Of all the stupid things to fix

Sometimes Turbine does things that they might think is alright, but it ignores things that are far more debilitating to game play on classes players might buy with real money. Or for that matters that has a more adverse effect on everything then fixing a tiny benefit to all players.

Here’s the thing. Prior to the reality that most people solo quests, MMOs like DDO designs quests with silly featured meant to require pivotal classes or groups. Like dumb levers that had to be pulled together, gears that had to be passed and stuff that had to be dealt with and if you killed to many you failed.

Necro is a great example of tons of quests with this design, with good XP but detestable quest designs. Sue me if you love them, but anything that packs so much nonsensical illogical must pull x lever or whatnot at the same time just are not funny. I like immersion. I like a sense of design and I’m therefore against most puzzles in games but for traps. Traps is okay; puzzles are stupid.

I’ve ranted about this in the past but it remains a sore point with me because most puzzles are of the inane nature – like the new shadow raid. 6-8 mirror puzzles and 2 special ones. I just can’t imagine who would ever design such a ridiculous thing. Talk about a weak dragon that need so much silly features to feel safe. So the one that foiled me tonight and had me leave in disgust, is the changes to Let sleeping dust lie. It’s a quest that either require specific classes that can insta kill OR some major luck and not skill. Feel free to prove me wrong; but if you’re playing a pure melee, say 2 handed weapon fighter, you’ll be pulling your hair in frustration. And it’s even worse to group in that quest – because you know you’ll end up in a group with someone who don’t know English or care and that’ll assassinate the spiders after you pick up the book and fail the entire quest.

Nono to ALL game designers. Make challenges for people that like this type of fail devices and escort mission; make something really hard and frustrating and let them blow their minds on it. But please don’t add dumb features like that in regular quests. Because here’s the thing – forcing specific classes to do all the work makes it frustrating to a fault for the ones that are not that class.

But there was this tiny exploit, more like using the terrain. If you could jump up on this ledge and then over to a walkway there was a 33% chance that you might end up finding the second book there on the ledge and if you then finished you got the stone you needed without the ‘don’t kill 5 spiders’ thing being a serious hindrance.

Now this wouldn’t be so bad if you could refrain from killing 5 and not having to deal with spiders in the end fight – but what the dev did that created this quest was to add 4 spiders to the end fight. If you hadn’t killed any spiders on the way there you couldn’t fail (kill those 4 and you got the 1 to spare) but kill even 1 spider on the way and you could fail in the end fight. Again – the only way to safe guard yourself is to stone the spiders or something like that (like someone taking agro and moving the bad guy away from spiders) because by adding another insult to injury the end guy could kill the spiders themselves with fireballs by just firing off spells in the vicinity of those last 4. In other words, I saw failure after having spent 45 minutes to an hour and it was NEVER good.

By skipping the content and going to end fight without the 5 spider kill limit you lowered the amount of time you had to run around looking for books AND you didn’t have to worry about this arbitrary silly device that I personally find stupid.

But by fixing the jump spot in U21 (without announcing it) the decided to put dev time on fixing something NO ONE ASKED FOR and prioritized that over broken features on for profit classes that remains unfixed for years. Like the Arti pet starting to float when it walk up ladders.

Imagine what I find more important. A way for non insta kill classes to manage to finish an otherwise silly quest mechanic that should never had seen the light of day. Or making sure that stuff people bought with REAL money actually works as advertised. Failing twice with my bard set me up in a bad mode. Like having to stay just outside range trying to use fascinate to put the spiders to sleep, two was just outside it and as I killed the captors the spider evaporated against my guard effect. Trust me, I’m not going to redo my enhancements just so the spiders won’t take sonic damage missing my guy. That’s right MISSING him.

So I fail. In a quest designed for the few classes that can insta kill while everyone else sits back and holds their breath. And quest that can fail at the very end because of the sadistic need to put in a utter fail mechanism like that. I don’t like the quest myself – but it was at least tolerable with the jump thing. And now, well I can’t finish. I just don’t have time to redo this over and over and over just to get the perfect 5 spiders saved so I can do the end fight. I don’t have time to group for it and see that opportunity wasted because one group member don’t know how things work and don’t want to listen. Because that is how it used to be and that’s why I solo some quests. I refuse to waste my time on other peoples ignorance.

