot of other items for all the other needs. In the end it looked pretty good – the downside as it seems is of course the reliance on 2 elements as suppose to a much broader on other casters and generally low level SLAs. The result was therefore somewhat mixed. Like the holds didn’t work super well (but at least close) but the disco balls were a lot more effective. The big downside is the reliance of 2 elements (mostly) and low level SLAs. Especially against enemies that are traditionally immune (like flesh golems that heal from electric damage) and Liches that ignore most low level spells. In other words against Liches this build is not good and against Flesh Golems it’s down to spamming magic missiles to hope to proc something that damages them. Against most everything else it worked okay, even if I saw more reflex saves then I was hoping for. I assume that a few more TRs can help, but I’m not sure if it’ll be spotless.

My half tank on the other hand performed very nicely. There’s currently a bug with Stalwart stance stacking. Meaning if you change gear, even your weapons (which might have to do with spell power augments) it’ll kick out Stalwart and you’ll need to take of your armor and put it on again. But as long as you don’t much around with that I ended up with a 1300 HP half tank with 2 weapon fighting dps.

In this case I ended up with kensei extra crit multiplier which is tier 6 and the cap stone, but also all the way up to tier 4 Stalwart with lots of PRR and MRR and additional points on HP and con. In Stalwart it was running around with 165PRR and 91MRR and something like 90 in AC. The idea of a half tank is not to be full tank values but having lots of good DPS and adequate defensive capabilities. And it worked. Again, the MRR bug and healing sucks since a lot of the heal ticks from the CITW B-sword gets eaten up that way and the heal amp will not help like it normally does.

I ended up with a mish mash of new and old named items; a fully upgraded thunderforged khopesh as secondary weapon (mortal fear build) and the fully upgrade CITW B-sword. Doublestrike is 24% and it could be more with triple martial ETR. But you’ll notice it. That’s a lot of doublestrike. Plus with the new boots with all the nice tactical enhancements makes stunning blow and improved trip work like a charm. It might even be EE worthy in some quests. Time and time again it would know down elementals and such and work almost spotlessly on other targets. Plus running on FOTW I had those nice adrenaline hits to dish out against bigger and nastier targerts, not that the normal DPS with 300-500 crits didn’t help. All in all even with a half tank build, most of the problems in areas like Emacabre can be dealt with.

All in all I’d like to run a few more runs in say early EE content to get an idea if the AC/PRR/MRR can live up to spec but in simple runs the difference is notable. But I can’t really see myself doing that yet with only cocoon for healing – since the MRR bug is downgrading each heal with a lot – I’d say close to half.

I will most likely end up moving a few other things over before it goes live, especially my 2hf Horc to see if these changes and heavy armor works fine.

Passing on Ruin

I decided to pass on ruin for now. I like the spell. A guaranteed amount of damage – minimum and maximum. Properly boosted it’ll hit for 3-6 key with my pure sorc. Similarly with my FvS and Arti’s. It’s simply too good to overlook. But that was not the case with my dragon singer. First – I don’t have a good impulse build. I never intended to make one until at least the Shiradi is unlocked and most practically after another TR. So while there’s some gear I’m waiting to try to puzzle that part together until later.

In reality you only need the sage bracers and an augment – and if that doesn’t work – try the goggles from E3BC. Impulse, 10% discount on spells and Spell points. Not bad. And the bracers offers a good source for kinetic lore, 20% together with spell pen IV. Both useful. I wish it also had some type of augment slot and I don’t think it would be too much to ask for. The sage goggles has one and it adds a terrific source of fire spell power and lore together with intelligence.

But maybe I’m a little bit too greedy. In the end I’ll add a tier 3 universal spell lore to one of the thunderforged items. That’ll cover every single spell other then the main stick, which will most likely get lightning lore.

