Monthly Archives: March 2010

+1 insight?

I ran 2 shroud runs yesterday. Completed close to midnight – sandy eyed and tired. But I figured I would get a heads start on the rapier – adding holy to it so I could hit the altar in Shavarath for tier 2 when I had the stuff.

Up until the time I started to add tier 1 to my rapier I had a dream.

It was a simple dream; no – more like a debate – should I tier 2 my rapier before I tiered 2 my goggles?

Well – I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

So I loaded the recipe in the planner and started putting together the stuff – and just as I applied it there was something in the back of my mind that said  – that ain’t right. I have a voice like that and I usually don’t listen to it unless it’s in the middle of the night and I see someone walking around with a machete.  That have never happened, so obviously I have a time honored tradition to not listen to the voice of ‘you shouldn’t be doing that’.

So now I own a rapier with +1 insight bonus to AC with air affinity. I’m normally not that daft – daft in the sense that I would create a recipe and then reading wrong off it to create the stuff needed to upgrade – so when I looked it over it seems that when I saved last it saved over my ‘good rapier’ recipe with some kind of boots with +5 to reflex as tier 1 – and apparently on the weapon side that’s the air +1 to insight.

What irks me is not that I suddenly have a rapier I don’t really need, can’t give away or plan to use, but that it really stabs a vicious dagger into the heart of my plans and the time I’ve spent to put together all the stuff to first create the rapier and then upgrade it.

I hope I am the only one so my example of stupidity can serve as a warning to all, but it still doesn’t help the pain.

the thing is this – it’s easy enough to replace the shard and the tier one stuff. It’s even easy enough to run all those vale quests again for the signet stone and the stuff needed – but getting a large horn  needed for the rapier is either 7 mill in the AM or hoping to in 20 plus shroud runs get another one anytime soon. I’m having a hard enough time getting ANY medium or large devil scales but I have to compete with my goggles for them.

I really can’t feel good about this. I created a rapier completely outside any use for me. And that’s a very painful thing to do.

The silver lining – it adds 1 more point to my AC – would I ever feel like using it.

Why I like DDO, the snore addition

There are three different types of game mechanics and in those there you have different basic variations. First off you have the realistic – where as the game is suppose to mimic (within reason) realistic weapon or armor conditions/fighting. You mostly find these in first person shooters. Realistic in the sense that weapons and armor is portrait with the right sound, ammo count, armor penetration etc as closely as possible. While you can’t be completely realistic – one shot one kill/disabled and crawl around for 20 minutes before dying, it mimics realism more closely as it will take very few shots to kill something. The rest of it is made that way to be fun. Armor is also often of the peel of type – each hit reduces its effectiveness until it’s completely gone. Not very realistic but it’s more realistic than say the armor value stops someone from hitting or reduced the damage arbitrarily.

The deal with realistic game mechanics is that even the slowest and lowliest weapon can kill as it is ‘for real’. There are copious choices of different better weapons but end games doesn’t necessarily need to heaviest weapon of all.

Hybrid game mechanics straddle between realistic and (as I will write about) incremental. DDO would fall in that category. Hybrid makes assumption about weapons and armor that might feel a little arbitrary and it requires a more incremental nature, but they stay largely on target in regards to trying to explain armor and weapons so you know that plate armor are the best but comes with some negatives and two handed weapons really hurt but are heavy and slow.

Hybrids usually do not try to portrait realism; only ‘wing’ it enough so we feel the difference between two fast swords compared to one big great axe.

Incremental game mechanics don’t deal with realism or any kind of hybrid ‘know the dagger’ feel. Incremental is about bigger better and more of it. Diablo is a game like that.(BTW – when I talk about realistic, hybrid or incremental – I’m not talking about bridging genres or how close to picture perfect the graphics are). Diablo was one of the first games that made traditional turn based RPG’s action and real time. Doing so required a revamp of the traditional stat and skill heavy interface and combine them  into fewer more arbitrary stats. By reducing how many different stats into a kind of HP adding, strength/damage adding and mana will power adding – we gamers had an idea of what they represented and intuitly knew that more was better since HP increased with con, damage with strength and mana with will (translate that into any similar games that use similar working stats). And the reason it is incremental is because the direct result isn’t so much about having a +5 full plate – it was more about having the armor with more armor value. Or the bigger ‘badder’ 100-150 damage great axe.