Thank you Turbine for once more not understanding that your old design need exploits like that because you have to be a sadist to like double fail mechanisms. Those are not challenges, because it’s designed specifically for insta killing captors, not for melee or messier AOE spells. I guess I have to TR into insta kill class just to finish an item since all shards are BTC, another dumb idea.

Hitting 28

I hit 28 yesterday and my pure bard is doing well. The dilemma is the same as always – bards really get screwed more than anything in regards to good named items that adds resonance or sonic lore. Sure, you can always carry a stick, but that would negate the use of single weapon fighting style. You could also create a thunderforged Orb, but now you need a lot of resources and it negates the use of other great items. So you’re back to square one (basically).

I’d love a GS 2 Epic vale type item, but when I checked I realized to my dismay (as usual) that sonic is not covered under greensteel. In fact other then some random stick about the best sonic lore item is the blasting chime and by the time you hit 28, that thing will be about 5-6 levels behind newer stuff. And with lore hitting 20% at cap, you’re stuck getting miles out of something lower and that mean that you can’t put something much better in trinket slot.

In a way I wish they allowed for lore on random items outside the narrow main/off hand types. Like a random ring with lore on it. Any lore. Or that they released some type of crafting scheme for cap items that allow you to add lore. Sorta like ToD rings but this time adding lore and not just spell power. Flexibility is good. Adding diversity that keeps people grinding for the things they think they need as suppose to items that adds some benefits but not in total.

Who knows, maybe ENecro might add a number of useful items, but as I understand it those where more of the quirky sort. Lots of caster based items with some great positives and some negatives.

I like bard

I didn’t use to. Back in the murky days I created what would have been a haggle bard. Just good enough to get to 20 and then it was going to turn stuff into plat. That was back when plat had value and there was a thriving market. That was also back when random items had no value (kinda like the post Shadowfells days when both plat AND random and most named items has no value).

So my bard turned into a mule. And there he remained until years later Turbine decided to get all ‘bards are cool’ and release a new enhancement (Swashbuckler) and redo two others. That made me curious. And I decided to invest some time in redoing my dusty Drow bard and see if I could make something out of it.

First – it’s clear that I don’t have enough gear to make it as well as I can, that’s alright. I barely had any tomes to give my Drow, especially now when tomes seems to be almost impossible to pull (remember that +2 loot the other weekend, the one that usually means that you pull a few tomes? Nah – cob web was more like it). But I can see a kernel of potential.

The thing with bards (and lets not pretend that I’m an expert) is that unlike some classes this one require a little bit of work to get into style. They’re not bad – but you probably should TR a few times for those additional ability points. Plus a couple of Sorc TRs (or whatever) adds evocation and it’s going to be useful with those new SLAs.

The reason why I like the changes is because the old bard was relegated to Buffing and weak in most other aspects. It was mainly crowd control with lukewarm DPS and no real offensive edge, either as a caster or skirmishers.

The new changes makes Spellsinger the caster type, Warchanter the caster fighter type and Swashbuckler the scrapper. And they’re okay with it. I like to combine Spellsinger and Swashbuckler and my idea is to run it on a draconic blue dragon destiny. That works well with Horns of thunder. Swashbuckler adds the in your face aspect of this bard build, with all the SLAs as additional damage. And most of the SLAs, like shout and horns of thunder hits for 500-1200 in damage. That’s pretty nice; the downside is that it’s a fairly short range, more like a cone. So getting close and dirty is a must to get the most out of those SLAs and that’s best achieved while stabbing something with a good weapon.

The benefit from this bard setup is a self sufficient caster skirmisher. With self healing, regeneration of SP, basic and essential buffs like blur and displacement along with whatever else is needed to get the most of the enhancement system and spells. This will work well with several items (at least in early epics) but less so towards cap. Like Sonic – the problem with this is that if you want to swashbuckle here’s nothing that works better than the chime from Canniths challenges. But it’s a Sonic lore 15% with 90 spell power deal. And while not bad certainly not the max at 28. You could add an augment, now you’re talking about 138 and better. Or you could tier 1 craft a thunderforged item and get 150. But then you’re giving up DPS, since you can only use weapon to get the benefit of Swashbuckling and there’s no sonic buckler or orb for late game stuff.

I’m opting for the libram anyways, but that also means saying goodbye some of the possibilities of a thunderforged orb. Such as using it for spell power and eventually tier 3 lore and perhaps Evocation DC for tier 2. That would go well with a all DPS type item like the citw rapier or a thunderforged one.

And that’s the basic dilemma. Give up Libram and additional lore crit and 11 charisma OR go for more sonic spell power and lore?

