The extended weekend

I was off Thursday and Friday, adding a few additional days of playing. It paid off too as I first ER’d when u28 went live and then leveled 24 to 28 over the weekend.

So far so good. I started out doing LD since I wanted to line up an ER in LD. Adding a total of 9% doublestrike is nice and my next goal is to get 2 more in on FotW for 9 in doubleshot. But I’m also interested in DC – that adds PRR. True – 9 additional PRR will only get me a little above 100 but every single thing counts.

Ultimate I’d love to IR into a Purple Knight or Bladeforged just to get that level 15 to 30 bracket up and running. Not that it’s all that quicker or easier, but there’s a lot of great swap in and out gear now for 15 that makes the trip easier and less of a wardrobe malfunction.

I mention that because currently U27 and U28 adds a lot of great heroic gear. All BTA. The mysterious cloak/bracers handle all the MRR and heal amp needs and the U28 gear a bunch of stacking ability points. The gear themselves are pretty okay too. Add to that U27 weapons and you’re set. Maybe armor from the level 15 Xoriat harbor quests or for melee, a good level 14 black dragon armor.

rapidshotta ranger

Ranger Destinies

I currently play a 16 Ranger, 2 Fighter and 2 Paladin.

It’s a simple Tempest/Deepwood Sniper build with a little invested in Arcane Archer. The primary form of attack is 2 weapon fighting with ranged manyarrow for burst damage. The strength at 28 with gear is a solid 50 with close to 40’s for dex and con. Nothing noteworthy. I can still eek out a little more by doing a third reinc.

It was my second char I ever made but I haven’t played it much since the second expansion and the drips and draps of changes to PRR and now added MRR. Plus the tempest tree was never all that strong – making it a weak build that couldn’t take a good hit. Now with the changes to Tempest and Deepwood, that has changed.

As you can see by the class tree I try to do as few clickies as possible. There are enough of those to go around when cleaving and such – no matter what Destiny you pick. I did use a few of them in the beginning but I realized after heavy use that I had more then enough to keep track of without having to worry about stacking tiny bleeding damage.

Even without destiny and your basic 2 cleaves there are still a few things to activate now and then.

4 Basic Destinies

It’s true that there are more than 4 Destinies for melee, but realistically and particularly for 2 weapon fighting, there are only 3 – the 4th being almost entirely ranged.

You could to an assortment of tanking destinies, divine, arcane etc but it’s only practical with specialized builds.

That’s not to say that you can’t have a ranger monk using the monk destiny or a sneaky deepwood sniper that use the rogue destiny, but since my build is a fairly straightforward melee I will cover what works best for my build – but the sky can be the limit.

Ranged – all in

Rapidshotta Shiradi Champion

It’s worth mentioning that Shiradi Champion is not the ideal Melee/Ranged hybrid since so much of it is on boosting ranged, but it is to the ranged spectrum of the build with some okay options for self healing (healing spring).

As so can see from the basic setup it’s standard ranger fair. You can save some points by respec Stay Frosty once you get Rainbow (competing stance) but since I use Stay Frosty as an excellent twist, it’s still in the tree.

A note on Stay Frosty. It’s an excellent tier 1 twists. There’s a fairly okay chance to slow down enemies when it proc’s so I don’t use it primarily for the cold damage.

Heavy Hitter

Rapidshotta Legendary Dreadnought

With Legendary Dreadnought you can do solid, stable DPS. It’s not a tree for self healing, so cocoon or similar is a must, but it is the tree for both melee and ranged, both off and on blitzing Generally without the effect of Blitz you’ll see about 600-1000 in crit damage, both from melee and ranged. That will pop up to the 1300 range while blitzing. Note – this is per weapon so the compounded effect will be determined by what combinations you use. Don’t be surprised if you see a solid 400-1k range with the upper range for Khopeshes and lower for scimitars and the like.

Right now I’m using a fire based ToEE khopesh and the one from update 28 – that in combination with a ToEE armor adds 20 melee and ranged power. But I am tempted to check out what 2 of the u27 khopeshes can do for you since that adds more selfhealing through vampirism and more chances to slow down a creature with limb chopper.

LD is a pretty drama free tree. It adds a few clickies but they’re primarily cleaves and speed boosts and such. Blitz work with ranged and melee so there’s no special configuration needed to maintain the blitz stack.

Also – there are 2 versions of blitz, one that is more defensive (PRR) and one that adds more dodge.

Spike Damage

Rapidshotta Fury of the Wild

Fury of the Wild is a great tree for a multiple of things. It adds basic self healing (a possible heal tick every minute), a nice rage strength and con boost, several ways to hurt outsiders more and adrenaline – a nice little spike boost to damage.