We still knew what they were – two handed slow and hard hitting and daggers small and fast, but it wasn’t so much about the differences between great axe and great sword – more what hurt more.

Incremental game mechanics require better stuff in order to finish – there’s no way that you can actually finish a game using the original stuff. Hybrid require better items too, but if you look at most hybrid mechanics they still keep the basic in the game and the incremental part is added to the basic (more on that). Realistic remains the same – the game might offer the BFG, but you don’t need the BFG to finish – likewise if you play games like Modern Warfare – you can still win using just a knife.

So where and how does DDO fit into this and why do I think DDO is a much better game for it?

First off – there are very few incremental games that have managed to surpass or do better than Diablo for a lot of reasons, but primarily because of the incremental part. Most games that copy Diablo’s mechanics focus on the wrong part; weapons and items. They add tons off them and they make them impersonal – even when they’re special. They also make you feel as if armor really doesn’t matter. Look at Sacred 2 – if you look past the constant running into obstacles like small tree branches that you can’t walk over, the biggest problem with this Diablo clone is that you get hordes of stuff, but they clutter it down with so many stats, skills and small incremental differences that it’s hard to tell what they do.

Diablo and another great game – Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance – added a lot of stuff too – but they kept it fairly clean and you knew when you had found one of those really b@d@ss items or weapons.

DDO functions similarly but do so on a hybrid model. It adds stats but they don’t feel arbitrary. You have a general idea of what Strength represent, as well as how Dexterity affect certain skills and how it works with classes and armor. Weapons generally stay the same – named ones might add effects you would not normally find on most random, but a great sword isn’t arbitrarily damage 200-250 – the base damage remains the same, but it might have an added elemental effect, be of better quality (where +5 is the best unless it’s special) and the better they are the more effects they might have.

You notice that hybrids do stretch into incremental territory – it’s hard but not impossible to reach the end game with a starter weapon, but it usually is because the end game require more specialists weapons/enhancements/spell etc as suppose to a weapon with 500-600 in damage. And there’s where hybrids are sneaky. They get to that point through enhancements and specialties. A high DPS tank don’t get there with the weapon alone – he gets there with items, ability and enhancement  that might amount to 500-600. The difference of course is that it might be well over what’s needed to kill most wilderness critters and just on par with high end bosses.

As I pointed out before in another post (or maybe didn’t make clear) AC is treated much better in a game like DDO then it is in others. That’s partly because most engagements aren’t static – like some games where you click on the map to go there and click again on a opponent to engage, then cycle through attack movements with some inputs like clicking on the defense button and then on the special slash button. Here the opponents moves. Attacks can miss either from attacks not defeating AC, turn into deflective hits (not being able to penetrate armor) and miss because someone physically moved out of the way.

Most other games simply compare attack and damage against armor for reduced damage rather than miss or hit.

That provides a sense of immersion; as if you’re in the midst of it and the character doesn’t just cycle through ‘real-time’ turn based motions, but that you can decide the outcome and it’s not entirely a mathematical probability of x winning over y because he has xy bad@ss axe and more hit points versus y’s lesser hit points.

It’s still in a way HP attrition and whomever have more SP, HP or damage wins, but it’s left to chance through the actions of a character instead of the certainty of lack of better items.

Like borderlands. At first glance you would think that it’s a first person shooter or a hybrid, but as I wrote before, it’s the mechanics and not how it looks like. The game is completely incremental. Unless you have X weapons and Y armor you will not be able to complete XY mission. Enemies will get better through number, heavier armor, immunity to certain elements – at some level your lower level weapon won’t do anything. It’s as much damage reduction as it is damage output. Not even hitting enemies weak spots will do much.