So why not ruin? At the current moment, one level to 28 I’m more focused to just getting there with the gear I have and use instead of worrying about fitting in another set of options for one spell only. Again – it’s a terrific spell. And my next go around will have it – in fact I’m looking forward to using it in combination with the current SLAs (yes, I know – it’s not a SLA per say) and future Shiradi casting. I’m also going to wait to make myself a shadow scale robe; since it’s unlikely i’ll make my next a robot it would be silly to waste resources now and make a docent. That’ll can wait until I other make a Drow or human. I’m still debating that. Both are tremendously useful for 2 different reasons. One guarantees more charisma and spell resist, altho the downside is also less con. And the other offers that additional feat – so compensating for the loss of charisma is less of an issue if it’s a matter of DC or spell pen. That’s what feats are for. Plus I like the fact that humans have a little bit better choices when it comes to racial traits, especially if you want heal amp and even ability point choices.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise if I lean a little bit more towards human at this point. Now the question is if I temper myself a little and decide to unlock Shiradi first. I am tempted. I only need to hit rank 4 on Fatesinger, rank 3 on the rogue one and so forth to navigate towards Shiradi. It’s a drag – I detest off destiny leveling but I can also use the time to pick up some more stuff and perhaps even try to get that final seal to the ring in Epic Carnival, it’s a terrific source of spell power.

A daily dose of this and that for a week or so will eventually get me where I want and it’s always easier to start out with a good unlocked destiny for early epic leveling then to simultaneously level a destiny. That goes without saying. And it’s a great way to do quests a few levels above 20 early on, especially quests that deliver plenty of XP – like Von 3 and the Web of Chaos ones. Having the appropriate explosion in that case always helps.

There’s also another good reason why I like to TR into a human; docents in all honor and certainly the added survivability of playing a robot – but there are a lot more choices of armor for non robot classes then there are for robots. Especially diversity. Like the Cannith challenge one – as a caster it’s invaluable and it’s even good with melee and ranged. And if you look at MOTU gear alone you find a lot more diversity for caster based non robots then for – the docent for example only add +8 as a stat – which is fine – but the robe version also offers a +3 stat version and that adds diversity. Making gear choices a heckuva lot easier.

And since these are level 22 and 23 items (such as armor and trinkets) you’ll have a much easier time finding good solid gear choices as a non robot, then you do as a robot.

Beating the Chronoscope

Now this is not a special accomplishment, because if you’re level 26 something you should be able to ‘beat’ the chronosphere, but it is a measurement of sort when it comes to reasonable CR and how a build like min can dominate it’s niche, without being a min max type ‘all dps’ or ‘all CC’. The point of my dragon singer (I’ve decided to stick with it) is to offering a little bit of this and that; some hold, some dancing and some DPS. Not to be dominant in each but at least solidly competent in them. That’s not to say EE is out of the question, but it’ll come with some serious investments and that’s perfectly fine with me. In Chronosphere it was clear that my hold mass at this point are fairly solid with some exceptions. I would assume that a little bit sharper, via a greater focus and the Epic sage cloak (+5 Enchantment) and perhaps a few more points of Charisma will make it almost solid. That’s the same with the disco ball – right now it’s a fairly solid. Ontop of that is evocation based spells, which is pretty much all of the different lightning and sonic based ones. Right now I’m using a +6 Evocation focus item (thunderforged) but there are a few more steps that can be done.

Such as a fully upgraded shadow scale armor with +1 Profane DC. I could also create a staff instead with +6 Evocation that comes with a unique +1 DC I think. I don’t know if this will be enough to bet EE content, but the next step would be to sharpen the stick even further. I currently use +4 Tome with a +8 charisma item, +3 insightful and the true imperial blood augment. There’s always room for a +11 Charisma items or at least a +10 (those are plentiful). Add to that a +5 or 6 Tome and now we’re talking business. It’s also possible to Reincarnate into a Drow, with the same setup you’re looking at 2 more in Charisma. Sure, I’ll lose a feat, but I’m one short now using a Bladeforged. My idea however is to do a human and rely on conventional healing instead and use that extra feat to sharpen the DC stick elsewhere. The point is to be able to be as good as I can in many things, without being entirely focused on one particular thing.