We’ll see, I’m only 24 yet and it’s going well, but I doubt it’s ready for EE. And that’s always the goal.

DPS is king, but not really

There’s one reason why DPS is king and that’s because very little else works in EE – but I don’t do EE all the time, in fact most of the time I do normal or hard, dependent on the quest and what I need to finish. I’m not in it for the ‘challenge’. Particularly after the first time. That’s not the same as challenging myself – I do that. Some people just have to play EE – good for them. So they’re flexing mortal fear thunderforged, multi classing with Monk and splashing Pally.

I look at what I like to play instead, find the solution to a particular problem and approve the odds until I’m able to do it without major issues, as difficult as I can. So when I first made my tier 2 thunderforged Scimmi and tier 2 Khopesh I had DPS in mind and then I started thinking. By inspiration I put a meteoric augment and noticed that the procs could knock over critters. So I figured 2 must be better than one – so I had some valor and mats and I created another scimmi, all with procs in mind for critter clearing (I usually burst multi arrow with fury shots to death, better temporary DPS). This one added 150 Devotion as tier 2 and the fire proc as tier 2, that’s 200-300 in fire AOE damage (5%) and tier 3 in the distant future will be the fire proc on crit with 2 negative levels on vorpal. With the Scimmi crit chance of 15+ it’ll be great where it counts.
And add to that 1 meteoric augment in each scimmi.

When it goes off it’s like 4th of July. The tier 2 proc is like a fire explosion and the 2 meteoric procs going off, some times at the same time (one from each side – kinda cool) will smack the goods out of anything. It works. I’m seriously considering creating a GS item with displacement clickies for when it gets REALLY hairy but the whole quick smack with lots of procs is nice. It keeps critters on the floor followed by occasional fury hits for the tougher stuff.

It’s definitely not ultimate DPS. First of all Scimmis. Better crit profile but only about 150-200 crit hits with my ranger. Add to that about 800-1200 fury hits. And since one has a tier 1 devotion it’s less dps overall. The procs are okay, I don’t know if the procs adds enough DPS to compensate for using scimmis or using less then ideal dps. But the key here isn’t about ideal or maximal DPS, but to solve an issue with being surrounded without a good way of knocking things over like stun or trip. Those features on my fighters makes their survivability ideal for pumping as much as possible into DPS.

The meteoric strikes are therefor great – it’ll knock things over long enough to add 1 or 2 more procs and I can’t wait for the tier 3 where it procs on crit – that’ll make things even better.

Ontop of this I’ve managed to pull a few more items to make my ranger a tad sharper (just need a few 3 to 4 upgrade tomes, dex and con and then a 4 to 5 for wisdom, just to add a few more SP). With the necklace from haunted I have more dex and con. That’s more hit points and more things like reflex. With a EE goat boots (with a sucky permutation) I have 15% alacrity for both melee and ranged. I need to find the trinket but I currently use the compass from TOR for true seeing and the augment slots. I’d love to find something that fills that ‘hole’ in my build that allows me to use a much better cloak than the Deadly of accurate. But these are small things. With a reflex save of 44 I’m doing okay – I’d love a much better reflex save but for what I need it for it’s doing it’s job. And that is what counts.

I like my Ranger

I sometimes evaluate things according to how useful a toon is in lots of types of quests. Not just maximum DPS. Like my Sorc delivers a barrage of spell that can clear out anything. It’s quite useful. Or my Arti – my arti excels in okay DPS through draconic and rune arm and the whole array of buffs and trap skills. And on the fringe we have my 2 fighters – one half tank but good 2 weapon fighting (while blitzing) and then the pure g-axe swinging half orc. He’s shelved right now because there’s no point dragging him into groups where he’ll require so much healing. Great DPS, just no self sufficient enough.

And then there’s my ranger (sure I got other toons too, but I’m trying to illustrate the bandwidth from specialization to massive DPS). He’s not superb DPS but good – using Fury of the Wild for those fury hits. Be it through multi arrow or just single hits. He sports a black dragon set, helmet and armor – 2 shadow weapons, a scimmi that will eventually become a mortal fear weapon and a khopesh that adds paralyze for tier 3 I will get it crippling flames. So Mortal Fear and a chance for negative levels. He also got a bow – and I’m thinking I want something more DPS for tier 3. Sure, mortal fear is nice, but a lot of the ranged bursts are aimed against bosses and mortal fear won’t really do much against them. True, there’s the force damage, but I’m thinking something a little more.