Compare that to DDO where having a high AC will save you from getting hit and how long it’ll take to kill a skeleton with a regular knife. You will still win as long as you keep from getting killed and you can still do it with a level 8 weapon (and for argument sake you’re level 15) but that would be near impossible in the case of a incremental game mechanics.

Now here’s the caveat – unlike realistic games – hybrid and incremental still require that you have better items – in hybrid your original or low level items will only get you so far – even with enhancements and feats. I would never attempts high level quests with my original +1 breastplate and low level critters don’t stand a lick of a chance against my 18 level character – the difference is that it’s not done through items alone.

I didn’t have all the AC providing items I have this TR around and still hit 20 – it’s certainly easier now when I do.

The fundamental value and what we like in a game therefore doesn’t lie in whether or not we get more or less stuff out of a game – it’s if it means something to us. I still use a level 10 weapon and I’m level 18 and I can’t wait to start using my green steel rapier. It’s a product of what I find b@d@ss and I’ve plowed through 100’s of weapons to get the one I use now. There’s nothing arbitrary about it. It’s a very nice rapier that I added ice damage too. With bloodstone I will crit better which in many ways means more to me than if it did more damage since the main damage always gets reduced anyways on say skellies but the holy damage and the crit damage does the rest.

So there you go – I know that my blue scale armor isn’t better than a full plate, but I know why it’s better for me. I know my rapier isn’t better than a great axe but I know that with my shield I will survive longer and therefore win, as suppose to a greater axe wielding tank won’t under the same circumstances since he sacrifices protection for more damage.

In a incremental system both of us will be doomed if we’re behind the curb and in a realistic system those damn campers and knifer’s are the scourge – so I rather trade the 700 damage pelican super axe of death for a chance to make it either as a nimble fighter or bash down the door kind. And while it’s fun to one shoot everyone from a sniper position, it’s far more rewarding to get out of a ugly scrap where you were the underdog with true and tried stuff you fought hard to get in the first place instead of always replace them with new and shiny.

Don’t leave home without it

There are 2 levels that will help you if you TR and especially if you do a lot of solo stuff. It’s fully possible to hit level 20 without any of the items out of these two levels, but it sure makes it easier. That’s true with anything you do – there are certain named items that’ll make your life a heck of a lot easier but it’s not impossible to TR or level on randomly dropped items alone.

The items I’m going to mention are items that you will probably use all the way to level 20. For most part we’ll find items that will upgrade our stats incrementally and as soon as we find something better we’ll replace them and move on. That would be your basic ability point enhancement (say a strength 4 item instead of a strength 2), better armor and weapons and items that enhance your HP and SP.

It’s fairly easy to hit the first 10 levels and in some cases soloing with a hireling. There are a few that require a more balanced groups because of traps and puzzles, but unlike level 10 and above you can do most quests on solo, casual and normal. With a full group there shouldn’t be that much of an issue hitting 10 within weeks.

Above 10 things change; quests are usually part of chains with end game raids that require flagging and most quests add one or two parts of it that might require timing in pulling levers or finishing bosses.

While there are staple products such as feather falling items and underwater action that you’ll find around 5 and above, they’re not must have products unless you play a rare few quests (the pit and the 3 barrel cove and necropolis under water quests) and it can most likely be replaced with clickie items and spells.

But above 10 you’ll face a hill of a challenge running most wilderness and quests without  3 specific items – AC, weapons and SP, that will determine how well you run them and especially how long (say a complete wilderness run compared to getting halfway before recalling due to running out of SP).

That varies between classes; tanks and fighters won’t get far without healing but can always use pots to self-heal. And they can do most stuff even with ‘bad’ weapons – it just takes longer.

But there’s no denying that having the right item makes a great impact on your over all leveling.

Worth mentioning at this point are some level 9 named stuff that you probably will use all the way till 20 – like spectral gloves, bloodstone, dusk heart and spell storing ring. But they’re not game changers. Spectral gloves add attack value and make all attacks non-corporeal (you don’t have the 50% miss chance against non-corporeal critters so it makes all weapons ghost touch). However a firewall is always more efficient against non-corporeal and you’ll find hirelings with firewall around level 8.