To that end I think Shiradi is really the way to go. I know it’s a lazy feature; it’s easy as pie. But it is also the best way of turning in mediocre DPS into much better. And if I can remain strong in say Evocation and Enchantment, then Shiradi will take care of the DPS needed. After all – EE is really about 2 things, DPS and damage mitigation. The quicker you nail something the more likely you are to survive. EE on a build like mine won’t be won with sub par DPS or grinding HP meatbags with holds and such, especially since so many of the critters are red named now a days. No the best thing I can do is to strengthen the weaknesses until they’re on par with what I need and that is how Chronosphere showed itself to be an unlikely candidate of the promises of the build. Everything is after all about the math. You break the SR, you overcome the saves with superior DC and you use the tools the way you envision them. In that respect the dots proved invaluable and the vulnerability to electric and sonic as it stacked up multiplied the effect of my cheap SLAs. The hold guaranteed 50% more damage and turned un-meta lightning bolts into 1k hits. I also aided everyone else as they used their DPS to smack things up. In that way it was fairly uneventful; after noticing just how efficiently my hold and disco balls worked I ventured into the deep of it, which is by the bank where you’ll find plenty of mobs. One disco ball later with lots of critters dancing I slapped on a hold, caught 80-90 percent of them (the rest dancing) and started using all type of goodies to wither them down.

A few broke lose but by moving them out of the dancing ball and back in they were forced to save against it again and most of the time got caught. This is the essence of the simple technique used – dancing and hold to collect, the SLAs for the DPS needed to win. Individually even the phantasmal force turned out to work about 70-80 percent of the time. That’s because bards and spell singers are strong with illusion and even without significant boosts it’s pretty good. You always have the illusionist gloves (a named item) with int and illusion to strenghen that or even the sage cloak, both with ample Enchantment and Illusion.

I will most likely TR by the time I hit 28. I don’t want to start raiding for items other than perhaps making a GS item. I’m thinking something with lots of SP and con op. I’ve already flagged myself but never run it yet. My hope is to do it shortly so I can get the shards needed since I already have plenty of mats. The question on my mind is more where as suppose to what. And that’s especially important considering what type of final end gear you have in mind. Because a con op item will be useful even into late epics, if not for the slight trickle of SP.

Vol, Raid boss in U23

I don’t know much about it, I usually stays away from Necro anyways and I haven’t done the raid even once. There are many reasons for it. Like the bad quests with good XP, a terrible flagging system but also a raid with puzzles. I’m not going to start with that again, but those are the main reasons. To me a flagging system should be like the latest raids. Beat a mini boss, flagged. Or do all quest once to flag, done.

The idea to introduce a material grind in order to play a raid is silly but to their benefit stuff like that ended with heroic raids (not counting heroic stuff that was epified like DQ). And hopefully there won’t be anything similar like that here either – like a flagging process involving collecting stuff or a raid with puzzles. I’m quite done with those.

This weekend I ended up hitting a few more levels with my Dragon Singer and I realize right now that I probably need another TR and probably into a human for that extra feat. It’s not doing a good job breaking SR and DC and probably because it relies heavily on AOE or reflex save type spells. Granted, one of the reason is because I’m currently only hitting mid 40’s in Charisma – which is lack of gear and also tomes. But even despite a chunk load of Focus and spell pen I still see a huge amount of reflex saves and evasion and on stuff that makes me really sad (and a reason why epic is so broken right now).
Like a held person that gets a reflex save. Or the Dwarven skellies in Thunderholm that can evade. Stuff like that makes DDO dumb. Because it points to lazy mechanics. How on earth can a held character save against anything? Let alone paralyzed or whatever. It makes no sense. And even if games shouldn’t always make sense it’s hard to argue for the idea that you have slow skellies with superior evasion skills and held monsters evading or saving against damage – damage that is do to direct or AOE hits. How they manage to jump out of the way is beyond me.

This to me points to the mindless CR of monsters. How instead of having a reasonable critter with reasonable abilities, most of it is copy and pasted with a new skin. Like the Drow pirates that just happen to use chains like Shadar Kai. Or the Dwarven skellies that shamble through Thunderholm but jump out of the way like ninjas. And that’s even true with caster types. I get that an assissin type character probably have evasion and or high dex. So it’s natural that they’re trained to jump out of the way. But a caster? So that brings us the the silliness of CR – where so much of the enemy critters get amplified through higher levels to the point that what should be a drawback of a class becomes averagely good. Meaning it’s a caster type – they specialize on offensive and defensive casting. Not on jumping out of the way of incoming magic. But because of the CR inflation what would be a mediocre ability to avoid damage becomes averagely good.

