High expectations, low blows

I play a lot of games. Watch a lot of different shows and movies and have consumed and occasionally now, comic books and novels.

In my whole life I’ve consumed wonderful stories – everything from corny westerns, excellent dramas to pulp and mindless action.

Sometimes it becomes a lifelong friend; one with a bittersweet ending years later. Other a brief fling as the show either crater (and takes a piece of your soul with you – looking at you Firefly) or I give it up.

There are a lot of reasons why I lose interest and even weirder ones why I stay with it. Over the years I’ve seen some great stuff towards in end (but not always liked the ending) such as Castle, Psyche and Monk (among others) and given up on others (The Walking Dead, Grimm, lost etc). There is no specific rime or rhyme other then maybe expecting something more then corny fake human drama.

My wife however is a lot more loyal. She soldiers on despite admitting that it’s not as good anymore. Maybe simply out of wanting to know how it ends. Me I mostly watch or play games because of how it fulfill that need to emotional connection or dragging me out of the misery of normal life. I know that sounds a little pretentious, but normal life, in it’s repetitive state, isn’t all that fun. Our stages in life (for most people, not all – some are lucky to find passion and live every day in marvel and joy of that passion) is born, play, learn that the world is not just play, grows up, go to school and get thrown into work life.

Decades later you realize you’re a stuck in a cubicle, watching gray walls doing the same thing over and over.

Then you get older, your kids get older and you wake up one day and ask yourself when you look at who you are in the mirror, wtf happened and you want to scream. Except it’s 5am in the morning and you need to get ready for work. It’s Monday. Still dark outside. Your body creak with the stairs. Your eyes feel like someone blew sand in them and 10 minutes later your morning breath get a tint of breakfast morning blend coffee.

You dress, you prepare, you throw on some good smelly stuff, tries your breath to make sure you’re presentable and then drive to work.

You repeat that through the week until Friday comes along and now you promise yourself that you’re free and you’re going to die something. Like move the lawn, fix the house, drag your ass in the morning until you realize it’s Monday again.

So thank Gosh for games, shows and other means of distractions that allows me to forget that most of our lives are routine and artificial commitments.

Like adding a few more levels to my PK dualist. Like playing my Pally to grind for keys so I can do the Night Revels stuff so I can make a few augments for stacking Int and Wis.

So I can experiment with different build options as I wait for that moment when I think – or know – that I have reached a point of perfect contentment in my gaming needs (hope that never happens tho).

Or watch that show that fills me with simple joy, boundless mystery and ‘what’s next’. Like Lucifer. Genuinely excellent cast. Blacklist – hard for me to predict what is going on and how things are going to fit together. Longmire, very low key and down to earth. The strain – love the comic book and I love the show. Drunk History. I love history and it’s even better when told by drunk people.

So why did I write all this? I watched the 7th season premier (a bit of it) of the Walking Dead and I realize why I stopped watching it; corny evil.

This was billed as a ‘view of the human condition’ in extreme situation. And while it was okay at first, the corny even got repeated way to often and the failure to learn from past mistake too numerous. Like going from one similar situation to another.

The first few seasons the main characters police friend went evil bananas and then shot by the main character. Later on there was this governor that was evil bananas and went after the group and then it was the town of cannibalistic evil bananas and now you have this new bad guy and his bat and his cartoonishly evil bananas justifications.

There are evil in other shows I watch. In blacklist for example you have a ‘evil’ main character and a lot of other evil people, but they’re not corny or cartoonish. Their motivations are plenty and sometimes layered. But there are some that are simply silly. That is the one that comes across like he or she enjoys the mayhem. The one you’d expect to be the evil one, who’s motivations are simply to break bones and hurt people because it’s the perk.

Like the Walking Dead season premier.

I can’t remember one single historic figure that I know of that had this kind of cartoonish evil about them. Not even Nazis. And there were a lot of bad people among the Nazis. Evil.

You find these in a lot of silly movies. Like watching Commando the other day. Aaaanold being the hero with stupid one liners. The bad guy so over the top campy evil.

That is how all main bad guys in the Walking Dead reminds me of. The layer of reason why they do the things they do are almost all the same. There is little sophistication between their ‘evil’ actions.

Mankind are motivated by a lot of things. Fear, greed, ambition, mental flaws etc. But they’re not all the Joker out of Batman. Or the numerous early Bond Villains. Sometimes they are worse but with a strange sense of justification. Like Ghengis Khan, Hitler and Pol Pot. Other time mental, like Jeffrey Dahmer.