Bloodstone add seeker to your crit chance and dusk heart acts like a permanent 10% blur. Both of these can be replacement by enhancements and spells, nor will impede your ability to hit 20. They’re nice to have but they’re not night or day items.

So the first level that truly adds to a TR is 11.

That’s when you can start using green steel items.

They’ll be as or more potent than any item you’ll find all the way to 20. That is almost true with all effects you can get on a green steel items.

take my green steel cloak; it has Wizardry VI (150 SP), 150 stackable SP, +6 Charisma skill points (adds to things like haggle and diplomacy), earth guard and 2 dense stone golems/rest. You will not find a named item with wizardry VI earlier then 14 and I guarantee that you won’t find a item that provides 300 SP – the closest would be archmagi items and that would be skiver at 14 and some others stuff at level 18.

But it’s not just that – this item also provides 2 golems. That means that I can free up a spell slot and use these golems instead which happens to be in my opinion the best ones other than maybe the level 9 spell Hezrau.

That’s just one example of having an item with better effects normally reserved to higher level quests – all green steel items comes with premium ability point additions – like +6 Strength, con and all additional effects are stackable like exceptional skill, ability, HP and SP. To give you an example – you can get a helmet called Minos Legens at level 11. It’s almost a staple product as it adds heavy fortification and +20 stackable HP.

At the same level you can have a green steel helmet with +45 stackable HP, heavy fortification, +6 to your CON skill, Protection +5 (adds to your AC) and 2 stone skins/rest.

Same level, similar functionality and better item.

As I mentioned before – I’m making a goggle that has greater fire resist, +5 lighting resist, additional 10 fire resist (for a total of 40 fire), 3 displacement clickies (50% chance to miss) and permanent blur (20% to miss without the chance to de-buff or dispel it).

You could replace all of those with other things and spells, but probably not at the same level and certainly not on only item.

The next level is 12. At 12 you’ll be able to start using green steel weapons and they are by far better than any named or randomly dropped weapon you’ll find and they’ll work beautifully in combination with paralyzing and cursespewing.

The nice thing with green steel weapons is that you can create exactly the weapon that works perfect with your class and add the elementals effect that make sense, with some additional effects you won’t find on most other randomly dropped. Another thing is that all green steel weapons are +5 – compared to randomly dropped who are probably going to be everything from +1 to +4 and only seldom +5 and usually if it only comes with one effect.

For me as a healer you can get what’s called scepter of healing (Invader!) and I used it efficiently before I TR’d but it’s a level 14 weapon (+4 Heavy Mace, Greater Healing Lore, Greater Devotion V, Flametouched Iron). It’s really not that good for fighting and it’s okay for healing since it adds healing lore which increases my healing crit chance (9%) to 18% with enhancements. Greater devotion adds 40% to all your heals.

This is what I can craft (level 12) – +5 Greensteel Scepter (1d8, 20/x2) With  Holy, +2d6 vs. Evil,  20% Healing Amplification – True Resurrection (1/day),  Superior Devotion VI – Greater Disruption (~3% On-Hit, Will Save or Destroy Undead).  You can of course craft a great axe to do the same thing but that’s just a little silly.

It doesn’t have greater healing lore – but you can add that to green steel items and you’ll find greater arcane lore on blue scale armor at level 14 (mine right now – +5 Breastplate (AB:11), Potency VII, Greater Arcane Lore , Spell Penetration VII, Greater Lightning resist). Or as I mentioned – Green steel item With  Blindness Immunity, Disease Immunity,  Improved Regeneration (1hp/30 sec) – +6 Wisdom, +10 Diplomacy, +10 Haggle,  Superior Healing Lore – Concordant Opposition: When attacked, Chance (~1%) to gain HP or SP.

As you can see – green steel items provide you with better effects that can be the night and day item a lot earlier than you’ll find and use any named or randomly dropped ones. Items that will provide a pivotal boost to your leveling early on (11 and 12) that will last you all the way until level 20.