In general you’ll see your normal DPS hovering around 400-600 in crit damage. Unlike with LD you don’t have that many choices to boost overall DPS, but it does a few things that add additional damage to helpless creatures.

Once you hit max adrenaline (7 possible) you will also have the possibility of regenerate that through continued melee and ranged.

The spike damage, dependent on weapon (of course) will hit from the ‘low’ 2500-5k with 2 weapon fighting and around 1500 per shot. Given my build of course. I’m sure other maximized builds can get even more out of it.

There’s also another feature called overwhelming force. When you adrenaline hit someone they can be knocked down for up to 10 seconds and will be considered helpless (and take more damage). It’s an excellent way of knocking over large targets. This applies to the Epic moment as well and almost every shot in manyarrow- adding a very effective combination of burst damage and melee as it lasts for 30 seconds with an adrenaline hit every 3 seconds. Shots won’t knock stuff over, but when you combine it with Stay Frosty it’ll slow down large targets for long enough for you to do the whole burst part first and then follow up for the last 10 seconds with melee

Holy Roller

Rapidshotta Divine Crusader

Note, I haven’t unlocked the entire Divine Crusader tree yet, but so far the damage profile is close to the un-blitzing (so around 600-800 in crits) with excellent healing. The downside is perhaps the least amount of burst damage from ranged (but okay enough) but there’s no denying that getting 70 points of healing for every kill and using consecrated grounds for 230 heal ticks helps. Everything else is gravy.

Plus my build is about regenerating small amounts of SP via con op goggles. It allows me to get 20-30 SP now and then – enough to keep on par with what’s used using some of the features. I seldom ‘run’ dry and combining this with say the golem’s heart augment adds several consistent sources of healing. Enough for me to consider dropping cocoon in favor of something else.

Once I hit Celestial Champion it’ll add another +1 to critical threat range – adding more average DPS to the build. Currently the crit range is 15+ with khopesh and with a 4x crit multiplier. That’s good enough to add a saucy amount of DPS. And you’ll need it, because unlike other builds and despite all the self healing, rangers are still ‘frail’. The PRR hovers just under 100 and you’ll have to bank on dodge and evasion for the rest.


3 of the destinies offer self healing – ranging from light in FotW, slightly better in Shiradi and excellent in Divine Crusader.

3 of the destinies offer more then average to heavy DPS – FotW towards the bottom with nice spike damage, Crusader in the middle and Legendary at the top.

3 Offer a definite boost to ranged – Shiradi at the top with consistent procs, FotW for perhaps the best burst damage possible and a solid impressive DPS while blitzing and even off blitz for Legendary.

The question is really a matter of how you want to play your ranger and if you build for a good average Jack of All trades or top of line.

If the answer is top of the line DPS then Legendary is unequaled. Cocoon will do you over but you’ll also notice a lot of backtracking to heal when the incoming damage gets heavy.

FotW offers a balance between heavy DPS and self healing – not so much for the small tick, but from the ability to knock stuff down (such as EE Shadarkais that can chain attack every 10 seconds) and to add tremendous burst damage.

But if you want solid DPS and excellent self healing for solo runs then Divine Crusader will do you well. It won’t win you the high end DPS award but you can feel safe while smacking stuff inside your consecrated ground without the need to micro manage your health bar.

Update 28, stuff

If you don’t do it for fun, for progress, for incremental toon power, you do it for stuff.

And each update so far have had stuff in it. Turbine has elected to continue the BTA (something I happen to agree in) and they’re adding a new scheme. Unfortunately however it also seems like they’re continuing the practice of making the previous update less useful with each new.

The problem as I see it is that Turbine is trying to build up the 26-30 level scene and in doing so adding a lot of items in this very narrow spectrum. Just in the past 5 updates we’ve seen level 24 up to level 28 and in the last 3 an astounding amount of 26-28. In fact the last 2 is 28 only.

The issue with that is that we get a glut of high level stuff that sometimes compete with each others – that sounds good and all, but it’s particularly bad when raid loot is on the table. MOD is practically dead at this point and that’s level 27 BTA and 28 raid, but now the latest update is gnawing on the previous one.

It’s true that they’re not all similar. Where the previous update adds a lot of specific stand alone items, the newest one adds stacking set bonuses. Add 2 items and you get a specific quality bonus in say strength and add 6 items (rumored to be changed to 5 – lets hope so) and you get stacking quality bonus in everything.