But you don’t see that many – in real life dramas, like the corny evil such as in that opener – and the same group falling into the clutches of another bunch of bad dudes. Over and over.

And if I really want over the top campy evil, I rather play some DDO and the many Xoriat quests. Because at least I can always clobber myself out of those.

Thank you for Cannith Crafting

It should be said more often; but Cannith Crafting have been a boon for me.

I have a LOT of toons. Max allowed. Most are mules but I do have an assortment of different ‘playable’ toons – most in Epic levels but also 15 and above. And the worst thing (up until the new random loot system and Cannith crafting) was that if you stopped playing one of them for a while they fell behind in gear. That is true in the days of ever shifting named items (until luckily BTA stuff).

This was also a particular nuisance when you look at what is most often ‘set’ gear for specific levels. Such as Thunderforged starting level 26 (now often replaced with LGS). You’re not going to be able to replace everything you got with Thunderforged which leaves you at the mercy of ‘lesser’ named items or random stuff.

Cannith crafting – even tho you have to go for intolerable mat runs sometimes, allows you to create standardized gears for level gap that fits specific classes and bridge the needs with more useful BTA items. This is particularly true around 20-25 where a lot of the gear is still the MOTU BTC (through harper and EGH) gear sets. From armor, weapons, trinkets and items.

This are better in the 15-20 and 25-30 gap where a lot of the items are BTA. This is where Cannith Crafting shines. Allowing you to create things like all HP belts which fits ANY class, gloves and bracers that fit (and other slots) that are essential to specific classes (like spell pen gloves for casters and doubstrike with armor piercing for melee). You can even be so granular that you make rings that fit specific caster types (say acid) or generalist such as sheltering of physical sheltering.

The point is simple; as your treasure trove of BTA crafted items expand they become more and more the foundation of leveling gear. Which is particularly true with generalist things like HP gear. Such as the for mentioned belt. Constitution of False Life of insightful constitution – often with either a heavy fortification augment. I now have several such as 15, 20, 23 and 30 (34). They’re good for all classes.

Or a host of caster neutral rings that include impulse (useful for all caster types) and sheltering. And now even with the Epic reincarnation of my Bladeforged Paladin – gloves with doubstrike, armor piercing and insightful strength. And a trinket with Strength, Wisdom and insightful wisdom. A trinket useful also for melee type divines and Monks.

So thank you Turbine for allowing me explore the mosaic of gear solutions, to standardize leveling equipment without the need to grind out different named items and for finding solutions to slotted gear that best fit the diverse ability needs for different classes.

And now for something different

Before I continue my current run as PK dualist (and the roaring 20’s) I’d like to do something that I did in 2012.

The importance of voting.

This is not about whom to vote for. Only why. First, let me state this. Lets not yammer on about how things are rigged. USA is not a banana republic. By statistics actual fraud is a fraction of 1 percent. I just want to state that without preference of candidate because it’s important to not de-legitimatize the function of democracy by acting butthurt.

I get the arguments that it ‘seems’ rigged but it’s both irresponsible and dangerous to make those arguments without any proof. It plays into hands of nations without legitimate democracies and it undermines the very foundation of a democratic system on a basic level.

We don’t always win and the only way anyone should win, is to have a movement behind you and work hard to get more people voting for your ideas than the other candidates.

In essence; that’s it.

But please vote. I get the frustration of people thinking their votes don’t matter and the established system don’t listen – but it’s not going to get better or change if we simply ignore our constitutional rights and vote for a person who have no interest in governing. Movements – or political change don’t happen at the top. It happens bottom up. And it should ideally be about how we want the nation to work for all and not a special snow flake situation of somehow guarantee things for yourself.


Other than my personal preference and ideas, I still think that everyone – even if it is for someone I don’t care for, should vote. This is what this nations founders put in place. Instead of rule by arbitrary lords and kings. Voting might not be unique – but it is a privilege that not everyone enjoy. And even in nations where you can ‘vote’ it’s not always free and legitimate.

So please vote. And please keep politics out of gaming. It doesn’t belong there.


Back to PK dualist

This weekend (Friday to be exact) my sorc hit 30 and right away turned around and hit the reincarnation circus. That doesn’t mean he right away started leveling up from 15 (iconic Deep Gnome), no first I decided to supplement any gear with crafted stuff.

Which meant I spent most of Saturday grinding for mats. Which is the effect of the new crafting system and the silly tiered way of doing things. There’s nothing more pointless than spending hours doing low end quests for mats just so you can craft a few items.