What makes my ranger so good is that it adds survivability – through a good reflex save, excellent dodge and other features like self healing. I still use a pair of con op goggles for that added SP, so I never run out while self healing. It’s great – and I proved it to myself by doing haunted halls and doing really well.

Not that my Arti or Sorc struggles, other then against Miior – both of them puts out lots of DPS, but it’s hairy against the white dragon and Miior is like 1 hit, run in circles until the stack goes away, then a few hits etc.

Now with my Ranger. Multi arrow will take care of whisper without worrying about the helmet horrors. The Mummy is a little bit hairier because of how the skellies keep spawning eventually overwhelming hirelings. But here’s where a good thing comes in – that meteor augment. 2% to fire off a meteor, doing fire and untyped damage. With a chance to knock down. I put it on my khopesh and it works.

Miior is actually a cake walk; other then the statues hits my Ranger won’t take electric damage (evades most of it) and with boots, ring and cloak, all adding electric absorb it’ll take a lot of stacks for that to ever count. So I just stand there, smack like crazy and add as much fury hits as possible. With a cocoon now and then followed by cure serious I’m good. Or you put the hireling healer away, tell him to stay and stand close enough to be healed but not to fry the healer and that part is even covered.

The giant skellie is just a matter of beating it up and then profit.

Even the white dragon is easy enough. The jumps and such will knock my Ranger over, but by circling and looking for the signs it’s easy enough to rotate. Most of the ice won’t hit him and I even have a cloak with some cold absorb. A few fury shots later and it’s done. To put it simply – he might not be the best DPS and most of it is burst, but through well rounded survivability and gear he’ll do most different quests without issue.

I’ve always liked him – from the many solo runs in Shavarath, slowly adding green steel items that provided survivability all the way to 28, where the different destinies have sharpened the edge a little. It might take him a little longer to clear a room, but he’ll do it without taking excessive damage. And that’s important too.

U22 revisited

I’m going to be honest; I was not happy with u22. Not because of E3BC mind you or anything else such as the guild ships. But because of yet another update with lots of new bugs and lack of polish. And I so wanted to like it.

So after my Ranger died a horrible death in a trap with a wonky trap DC – I took a breather – played some Warframe and got back in the game after a few days.
Update 22 is good – if you overlook the lack of polish and the broken mechanics. In fact I’ve learned to like the new ‘monster’ encounter – not because it’s ‘good’ but because while it’s mechanically broken the idea is pretty cool.

I really like precious cargo – it’s a fun ‘unusual quest’. I didn’t realize that you could finish the quest without being boarded by the massive ship but you can. Most of the time you will get boarded, but in this case they never manage to break the ship controls on the bridge and the ship kept on flying and the time ran out before they could ‘steal’ the engine.
I’ve also suffered one time when the pirates broke into the cargo hold and since there was no one there they plundered everything. I lost 3 chests and the chance of a named and to add injury to insult it was a time when I had managed to down 3-4 smaller pirate ships.

I have since learned that once the big ship arrives I will send all remaining crew to the cargo hold to guard the treasure. They’re going to get killed anyways and the large ship will break all remaining stuff. Might as well save the crew for other things.

I really like the items; I have one hat on my sorc – a great way to combine heavy fort, all the charisma he needs outside an additional +10 or +11 charisma item and true seeing. I also want one for my FvS. I also use the gloves on a lot of them; mostly for the heal amp and extra HP but also for the strength for secondary reasons like for my Arti – encumbrance.
I love the Rune arm, even if it struggles in EE and sometimes in EH. But for most part it delivers lots of 600-1200 hits and a lot of it is not saves, unlike before. Altho some of the critters still have a fantastic amount of reflex save – ridiculous so. The fix to rune arms so they take in account gear with evocation is great – it has really made a difference.
Speaking of gear; I now have an unlocked stealthy pilfer on my Arti and a unlocked libram on my FvS. They’re nice – I realize that this makes it very hard to find a good slot for something with true seeing since a lot of the trinkets comes with true seeing – but it has allowed me to combine a few things into one single great item. And now I can finally put the Cannith challenge belt in the bank – and replace it with something like con plus something else. Or whatever.