The loot is not superior to existing, but it does compete in some areas. And I think the real issue is just how top loaded 28 is getting. You’re practically switching gear every single level after 24.

On the heroic side however it seems that the last 2 updates will be the goto gear for anymore leveling an iconic.

This update will provide the backbone of stacking set bonuses, throw in an armor, maybe a shield (altho this and the last ones added shields too) and you’re set.

Mysterious cloak or bracers for MRR, Heal amp (and add a 5% exp augment) and you’re good until level 20.

In fact I’m more excited about the heroic stuff in 27 and 28 than I am about the Epic stuff (with Epic shroud around the corner). I look forward to collecting all the items in the set and all the items from 27 and doing some iconic leveling.

Khopeshes for my 2 weapon melee, the great axe for my 2 handed melee (x4 crit on the great axe makes for an EXCELLENT heroic axe). Throw in some nice BTA Con, Char or whatever and you got yourself a fresh start.

And if you’re looking for armor this update have perfect caster armor. And for melee there’s almost the level 15 or so armor from the harbor with all the cool Xoriat features you can add. Or if you so want, maybe you have a nice heroic Dragon armor in your inventory (black is excellent for anything melee).

And speaking of ranger – I now have 2 of the khopeshes (and 1 for heroic). So once I hit 28 it’ll be the ranger goto tool. I’m also considering getting a few of those stacking items. Particularly since I haven’t played my ranger much since the armor up changes (he sorta got screwed) and now with the tempest change he’s so much better. So I never really got him any good stuff. Last armor was an Epic light dragon scale armor with helmet.

Update 28

If we set the issue of ‘items’ aside for a minute I must say that I am impressed that Turbine put together 4 diverse quests in such a short period of time and with only one major issue (don’t use Divine Crusader destiny) in one quest.

True – these are not ‘elaborate’ quests. For most part they’re fairly ‘walk this way’ with one encounter after another. But there are some optionals (nothing major) and 4 different bosses with special powers.

These are all voice acted with interesting character but in the large scheme of things it’s not all that note worthy.

28 also continues a trend of giving everyone something. From some jumping stuff, to some puzzle stuff to a bunch of fights and some traps. That was true with the previous update. Given the time to both release 2 updated ranger trees and 4 quests of content it’s clear that they used their time wisely.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is ‘light’ stuff and that the length of most of the quests are moderate to very short. But they’re fairly okay as is, and introduces us with a new monster – the Slaad.

One should also note that the bosses now use a lot more tools. The Slaad seemed to use a fire energy vortex as well as some magister Wards. The boss in the shortest quest used both wards and some type of knockdown effect. The boss in the Cannith one used a copy (himself) function and finally the boss in the Harbor Druid one was a full fledged divine caster that seemed to use an arsenal of divine features in addition to BB.

That’s a good thing; sometimes it seems the bosses suffer from HP and DPS-sitis, with features that outright nails you or with some many hitepoints that you can spend 5 minutes mashing buttons (ToEE).

In these quests however it seems that all the different type of bosses and ‘flair’. And tweaked a little they can even be brutal reminders that bosses should be tough.

Rangers and Update 28

Classes are in large about niche play and maximizing superior play. If it’s not, then we’re talking about same and blame. Like in Defiance. It’s not very useful and accurate to compare DDO and defiance since the premise – one being a futuristic shooterMMO and the other a D&D based RPGMMO, but while there are different races and beginner ‘class’ they’re entirely inconsequential since all races have the same abilities to choose from.

That’s not true with DDO where one class, pure or otherwise plays differently than another and dependent on class and race, we’re talking about slight beginnings.

To be clear – the difference might be slight and there has been some changes that brings everything into a similar play style, but it’s hard to argue that the nuts and bolts are all the same.

It’s in this post MOTU landscape that some classes have suffered the most and particularly if you take in account both enhancement trees and destinies. Some classes have a better choice of destiny to pick from, but like with ranger – it’s questionable if they have something that suits a 2 weapon fighting tempest, when so much seems to benefit 2 handed weapons or ranged.

This update addresses some of the issues. Particularly that Deepwood sniper wasn’t all that good, Tempest ended up weak and pretty much everything pointed to AA. While AA has not changed yet, Deepwood have now become a cherry picking tree and Tempest much more concentrated around 2 weapon fighting and less clickies.

And that’s good – because in the post MOTU world the ranger suffered from lacking the ability to soak up the damage of the more tanking melee and the ability to avoid some damage like the Swashbuckler and I quit playing mine up until this update.