It’s not an understatement to say that if you are going to TR you are far better off doing so with 1 or 2 green steel items than to do it without.

Oh my

Man oh man

I’ve been lazy in leveling my bard. Every time I run my bard (selling stuff) I have this impulse to level him. Just one level. Every time I squash it since I don’t feel like committing the time. But now I’m ransacked running my main toon and I just came out of another shroud run. It’s not that I can’t find anything else to do – I did some IQ yesterday, but these are the times when I feel tempted to do something else, while I wait for the shroud timer to run out.

So against my better judgment I decided to see if I couldn’t squeeze out some XP and maybe get halfway to level 7.

What a mistake that was.

To be honest – I have not had a lot of bad experience running with random groups. If I had any bad experience it would be in the early levels when most people are inexperienced and not that sure about quests and their own capabilities. I’m as guilty as charged too – but most of my failure came from not knowing the quests and sometimes it was fun as heck walking right into the thick of it and getting wiped out. Other times it was because of lack of common sense; like doing Kobold Assault on Elite with level 4 guys without lighting res and such.

But that was back when – yesterday I ran with two separate groups that ended up doing similar mistakes; one even directly after failing one quest for the same reason.

I call it tankitis. Meaning the idea that you can solve everything with more force. It’s like adding enough force will solve the issue no matter what.

The second is surgeitis – that tactics are for idiots and if you run into danger fast enough you somehow surprise them. And when people are getting hurt or damage, don’t step back for healing or regroup – run further in until your eventual demise.

Third – don’t listen to suggestion – if someone say that you need a rogue or healer – add more tanks or say something like – why not proof in the poison  – it’s on normal? Or when you get wiped running a level 8 quest when only one is level 7 and the rest 6, try it again without healer or someone who can cast lightning and acid resist – add more tanks. Because if the one bard (me) could not keep up with healing, then adding more people to heal without elemental resist sounds smarter.

I ended up leaving both groups since I knew that if you run say redfang on elite without a rogue, due to all those traps and all that poison you’re pretty much toast (if you’re at similar levels as the quest itself). Without a competent healer and more tanks I didn’t want to waste the time.

The second group started okay; we had two bards and one with three different classes – like a level 4 bard, 1 rogue and 1 fvs. So he could heal and disable some stuff with enough buffs. We managed to do fairly okay through similarly leveled quests but we utterly failed in the House of J haunted library. The issue was that we didn’t have a healer; the multi-class guy left before that quest and our leader invited more tanks. We failed. The acid cloud and the lightning killed us since I could only wand heal and had nothing against those spells. So instead of finding a rogue or healer after getting wiped out the leader found more tanks. And I left.

It’s one thing to not know the quest, make mistakes and the party wipe – but to return to the same quest without a solution to the problem – like someone that can cast elemental resist of the right kind or heal – it’s simply just silly.

So I left. I didn’t feel like wasting resources to enjoy the same end result.

I can’t remember it being that bad when I started. I did remember people listening to suggestions.

Next time I will start my own group since that way I can control how the party is put together.

That’s the ticket.

Rethinking

When I originally figured out that I wanted a green steel item that had a permanent blur on it I winged it enough to have something like +5 reflex save (air) and +15 Fire resist (Fire) and the smoke II aspect for blur. Having looked at it and the fact that you can start with tier 1 fire, tier 2 Air and tier 3 fire and still get blur I have now reconfigure it to be of better use for me as a Favored Soul. Tier 1 Greater fire resistance will go well with my greater lighting resistance (blue dragonscale armor), +5 in lighting resistance as tier 2 and +10 fire resistance as tier 3. I will end up with a lot of elemental resistance that also adds to the bonus favored soul feats that I get (3 different plus 10 elemental resistance – in my case acid, fire and lightning).

In the end I will have 10 acid, 50 fire, 0 cold (ugh), 45 lightning and 0 sonic.