But lets not gripe about that; once I had the numerous items that I needed it was time to do a few quests before turning in and get back into it on Sunday.


In general terms the trinket slot is usually hotly contested for Epic levels but fairly open ended in heroic. Not anymore with the new crafting system – allowing you perhaps the most flexible slots of all that can combine pretty much anything crafting have to offer. Evident here with me using an old shard of power to make an int item out of it with spell focus mastery.

I of course didn’t realize how powerful this was until after I created my goggles (see below), but it’s not until the lower 20’s where regular focus items become stronger than Spell Focus Mastery. In this case it’s almost pointless to use any other item save a few named ones for focus. Especially things you craft and even a lot of named items in the same level range.

I might redo the goggles in the future to add something else with the insightful, or simply use the goggles out the f2p quest where I got the circlet from. Yes, it’s still Illusion focus 3, but it also adds +2 insightful Illusion and +1 Quality Int along with true seeing.

That way you can use the stick that deep gnomes get with +2 insightful illusion. All combined into a fairly well stacking set of items that makes sense.


I’m going to be honest here. I’m sure there are better boots in the same level range, I just didn’t feel like checking through all my alts or for that matter research any. This adds plenty of spellsight and some balance, all useful.


These ones are my favorite right now since it fill a fairly unique role that’ll benefit all caster types. There are a lot of items that provide spell pen. But not insightful spell pen. I debated whether I should do heal amp or spell lore, but I felt I needed some source of lore to go with the circlet and to round up the general need for spell crits.


This is an old robe that might not be the most ideal for casters, but it works for my needs. I could potentially craft something with heal amp, but I like the fact that it has some useful features (and also some unpredictable xoriat features).


This is pretty much a staple among my toons. Either this or the level 21 version. Cloak or brazers. There are a few competing cloaks in the same level bracket but if I would ever switch over to one of those, I will most likely switch to the mysterious bracers.


I mentioned above that I use +3 spell focus master part of a crafted trinket, which makes any +3 focus fairly pointless. There are few items (at the same level) that offer more, other than say the sage necklace with +4 evocation. In this case it’s almost smarter to go with the named goggles I mentioned above rather than trying to glue together what will be inferior goggles for my use.


I opted for this necklace instead of the +4 evocation sage. Much of it because evocation isn’t the largest and most important focus in my build – illusion and enchantment is, and this uniquely benefit enchantment.


As for rings goes; I’m relying on the on combo of sheltering and force per usual. Less so on rings that also include spell power. Most of that is covered by the circlet.


There are a lot of possible combinations to be added – rings are very versatile that way. This one as you can see add SR and dex, dex so I can ensure maximum dodge bonus.


The ring above goes hand in hand with these pair of bracers. Adding more fortification (always good), dodge bonus and more SR.


This will always be a staple among my different items and the belt slot is almost perfect for it. It now covers 15, 20, 24 (I believe) and more.This allows me of using the highest standard for HP item. I will most likely also add a vitality augment.


I do wish there were more extra slots to pick from; things unique for casters. Other than that, this is the standard fair – spell power and insightful.


Finally the circlet. This is almost a given when it comes to solid spell power items. With a total of 104 in potency it servers as a great bridge between focusing on a few more powerful bonuses to spell power and having one item doing the leg work.

The mainstay of this build is doing as much insta killing as possible anyways, with a few DPS spells for backup.


I’ve done this type of build before; when I ran up 3 deep gnomes for my warlock. Pking only becomes better with time – triple reincs of Deep Gnome provides not only more spell pen from the wizard past life, but also +3 illusion and 15 acid spell power from the iconic deep gnome. Enough to make the build that more competitive

That will most likely mean at least 1 deep gnome arti to capture all those past life benefits (since I did a wiz already before but not as deep gnome). .


Sometimes you have terrible times

No amount of DPS can help you when hirelings go derp (specifically healing) and you’re a air savant with only 1 single spell that can hurt an Epic creature, and it’s not your most powerful lighting based attack – it’s meteoric storm. Like against spectral beholders and such. Immune to electric damage.

And of course hirelings refusing to heal themselves. Because, well at one point they did and then Turbine spent the next few patches breaking their script and shrugged and more or less wrote them off.

And while you’re falling through is trying to dps an undead beholder without the big bangs the least on your mind is to toggle healers between attack and defend just to get them to wake up again (and most of the times now a days they don’t anyways).

Simply put; I so wish Turbine got serious about fixing hirelings. Just strip them of all the nonsense script and start fresh. Remove most of the silly features they have that they never use and make the few that make sense work.