That’s not to say it’s perfect; but by sharpening the stick on the rangers offensive melee and allowing the ranged part to be a terrific burst type attack, it have made it that much better at straddling the in between super high PRR builds and the ones who rely on spells and avoidance.

The Ranger now feels like a better alternative for that in between play.

And that’s important. Particularly since most rangers are not tactical DC builds, meaning stunning blow and trip. That’s something fighter builds, and to some extent Paladins can.

And they’re not maximum DPS while shrugging off damage like barbarians. Nor are they as effective at avoiding damage like Swashbucklers that combine evasion, dodge AND displacement.

Thus Ranger rely mostly on dodge (poor substitute) and minuscule PRR and that’s not now if you combine that with mediocre DPS (or rather average).

And that’s a terrible scenario for adding lots of clickies to ‘build up dps’ of you’re constantly jumping out of combat to heal yourself.



Micro transactions and ‘winning’

Whenever something is added to the store that might be perceived as P2W (for some it’s everything) it usually sparks an intense debate.

To be honest I can only thing of 2 things that ‘shortens’ peoples ability to ‘play’ and that is raid bypasses and shards AH – particularly because it destroys the raid scene in the long run and makes running content pointless. It’s true that Turbine fixed the one issue by making most new items BTA, but the problem still remain that raid bypasses wear out new raids very quickly.

There’s also an argument to be made about Tomes and P2W, Particularly since it’s almost impossible to pull tomes now in game, but to me that’s okay. It’s a marginal increase in power and Turbine got to make money some way or another.

To me at least winning is about ‘completing’ something without really needing to play much – when playing becomes incidental and the true general power is easy to achieve.

Different games solves (and fails) this in many ways.

In World of Tanks and War Thunder you can buy airplanes and tanks as premium which provides better income currency generation and can help train crew. But it won’t increase leveling of regular tanks. Yes – in WoT particularly it’s a hit and miss. Some tanks are great in general and others are terrible and feel like a rip off – but none of them makes the rest of the game easier since they’re not the ultimate tank for their tier. Just usually good at one spectrum and worse at the other.

Trion games and Defiance and Rift in particular allows you to buy player power direct in the store. Sure, there’s the regular boosts and cosmetics, just as you find in the DDO store, but you can also buy weapons and augmentations (mods) to equipment and weapons.

They are random, but you don’t even have to participate in the different events. Towards it they will gladly sell ‘event’ crates that gives you the same chance to pull something without grinding out events, quests and swarms.

In other words – you might not find everything in the store, but you can buy player power without an issue.

Warframe offers the same problem. It’s possible to grind out everything in the game but it’s so easy to buy not only blueprints to weapons and armor, but also material to build them.

In reality you can either play the game and grind out levels on items or buy them outright and with minimum leveling get some great gear. You can even buy mods (random pulls true) from the store.

So no wonder what Defiance and Warframe never really stuck with me and WoT and DDO are my most prolific games. Now I’m on an extended break from WoT and mostly because the community sucks. For a 15 against 15 type game it breeds some of the most individual and egotistic behavior and many times you have clan members platooning random pub game and berating everyone else.

While DDOs micro transactions are not perfect I am glad that there are limits. Limits on what you can buy through the store and that provides an incentive to continue playing.

Time to get off my break

I some times take breaks. This time, after coming off a brutal series of raids (the latest) I felt so done with DDO. The idea of playing it again felt like a chore so I fired up Defiance and started playing that.

I didn’t abandon DDO entirely. I played it a few hours here and there but not even the Epic and the heroic XP weekends could bring me back (entirely).

Defiance however is becoming (and a lot quicker) what DDO felt for a while. There’s not much there other than endless swarms and such and tons of different weapons that eventually all become the same.

Strictly speaking you’re talking about a few things that are good at most stuff – so while there are so many different options, any serious person knows what the gold standard is.

This is true with even DDO. You have choices and there are a scant few that specialize in some of it (like war axes, blunt weapons etc) but it’s still pretty much a few types that forms the base for most players.

To Turbines credit they have worked on expanding the options for players but if you’re looking at maximum DPS then it boils down to a few specific choices.

On the flip side of things – I found this place – Vistaprint that can put anything you like on a mug. Mine just broke. Someone placed it in the sink and other stuff on it and a chunk came off the edge.

So I’m looking for a replacement. Mine had ‘my cup of stfu’ on it. Sure – not mature – but it plays to the idea of how people act before their first cup of coffee, Not me.

So a better choice for me – and something I really is contemplating is a cup with my favorite toon on and with ‘Keep Calm and Raid on’ as text.

Or something similar. Yes – DDO is still my favorite game.