I can use spells to give me 40 in acid and 30 in cold and sonic. That to me it’s a fairly decent way to negate a lot of incoming elemental damage. I wonder how that works with Elocator’s Habiliment you can get out of IQ that has +5 additional elemental resistance in everything? My guess is that it’ll stack with everything except the +5 lightning resistance.

The unlocked version adds greater nimbness which adds 2 to your max dex bonus and 4 armor check penalty reduction, making it a very interesting armor for any player. I could even image snatching one up as long as I have some alternative to the loss of key functionality of my dragonscale. If you have ever checked out Skiver it’ll be a good alternative to the loss of arcane lore and if I had a decent enough potency item, such as the necklaces you can find in Shavarath I wouldn’t cry wolf over the loss of the dragonscale. I would lose greater lightning resist, but as I said – I can always add a spell. Which brings me to the net result. Dragontouched seems less and less apatizing to me. I originally wanted it because you can add stuff like greater spell penetration but none of the lower end runes adds something I can’t find it the IQ armor or dragonscale.

I can live with the loss of 1 net spell penetration point (dragonscale gives me 2 and dragontouched would give me 3 if I get the right rune on it). The IQ one would give me better AC and more resist as well as some other features like 5 additional displacements/rest. With my permanent blur items 3 displacement/rest I would have 8 which should last me through most wilderness runs and between any reasonable distant shrines.

If I then add the IQ shield I will have additional AC and the ability to replace my protection +5 necklace (since it comes with protection +4). Add to that a green steel rapier with tier 3 +4 insight to AC and I’m looking pretty solid as a well rounded healer that can take a couple of hits and still keep on doing my job. There’s nothing worse then being so squishy that you keep having to heal yourself all the time while the rest of the group is dying.

Interesting.

Suddenly I’m 18

I think it took a lot less time for me to hit 17 and 18 than me dragging my knuckles from 15 to 16. The reason is simple; I’ve been running tons of Vale quests to flag for the shroud and get stuff to craft with and ended up doing some IQ quests this weekend. For most part it was around 8-10k a pop and at least 6-7 when I ran with higher leveled people. Compared to complete Sands Gnoll and Undead slayer to hit 16.

I enjoyed a full party wipe at least 3 times that lead to us redoing some quests on casual – first in the Reaver’s Kobold quest where the living spell had us die time and time until we redid it on casual (and still ‘enjoyed’ dying a couple of times) and then in IQ.

Something must have happened to the difficulty settings because I’ve run IQ plenty of times but never had such a pain keeping people alive. We did the ship one and wiped until someone re-logged as a cleric and even then did we die left and right. We never used to die like that and I never ran through 2300 SP until I was down to heal scrolls. And talking about heal scrolls – I bleed through at least 40 of those in that quest where you’re in the dreamscape and you’re defending your will.

When we wiped the first time before doing casual the group was kind of miffed at me for not being able keep up with the healing and mass cure light – saying that me running out of SP like that was the main problem, but even on casual the critters and end bosses had us running dangerously out of HP and even dying a couple of times – that should never be the case with a good solid group on casual.

The weird thing was that high hit point tanks were getting hit for 50 or more in dam so that I couldn’t just use wands or lower spells to top off – I had to resort to expensive heal scrolls and outright heals to keep up with the rate of losses. And someone actually fell into the pit on the island and died right away. It was like we were running on elite while getting normal XP and favor.
Hopefully they’ll fix that because there’s no way I’m running IQ for the shield if I have to put 10k plat into heal scrolls every quest. I can’t afford that.

18 meant another thing for me – I now have implosion, over 2400 SP and greater spell penetration feat. I’m still hoping to be able to move away from my Protection +5 necklace in favor of a wisdom +6 necklace. I can only do that if I get the light and darkness shield. That would be great.

I’m also noticing how more successful I am at running certain quests/wilderness due to a much better chance at using destruction. I’m certainly not optimized using it since I only have 22 in wis, but being able to run through giant hold while using destruction on casters (before they de-buff me) and smacking a few heads with my rapier with the aid of bloodstone – I am fairly good at taking on most critters without help.

