I am looking forward to Crafting

When people didn’t find crafting useful anymore; I did. Always making something to create a stop gap item. I’ve posted about it before.

The new system, echoing the new random system (minus a few options unique to random items) allows even greater flexibility than before. Well, other than flexible shards.

This section explains the new system. The fundamental of the new system is that you create a shard for the ML you want and then it’ll automatically adjust the value of that option to the ML used. This is similar to the random system where you pull an item at say ML 15 and the values are set according to what an ML 15 item should have. However the major difference is that a random item can get a bonus to the value, unlike Cannith crafted items.

That means that Cannith crafted items are always going to be reliably X and that among random items you can find items that have an edge compared to crafted ones.

Another major change is that the augment slot, colored or not, adds nothing to the overall ML of an item. In other words; whether or not you have 1 or 2 augment slots, the value of the item will be the same regardless.

I’m glad I saved a few items with augment slots, because that makes those items super interesting, unless of course there is something about those items that won’t function the same as augmented items today.

The new crafting system will support both bound and unbound items, but no word if the BTA type items you can find in some lower end quest chains function the same as now; where you can use bound shards and the item remains BTA.

I hope it does; because we also know that BTA items generally (as far as I’ve seen anyways) do not drop with augment slots. Making BTA useful of course, but only in the context of not being the absolute best solution for everything.

Another change is also that we’re now talking about ONE school and ONE ingredient. Instead of having major and lesser of all types, there’s only ONE type plus collectibles as before. That cuts down on the need to have all type of mats in your bag, or level up all kind of schools. It’s a simplified system that keeps the complexity of crafting options intact. Minus the fact that there are no flexible shards.

And that is really the only bad thing about this system. Flexible shards represented the option to take one effect that would normally not fit on say a trinket and use it there. Which made all gear options more diverse.

Turbine states that with the new more flexible crafting options which includes not only prefix and suffix but also bonus and insightful, each item still offers a lot of flexibility over the more rigid prefix and suffix from before. And it’s true; the new system allows more stuff to be crammed onto an item; but it still imposes a rigid system of what can go on say a trinket as suppose to a ring.

Only time will tell of course how inflexible (or flexible) that might be.

I am however looking forward to being able to create ‘straight’ items. Particularly for spellpower/lore stuff. This is particularly useful in earlier levels, such as doing an iconic reincarnation where you sometimes have to rely on specific named items for some effects (like the rock boots for acid) or several to provide something like impulse damage and kinetic lore.

I crafted a trinket a long time ago that provides both lore and spell power for that, but it’s weak since it was post the new more generous system.

It will now be possible to create rings with both lore and spell power of the same type and create consolidate early level runs to fewer items, that works well with the many BTA items you can now get from many different quests in the 12-15 level bracket. And even if you can find random items that have both the same lore and spell power, they are very rare. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of items today that provide those synergies – true.

What that really means is that Cannith crafting still remain a stop gap item solution and not really one to compete with both named and better random pulls. But it allows you to standardize equipment options and especially for toons you run a lot less and that might not have all the standard item options out there. And that has always been the real strength behind crafting anyways.


I’m still here

I’ve been playing a lot of other games. But now and then I jump into DDO, finish off a level or 2 and move on.

My recent obsessions is Total War Warhammer. but to lesser extent Galactic Civilization III.  I also played a lot of World of Tanks, but I’m over that now. In fact I had at least 2 weeks left of premium time and just gave up. It is even more broken than it was when I took a year long break and even fewer in the community cares.

The standard response is to get lost. People think that shrinking the community is better than to expand it. We tend to get this ‘it’s the only way’ just because a Developer did or said something. I know; it’s ‘their’ game. But many times developers are blinded by the few super users who blows smoke up their asses. The reality isn’t that regular folks know better; but it is a business and when a large part of the community don’t like something – there might just be a problem.

In this case like in so many other player vs player games it boils down to balance. That’s not as important in DDO – a game without a real PvP game, but balance is still important. Ergo the many discussions about difficulty, elitism and ‘how easy it is’.  But it’s still a business.