A) hirelings on defense should never a) be glued to you so it dies in an enemy AOE while it refuse to heal itself and you

B) keep either hitting or firing of shitty spells while your toon is dying.

C) allow other stuff to die and then spend more SP ressing them.

D) Run back and forth through traps or even remain in them.


Trust me; it’s not hard to script this behavior.

How Cannith Crafting makes my (add toon) better

This weekend I ran mostly by sorc again, since I have decided to go back to Pk Dualist and I’m not interested in doing something else with my Warlock (for now) or start a new toon. I have enough toons already.

So since I had ER’d it a while back I was now at level 20 and have started the climb towards 30, for a swift turn around to Iconic Deep Gnome. I am ambivalent on this; as a sorc goes he’s pretty darn good and I hate to lose that type of DPS, but I also like to play around with a wiz for a bit – if I ever make him a sorc again, 1 or 2 more Wiz will do him good.

But this isn’t really a discussion about this weeks questing that took me from level 22 something to level 26 – doing all of the ES 1-3, Harper and eventually E3BC and now past the first Shadowfell and onward to the second quest line and 2 Saga completions.

No this is more about the tools. From the initial 20, change at 22, some more at 24 and now 26. Some of it is named of course but more importantly – how prominent the use of the new Cannith Crafted stuff have been.


In the past I’ve used a mix of Chronosphere set bonuses (the robe and 3 other times) since it adds benefits to Evocation. I have a complete set like this on my Paladin, and an almost full set for my Wiz. Most importantly the robe, but also the cloak, boots, bracers and helmet. I’m only missing another seal for the gloves, altho I really don’t need the full set per say. Not that Con isn’t good to have or the epic conjuration, but there are a few better items I can consider using instead, especially now when you can make your own ‘stuff’.

My initial setup was the helmet from a Web of Chaos, the sage necklace, con op GS goggles, a crafted belt with constitution, false life and insightful constitution (level 20), the Chrono set pieces mentioned above (minus the helmet since I was going for 3 set, not 5 set), 2 crafted rings to add some lore and sheltering and the Hunter’s Spyglass.

I had a stick that gave me magnetism with insightful magnetism and the Wizards Ward (orb) with Impulse. That adds some spell pen, +2 focus Mastery and spell power. At 20 it’s a little weak, but I figured I’d save some mats by using most of what I have named wise, and then craft a few pieces to go with it.

This worked okay; I don’t run EE since I don’t want to waste resources, and it’ll work just fine on EH, even a few levels under quest ML.


I did consider doing something for level 22, but I decided to wait a few more levels since there was no pressing need to exchange a big part of the setup for something marginally better.

So at 24 I created several new items – including sticks, necklace, rings, gloves and belt. For rings I updated the lore and sheltering – to similar of what I had at level 20. That allowed me to drop the orb and go for 2 updated sticks. Impulse of insightful impulse and another magnetism of insightful magnetism.

For necklace I went Evocation of Charisma with insightful Charisma. This allowed me to first remove the 10th anniversary gloves I was using at 20 (with +4 insightful Charisma) and then replace those gloves with better ones. Spell Pen of Spell lore with insightful spell pen. Which is a clear upgrade from the +2 spell pen from the orb.

I updated the belt but as ML 23 instead, since the Constitution and the insightful constitution ticket up at 23 with only a minor adjustment in false life at ML 24. I rather be able to put on something better one level lower than get an marginal few more HP at level 24. Not that you save any resources btw – power is set by the ML shard – whether it’s ML 1 or ML 34, the cost of the constitution shard is the same.


Once I hit 26 I’m now able to use some of the better named items and therefor rely less on crafted items.

Such as the ToEE set of armor and stick. It’s also possible to equip Legendary GS and even thunderforged (tier 2). There’s both good and bad here. First, if you want the best focus possible you can easily use thunderforged. If you don’t mind slightly lower, you can always use crafted items (5 vs 6). The ToEE stick adds both lore, spell lore and spell pen, but it together with the armor also adds 20 Universal Spell Power. Not entirely insignificant. Plus a little bit more Spell power over all (Thunderforged is 150, ToEE 156). Add to that a Legendary GS stick. It’s not tier 3  yet, but even at tier 2, it has 150 stacking Spell power and +7 insightful Charisma.

Add tier 3 and you also have the tier 3 bonus effect. I’m not entirely sure what I want to do here, but I will probably wait until I IR before I add a tier 3 – because what’s good for a sorc isn’t always suitable for a Wiz.