The current setup is pretty good – but lack maximized spell power. The Sage bracers for 20% Force crit. The stealthy pifler for everything but search (search augment added to the E3BC boots). EE Iron Beads for lightning lore and spell power – I know the rune arm comes with some but it’s not the 120 – it’s 114. Which is not shabby per say. Tier 2 shadow repeater – the one that’ll take me to mortal fear. I added a 138 impulse augment just to boost that as much as possible.

What I really want is a good deadly item for helmet – something like the dragon masque from the new raid. His search skill is now hitting 81 – 85 with GH and 4 more for find trap scroll. That’s almost 90 – that should be enough to find just about anything. Spot and such is not far behind either. Giving him a good solid advance warning of anything hidden.
All in all u22 is okay – I like the fact that you can easily teleport to any of the quests once you’ve done them previously and with the extended buffs you don’t have to go back and rebuff – you can now spend a few hours in the same place doing quests and wilderness stuff, which is great.

Update 22 and other stuff

I haven’t been playing DDO all that much. Pretty much since last time I posted. I think the whole ETR thing wore me out. And now with update 22 around the corner and other announcements I’m ready to get back in the saddle. U22 adds E3BC – I’m not entirely sold on the quests since most of them are of the ‘evade’ traps kind. It’s not really my thing; in fact when I ran it on Lam I took away that they’re translations of existing quests but not my cup of tea. Which of course doesn’t mean I won’t play them – I will. But they’re not going to be high on my list.

Then there are the new ‘monster’ encounter – pirate ships. I like the idea, but the AOE cannon stuff along with multum HP turns me off. Sure – they did seem to tune it down a little – but it’s still a HP grind – and the promise of boarding and destroying the ship from within is only possible with 1 or 2 of them. The others are just way to high up so we’re talking about standing there’s and beating it up. These are of course a couple of minor points but it negates the idea of many different tactics and make it nothing more then hit auto attack for x amount of minutes.

I’m more excited about changes to Paladins and armor in average with a better look at what heavy armor means compared to going without. Because right now no armor with evasion is king. And heavy armor might as well be like wearing tin foil. Shiny but inconsequential. With the changes coming PRR gets a boost for heavier stuff along with a new feature – MRR – Magic resistance rating. A way to resist magic incoming damage as part of wearing heavier armor – and I think a much better idea about the sacrifices with different armor types.

That gives the well armored player a boost in damage mitigation – the idea is that the no armor evasion tank gets hit for spikes of heavy hits (avoiding a lot of them) where as the heavy armor player have a more predictable damage distribution across the board.

The essential is a balanced approach where one takes massive damage in spikes and the other distribute the spikes across the board.

Then there’s a question of Paladins – they get more of a revamp where staying pure delivers the good stuff while splashing pally adds a benefit but not the entire enchilada. I think that’s great – instead of front loading Paladin splashes it’s not a question of light or heavy investment in Paladins – with the benefit of going pure. Which is really how most classes should work.

Hitting cap should be the best, unless you can finagle some kind of multi class that have a particular benefit without being so completely overpowering compared to doing a pure class. A pure class should be the master of its kind – a pure ranger should be either an excellent skirmisher (like tempest) or the best ranged (like arcane archer). A pure monk should always be sharper then a splashed. A pure fighter should always be a battle beast compared to a splash etc.

Right now x with Monk always have a better outcome than going pure – which is completely wrong.

And finally Epic Macabre. I’m not looking forward to it. Not unless they’re doing a serious rework of the quests. I don’t know if this means doing all the quests or just some as with E3BC – but all would add a tremendous amount of Epic quests that I personally would run much and some would at least enable Turbine to re-work them to be more solo friendly.

I know – some people just love to run in groups and I do too. But sometimes I want the freedom of running what I want and when and there are few Necro quests that works that way. Plus truth be told I find them boring.

The other thing is that it’s home to a raid that few dedicated groups run. And they are dedicated – but I’ve had my fill of raids with puzzles. I find them boring. Like the shadowdragon raid. There’s just too many mirror and special puzzles. And it’s no different than escorting Anna in CITW. I just doesn’t do it for me. Partly because functionally it’s so dumb. I get traps – but a choice of 2-3 special traps and what 6-8 ,mirror puzzles?

Vale would be a greater choice; there at least the puzzle is but one part. Maybe they didn’t see themselves trying to figure out Epic Green Steel but I have zero interest in Epic Macabre and those items.

True – there’s a potential to sell. Like E3BC most people don’t own Necro. Most people do own Vale. And this is a great way to add a little income for redoing old quests. I get why, I just don’t think it’s going to be met with great enthusiasm.