And the long term viability for a game should always be in the best interest of Developers.

World of Tanks isn’t the only game that ‘simulates’ tank combat. War Thunder is another one; but there just as in reality seeing and hitting first is more important than as in World of Tanks where everything has hit points.

The problem then boils down to DPS. Just as it does in DDO. Now imagine if you’re a slow hitting tank that is basically without protection and where less armored targets are better off. That sounds like DDO and tanking prior to the first armor up. Once MOTU dropped the heavy hitter scene died out completely. Other than the vexing few fighter types, both barbarians and tanking died.

That is less of an issue in a game where you can reincarnate and where you don’t play other players – but in WOT it’s detrimental to the whole idea of classes and rock paper scissors. When only paper and scissors work, the entire game is completely skewed when people want to play rocks.

However as soon as Total War Warhammer dropped I could effortless leave WOT behind and get my gaming need by playing an excellent adaptation of the Age of Strife in one of the richest lore in a fantasy world that dates back to the first pure war table top games of the good old 80’s and 90’s.

There has been several adaptations of the universe, but few have been as successful at capturing the grit of the Warhammer battlefield.

TWW is a game that borrows from the feature rich engine of the Total War games – constantly improved to provide a better and more ‘natural’ feeling, and the lore and beastiary of Warhammer.

If you haven’t delved into the universe is one where Man is surrounded by Greenskins, Undead and Chaos and aided lightly by Elves and Dwarves.

Normally Total War is about periods of war and expansions through history. It started with Medieval Japan during the shogun Era, continued with Rome and Medieval Europe and ended with Empire building in Europe during the 1700’s. And all of the eras have been treated with a second version using an updated graphic Engine and great improvements in the GUI and unit behavior and effects.

This have all put in good use in TWW. There are differences. While the other games had some different factions with unit types unique to a country or faction or a slight edge in some statistics dependent on what faction you picked – Warhammer offer a little more than cosmetics and statistical difference.

Not only do factions play differently, but they also have different attitude towards war and tactics. The game comes with 5 factions to start out and another factions (chaos beastmen) will be added in the end of July.

Currently you can play Empire (humans), Dwarves, Greenskins, undead and Chaos.

Humans and Dwarves are the most defensive. However humans at least have strong cavalry troops as well as artillery and ranged. Dwarves are all infantry with a few specialist troops like gyrocopters.

Greenskins are mostly melee but with both ranged and a few artillery units. Chaos have exactly one artillery unit and very few ranged. In contrast Undead have no ranged units but several good flying units instead.

Again – all of them play differently, have different goals and fundamentally are niched towards a typical playstyle.

Dwarves are entirely defensive with a strong but slow counter offensive. They have many type of ranged units as well as artillery. I covered Humans, but range and artillery wise they are almost as diverse as Dwarves. Main difference is that Dwarves are almost all well armored where as Humans are average.

Greenskins are very motivated to war and melee. Their strength is in a diverse melee and cavalry mix with some ranged (mostly for harassment) and artillery. They’re also further motivated by ‘fightiness’. It’s an additional motivation to go out a beat someone over the head. When Greenskins are inactive the flightiness meter goes down and there’s more unrest among troops and there’s a risk for defections. When it’s up and max, it can lead to a whaag. Whaag is when Greenskins goes into a complete frenzy and can spawn a full army of greenskins that the player can point in one direction, but not control.

It’s one way of creating a wave of Greenskin armies that trounces anyone in their path. Undead on the other hand need to corrupt lands before they can control them. Otherwise they take additional damage outside their own territory. Another fly in the ointment is that if the controlling general (lord) dies, the rest of the army dies with it. Moral therefor works differently; undead don’t flee like living troops. Undead takes additional damage as the lord lose control. So one way of winning against undead is to target all their leadership and watch them crumble completely.

Chaos cannot conquer territory. They instead destroy and enslave. Their entire goal is to kill, maim and subvert in the name of their chaos gods. They’re also the hardest to play since their entire economy comes from destroying and raiding areas, as suppose to conquer and control like with the other races.