That’s not entirely true with the Vale – my AC seems to still be too low for the Ogres. It’s just fine for any other critter there. Their raged triple club slam will easily hit me for a 30-50 HP whammy and if you have 3 of them doing it you’re in for a world of hurt.

I’m wondering just how much better my AC have to be in order for most of those attacks to miss – especially since I ran the Gholan Fan (spelling) quest for the teleport mask and it was fairly easy stomp with my better AC. And with my better rapier I managed to cut through most Ogres without the use of overwhelming amount of magic. I rounded it off with a few blade barriers here and there.

So I’m going to start running it every few days until I get the mask. I assume at level 18 I can probably run through it a lot more efficiently and I’ll check if I can find a better hireling to go along that adds maybe another pet.

I’m thinking that the best I can hope for is to get that permanent blur item built. And with its 3 displacement clickies. That’ll last me through the Ogre area in the Vale without major loss of HP and SP and hopefully I’ll be able to add another 3-4 more in AC down the road that negates most of that damage in the future. All I have to do now is to find a way to survive the battlefields of Shavarath and given how I couldn’t get past the mobs by altar when soloing a lifetime ago I’m not confident I will ever be able to do it.

Stuff happens

I finally ran my first shroud since the TR and the new changes. It really makes a difference now when the devil in the end of 4 turns around a fights back. Compared to before if you stood behind him he wouldn’t do squat.

The run gave me enough stuff to sell so I could get chaosgarde off the AH.

I’m poor again. Between that and those blue scales it’s almost like when I first started. Only difference is that between Giant Hold, Orchard and the Vale I won’t be poor for very long.

Talk about miscalculation – I was like one of two people who knew the rainbow in the dark quest so I took the light source and pulled monsters in several places. Such as where all those stone ellies are and where the rust monsters are.

I pulled the rusties in two places and as I ran back the second time I got this message; ‘blue dragonscale armor is worn’
Wow. Now luckily I had bound it and added the armor ritual but it still hurt. The guy who sold it to me could also fix it for 3 out of my only nine dragon relics.

That goes to show you that knowing something and having a strategy (dropping a blade barrier, run and pull them back to save people from slugging through that and getting their gear broken) isn’t such a good idea after all.

I now have 42 AC unbuffed and 45 with recitation and haste. I could potentially add some more; like grinding for chattering ring for 3 more in AC or perhaps getting a dragontouched for a couple of more points – but I’m thinking that realistically it will come from the green steel item that I will build, a rapier with tier 3 +4 AC (insight).

That will get me as close to 50 as I can.

But I have already decided to go for the permanent blur item. My thinking is this; It’s very unlikely that a better weapon will improve or change the way I play end game quests and above 14 level stuff. I have a very hard time soloing any quest at this level and I don’t think it’s going to change with a slightly better weapon. I’ve never been DPS heavy, at least from physical combat and so far I’ve concentrated on making my spells more potent and any resource drain a little better together with a decent AC.
This stems from the fact that upper quests usually means that I will have to dedicate my time to healing. No one need a gimped fighter that can heal. They need DPS heavy tanks and good healers. So me dragging around a good sword means squat since I won’t use it more than the weapons I have now.
Defense does matter – if I can avoid damage altogether and waste less healing on me and more on the people I’m saving, something like a permanent blur with 3 displacement clickies make sense. The way I’m making it also adds some reflex savings and 15 more in fire resistance.
So what wouldn’t the argument of adding AC to a weapon be as valid as adding a item with damage avoidance?
First – I tend to use wands and scrolls with my shield, so that makes that awkward and if I remove the shield and dual wield my AC will drop significantly more rendering any AC on my weapon moot.
Second – AC is more a front line necessity. Most damage behind the front line comes from the odd aggro, missile and such and they’re not as critical; I will still have 44-45 in AC but I won’t have to worry about my blur running out or be debuffed as part of anti magic.
To me this makes sense all the way to level 20. I can only see me solo these higher end quests with less waste of resources if I also have the items I need and lastly the weapon – but the weapon will have to wait since I rather save my hide than gimp around like a half baked fighter.