And that’s why so many gravitates to Shiradi casting. Spamming proc’able spells with a good chance for lots of damage is better than building to break DC by maximizing features. It’s easy; it exploits a design and avoid the traps of lazy critter mechanic while lazily spamming a set of multiple shot spells in the process. And why do I know that it’s bad? Because I’m doing things in EN and in normal at level wilderness. I’m not complaining per say, but I can see why people gravitate towards path of least resistance. Because making interesting builds require a much higher investment than to go with the big numbers with less resistance.

Plus another struggle is the 2 elements. A Air Savant, spell singer will generally use 2 type of spells. Sonic and Electric. With fewer spells to choose from you end up with sonic and electric derivatives. The sonic are not bad, but they are fewer because of the fewer levels. Mostly SLA so cheap, but shout and sonic blast followed by the dot is not enough if something is entirely electric immune.

That’s why Shiradi looks so interesting. Because with Shiradi there’s a great chance to proc all type of elements but also big sonic hits (due to the innate sonic procs). Then the otherwise worthless lightning based spells (at least against immune critters) simply become delivery vehicles for diverse procs. So we’ll see, it’s a long way there.

The long road to my Dragon Singer

It’s not a new concept. At least I don’t think so – the idea of marrying a sorcerer with a bard. But now with the current changes to the bard enhancement I noticed that there was a great deal of synergy between say spellsinger and air savant. Air savant for example have a native boost of both sonic and lighting in most of their core enhancements and the crit line is for sonic and lightning alike. Plus electrocute – stacking vulnerability to spells can increase due to sonic or lightning based spells. Making the different bard SLAs particularly useful in that respect. So I converted what was a dull experience leveling up my archmage/palemaster bladeforged using a +20 lesser reincarnation to a 14 sorcerer, 6 bard – just to see if there was enough synergy to get something okay out of it.

First – theoretically there are a few ways to do things. You can either do a lot of bard with a few sorc levels to get access to the savant enhancement. Particularly the crit line and electrocution. What you’re looking at is a bard SLA heavy build with lots of CC options – and dependent whether you go caster or perhaps melee (doing more swashbuckler) you have lots of different interesting choices. The downside is that you’re more or less stuck with bard spells and you’ll have fewer good sorcerer spells.

On the other hand you can lean more heavily on sorc with some bard to get access to bard specific enhancements. That means less CC (a lot less as it turned out) but more DPS spells. The downside is that you’ll have a harder time building up caster levels for all DPS spells – making the bard SLAs kinda weak and average for the sorc stuff. But on the other hand you’ll have a few bard buffs – such as songs, even if they won’t last that long.

I decided to go for tier 5 bard stuff and use the sorc one for a few SLA (but not lightning strike) and crit. I also opted to go for the cheap hold over horns of thunder, partly because once I used the horns of thunder it was a pretty weak hit – something like 400 sonic and 400 lighting on crit. The hold on the other hand (when properly boosted) will allow me to hold and use the other SLAs and spells such as chain lightning to do even more damage.

The long term plan is to use Shiradi – because it adds a lot of sonic procs and with cheap magic missiles along with all the different AOE SLAs and such I hope to be able to compensate for the lower average DPS.

The downside so far is one of gear and probably lack of TR. Especially since I’ve sacrificed spell pen in order to build up DPS and songs. You’ll notice that pretty quickly against drow. The other thing is reflex save; even if spellsinger get a lot of sources of Evocation and there are plenty of items with focus and such, it still seems to be lacking in over all ability. Making reflex saves fairly frequent. My hope is that I can make some okay gear that’ll help out and also add a few more TR, to add both spell pen and evocation to the mix. I’ve yet to fully unlock a destiny so I know there’s plenty of room for a good couple of twists. I started with draconic to simply get that early boost of energy burst and such and my next step is Magister and then the bard one.

The twists I have in mind are energy burst, lightning, +2 Evocation from Draconic and +3 Enchantment from Magister. And if I ever get as far as unlocking a 4th twist I’ll got for cocoon or maybe even the one that add more SP plus a larger pool of echo of magic.