The developers have promised to release many different unique unit types, campaigns and entire factions. The next one off the block is Chaos Beastment, but we’ve yet to see lizardmen, dark elves, high and wood elves, as well as Chaos dwarves and other undead types – since only a fraction of the game world is covered.



a new beginning

A new life

I hit 30 Saturday, turned around and reincarnated to a Warlock human life – did some Khortos Island quests and ate an Otto’s rock and hit 18. Then spent a few hours Sunday doing all Vale quests for the 20th.

I’m back to Warlock after 3 lives with 2 Gnome Wiz and one Gnome Arti. That finishes off my 3 Wiz lives and 1 Arti (for 3 Iconic Gnome). All in all more spell pen and +3 illusion DC with +15 Acid Spell power.

My hope is a more robust upper level spell pen if not I’m hitting FvS for 3 lives just to eek out more of it. At some point however it’s either do or bust because there’s nothing worse than playing upper level arcane without accomplishing much.

I must say that the Iconic Gnome Wiz was a pleasant experience. It’s hard to argue against dual PKs and the second time around it was even better.

And despite not having the best rune arm or best repeater, the Arti Gnome was pretty darn good. I had the grace of good BTA gear and such and even with a light repeater and the Gnomes light weapon specialist, it worked out quite nicely. So much so that I definitely going to reinc one of my Arti’s (my human) that have plenty of rune arms and repeaters. Even the good one; needle.

It’s odd to be back in Warlock but it’s familiar territory and now I even have a good PK for Epic Hard. I never used it before. But with 2 FOD (one SLA and one spell), one PK, one Devour the soul, One Power Word Kill, Circle of Death and WOB, there are plenty of insta killing features in his arsenal.

And of course a host of cheap average and SP free main attacks with a few other CC stuff such as tentacles and Web. I’d love a dancing ball, but then I have to try a different pact and I’m good with the acid one. Particularly since I have so many acid based items already.

I debated for a while if I would do another iconic and spare my Otto’s. I’d do a Purple Knight and was ready to blow away the one fighter level just to go pure (I like devour the soul so I don’t mind going pure).  That would be perfect if I wanted to do some ES just for melee/caster combo. But I sorta wanted to use one of the new hair cuts and facial hears that both Gnome and Human gets.

I hope all races gets that treatment. New facial stuff just to diverse even more.

vanguarding with more power

Diversifying my fighters

I used to have more pure fighters, but most of them are now the 2’s and such mixed in for effect. The only pure one I have is my vanguard, but I do have a 18/2 (pally) Bladeforged one. I mention this because of the Kensei pass and to see if there are any good reasons to invest deeper into the Kensei tree unlike before. And for sure it does.

At first blush Turbine have removed some of the monkish features that took up a huge portion of the tree. There are still some features there, but now it’s more of a general fighter with functional overtures to Monk – than strictly Monk based on being centered. Clearly a much better use of the tree overall.

The easiest way to describe the changes is that where Barbarian have survivability through temporary HP and often massive spike damage, Kensei is the type of tree that provide solid above average DPS deeply anchored in sustainability and tactics.  And it still remains one of the most splashable classes and trees around.

Particularly now with stronger core features. Making the tree itself an easy 6 splash in many skirmish and DPS builds.

But Update 31 isn’t all about Kensei, eventho it’s a main class change – there are also 3 new F2P quests – both as heroics and Legendary. I mentioned 2 of them previously so I’m very curious about the third one. Hopefully it is as long and entertaining as the other two.

Red Fen Redux

Red Fenning

I hit 21 finishing off the demon in the pit in the final red fen quest. Up until that point the combination of acid rune arm and epic double crossbow worked.

Then comes red named bosses and things were not entirely up to code. The issue with the combo isn’t lack of okay DPS, it’s that arti’s don’t have that one thing. The big nuke. The sustained nuke. But they do have basic cc (tactical detonation), maybe a half okay boom (acid energy burst – twisted) and an array of simple things.