I also redid my enhancements trees by dropping some race traits and harper and concentrate more into Eldritch Knight. Partly to be able to use light armor, but also a few more things that adds force spell power and some shield stuff.

lgs-stick-26This is the LGS stick. It current add electric spell power and positive +7 insightful. I will most likely change that to either a con op item or something else that provides +7 int.

toee-stick-26This works great in conjunction with a good ToEE armor. In this case light to add some PRR and MRR. It also adds spell pen which replaces some of the effects on the gloves (see below).


The search and spot is a little bit of a waste. In reality I should have added something more useful, but there was also a matter of mats. I have plenty of mats for spot, but not for some other things. This is useful both for any of my casters. Either for disco ball, hold monster or anything that require enchantment. It’s less useful for something like my Warlock but definitely for a future wiz.


There are a few armor in the 25-29 range – but none that fits as nicely as this ML 26 armor. The stacking effect with a ToEE stick is nice as well.


I have these in both cloak and bracer form and at almost all different level versions. It’s nice to have stacking type of effects – both for heal amp but also MRR. Altho you can very easily craft that, just not this powerful (at that level).


This as you can see is an updated version – since I had an impulse stick at 24 that I now have replaced with named items, I needed an okay source of impulse (which is highly recommended to get the most out of shiradi casting). As you can see at 26 the crafted version of MRR is still inferior to the Mystical named items. And also impulse compared to thunderforged or ToEE.


I like these boots. They have aged okay; maybe not for the melee and ranged alacrity, but definitely for the FoM and absorb. Sure, there are always other boot options such as (perhaps) LGS, but this one cover 2 good things to have (absorb and FoM) and that’s good enough for me.


These are the gloves I created for ML 24. There’s almost no point to update it to maybe get one more percentage point out of something. Spell pen is now covered by the ToEE stick and this adds a little bit more stacking.


I didn’t replace this right since again it boils down to miniscule differences and a waste of resources. Altho it’s less useful given that the ToEE stick have the same amount of Lore. But as sheltering goes it does the job.


Another item I don’t need to update yet. It adds a significant amount of HP for a ML 23 item and it’s such a waste of resources to update for a slight bump in a stat.


This cloak adds electric crit multiplier. It’s not tier 3 yet, but right now it adds 30 percent more. Not as useful for a wiz, so there’s always possible that I might look around for something crafted or named. Possible a Int based crafted cloak.


I finally gave up the spyglass for a more updated trinket. In this case since I redid my enhancement trees, I also added a bunch of empower SP reduction. This brings it up to 8 out of 15 so basically slight more than half. So for 7 SP more I can now empower regular spells. Again, I might just save those enhancement points for something else, but for now things are a little cheaper and a little bit more powerful.

The potency helps to boost a lot of the spell powers I’m currently not covering. This is especially useful in combination with the spell lore for those Shiradi procs. And to top it off a little bit better Necromancy. Maybe Evocation, Necromancy and Enchantment to most important focuses.


I didn’t update the necklace, eventho I could easily create a similar and skip the expensive insightful charisma (due to having +7 on the LGS stick). But I figured I’d wait a little and save the mats.


And finally – the helmet I created for level 22. Since the most important part – spell focus mastery – didn’t go up at 26 (not until 30) I figured the slight increase in insightful fort and wizardry wasn’t worth the expenditure.


All in all I’m okay with the stats. It could be better, but it works for what I’m trying to do and to get to 30 so I can turn around and IR.


Going back to PK Dualist

There are currently 2 things going on that I like to do ‘more often’ than not. Grinding slavers for mats – easily done on my Vanguard or Warlock – or doing EE solo DQ raids on my Vanguard.

There are reasons for this; like working on a set for the slavers. 3 total items to craft (so a bazillion years) and 2 of the named ones. THEN doing the same for melee.

I don’t know how I’ll keep my sanity, but I’ll worry about that later.

Then there’s my Vanguard doing solo the solo raid. My aim is to hit 20 and hopefully pick up some shards on the way. I never did manage to unlock ring of spellstoring. But I’d love too. But there’s also the item that gives you mass DW. So there are still items from the old Epic level 20 line up that can be useful.

I also want a torc. Perfect for adding a few hundred SP for my Vanguard. Not as a permanent add on, but a switch in, get smacked a little then switch back. I might write up something about those runs – but I’m sure I’m not unique in being able to run that raid on EE.

But I do want to go back to PK dualist. I liked it and I think it’s time to get my sorc to 30, then IR to deep gnome.