Heck, even PK works (Gnome iconic race feature) as long as you don’t run EE. And okay that it works situationally. In fact in combo with double crossbows neg level ability PK can go off more than enough. And if you manage to fit an okay  illusion item into the mix you might even be half okay with it.

On EH it’s one of those 60-70 percent chance which is good enough.


Hitting 20

Hitting 20 doing something new/old

Back in the day, before Epic levels, there was Shavaraths battlefield. The highest level quests with the top level wilderness. And I cut my teeth soloing there first with my FVS and later on my ranger and other toons. I had the path pat down. I hit all the explorer using a familiar loop and even did all the slayer at some point.

But since Eveningstar and all the new content I have not visited the area, unless the new Shavarath quests counts – but then you never have to run the wilderness to do them.

I had 1 bubble left and I had done most of the Eveningstar ones. To tell you the truth I was tired of doing the same harper stuff to eek out the final few levels. I’d done enough the past week to make me feel exhausted. Mostly because I don’t find them inspiring at all. And after hitting Wheelon and such the harper ones are dreary.

So I figured I try something else. And out to Shavarath wilderness I went – a perfect place to raid with an Arti because of the Li 2 GS repeater and the ability to add silver to the damage through Arti buffs.

I vaguely remembered how I normally did things but once you start running muscle memory took over and soon enough I had hit all the vital spots, done 4 rare out of 12, all 14 explorer and tallied up almost 600 slayer. And as I did the final pit fiend – the devil that can snare you with chains (see image) I hit 20 and after looting the chest I was out of there.

It was fun to reminisce over things that were. It was fun doing the whole run and how different the experience was from those early days when I feared some of the red/orange named. And it was interesting how hitting some areas I could remember past adventures – from entering quests to good runs.

So much of that is lost due to more content and more efficient ways of getting stuff done. That’s not a bad thing – adding more content is good. But it is also digging into so many years of fun. We’re fewer now.

I remember times when the guild ship was overrun by people buffing. Every public area had dozen of people running around. Now when I enter these old areas I don’t really see anyone. It’s like having the universe for yourself.

taking break

My Gnome artie – almost 20

I’ve spent a lot of time lately playing other games like World of Tanks. Not because I’ve given up on DDO – on the contrary – but because the events that conspired that turned DDO into slower than molasses sorta sucked all the fun out of it.

It’s not entirely out of the weeds yet; at times there will be lag but not crippling. And I haven’t tried raids yet so I don’t know if everything is somewhat similar – not crippling but sorta annoying.

That killed my entire mood for the 10th Anniversary. I made some stuff, but not nearly as much as I wanted. I just didn’t feel like doing any of it. The irony of then jumping into WOT and experience the feral children and a game in crisis with a server population that is crumbling and worsening balance issues seems quaint compared to DDOs problems. But for all the frustration the servers function. I’m not lagging out and while some days are just horrible with teams that crumble within minutes because of the tremendous problems, it’s still functional. And it’s a breather of sort.

But I’m still playing DDO. And I’m inching towards 20.

What you come to miss doing Arti compared to an arcane caster is reliable insta killing and CC. Sure, Arti got some but it’s not as good or as destructive as dancing balls and arcane nukes.

It takes quite a little longer to destroy mobs using rune arms and crossbows. And considering how deep the investment into the gnome racial tree goes – it also removes some of the investments into Arti SLAs – some of which works nicely. The trade off is a stronger repeater with better crit range – making casting weaker in turn. This is clear when I compare my regular Arti and this build. Blast Rod for example is an excellent and useful SLA providing close to 1k in damage with an AOE/Cone shaped short ranged attack. But useful in combination with tactical detonation. That is also true in some respect with lighting sphere. Altho lightning sphere is slower and a little bit more situational, it is a good cheap spell to use in combination with everything else.

But that’s alright. I’m not trying to build another Arti – I’m just running up the third Iconic Gnome life and then most likely back to Warlock.