Monthly Archives: July 2010

whatta!

Okay – am I dreaming or something but there’s definately something up with anything tonight; I hit slower than molasses, my guard effects keep procking like crazy – I have slay living, magma surge and earthgrab and it went off like every 4 seconds when I was completely surrounded. Plus the chests I’m opening are cr@ppy. I mean straight across the board really crappy. I shouldn’t be ransacked on anything (I haven’t played my FvS since last shroud run) and it’s like one item and some money. You know, ransacked stuff. The best I could pick from as shroud end reward was a level 12 bastard sword. I’ve never seen so much junk between all shroud chests and these Vale rare chests. Holy smokes. Slow attack speed, guard effects run amock and cr@ppy loot. What’s next – a lump of coal? I added a pic to the gallery to prove my point – if i get surrounded and the guard effects goes off like firework again I will try to take a pic of that (who have heard of 3 slay living in a row?).

Edit

I have added 3 more pictures. One more chest, one where shows 2 earth grabs at the same time shortly after 1 faded and 2 orthons getting slayed at the same time. Pretty whacky stuff.

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Sweet 17

I hit 17 this morning doing a quick vale run figuring out that my greater gnoll bane bow works better on the gnoll rare caster and his minions of mephits than using a holy burst bow. What also helps is to have a cleric hireling over a caster  when you go close quarter brawling with a bunch of angry mephits.

You live and learn and then you level up.

I didn’t really look forward to 17; I mean yeah – I like leveling as it means me being able to equip better stuff, but 17 only means a few more hit points and SP and the ability to equip better stuff, except that most of the better stuff usually level out at 15 and now I can equip my search +15 and heal +3 goggle instead of my search +15 goggle. You see what I mean?

It does mean that I get hiding in plain sight. Compare that to leap of faith (a FvS level 17 feat). I don’t hide much. Don’t need to. I’m like one those barbs – I run up and hit fast and hard with two weapons. But unlike barbs I don’t scream like a angry monkey doing so. I mean not that barbs are monkeys or anything but being constantly angry can’t be good for your temper.

It also means that I’m more likely to be invited to shroud and other raids, but equally competent as when I was level 16 – probably because not much have changed and I still don’t have GS item of ‘I kick MORE @ss’.

I’m still thinking about the end game and the stuff I need and want to be the best that I can be.

So I’ve noticed something after I wrote about AC, 42 isn’t enough. Even those rats in Vale hits me. I mean rats and scorpions?

To me that’s just wrong. Give them harder bites or stronger pincers or more potent poison or something, but is someone trying to tell me that a small little Vale scorpion hits harder and better than a drow scorpion out of the sands?

That’s what’s wrong with the AC deficit and attack value inflation. Critter AC and attack value keep going up but you hit a plateau around 10 and have to super specialize to go beyond that point.

I doubt 44 will do much either. If they hit me most of the time now 2 more in AC won’t make it more magical.

So I’m thinking I need to hit close to 50 to see a difference, if any. I hate to give up AC completely since the items and builds I have in mind actually make sense, but if the stark difference between running Orchard and Giant Hold is going to scale so ridiculously going into the Vale I might as well just go for DPS. I hate the thought but that’s how it is.

Icy, Dragontouched and thinking about what I want in the end

I’m level 16 and one quest short of flagging for shroud.  This morning someone pulled and I rolled and won a Icy Raiment -( (Robe) Dodge Bonus +4, Protection +4, Resistance +3).

Meanwhile I’ve been strongly considering flagging for SoS and get a dragontouched started. So I spent some time figuring out what the max AC is that I can pull together and what the concessions will be; such as will I have to give up a pivotal item to get max AC and picking one over the other is there a specific trade off where a couple of points of AC gives me something better.

As it turns out the Icy Raiment can be a better AC choice compared to a dragontouched (given that I put the right runes on it).

AC works as follow (http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=30186)

Base of 10

Sources of Armor Bonus (the armor bonus part of your armor or something like bracers of Armor)

The DT have a AB of 8 – +1 with the AC ritual (and you can do the same with the Icy. You can find (on rare occassions) Bracers of Armor +8 – right now I have a +6. The trade off is that I have to get rid of my chaosgarde (+2 stacking Dodge bonus)

So that’s the DT’s +9 to the Icy’s +7 now and potentially +9 later

Sources of Natural Armor Bonus

There are items that provide natural armor bonus but rangers always have the trusty bark skin

+5

Sources of Shield Bonus

Tempest III offer +4 Shield bonus (I have +3 right now and tempest II)

Sources of Deflection Bonus

That would be either shield of faith or something like a protection item; I have a +4 now but will eventually have +5.

Sources of Dodge Bonus (Dodge bonuses Stack)

This one can be confusing – chattering ring and other +3 Dodge bonuses doesn’t stack but all others do.

Icy have +4 in Dodge and you can add +3 as a rune to the DT.

Insight Bonus

Some specific items including parrying and insight that you add to GS weapons, I’m considering adding +4 as tier 3 to one weapon.

Misc Bonuses (Misc bonuses stack)

Dex Bonus. It’s capped at 7 on a DT (leather armor – light) and I currently have 7. One more point and I have 8 and with a +2 Exc. Dex on say a ToD ring adds another point. So a potential (and realistic) 9 for the Icy and 7 (still since armor caps Dex) for DT.

Right now a DT armor (not counting the potential of adding a +3 Dodge rune anytime soon) would give my ranger a AC of 40 (Base 10, armor +8, AC ritual +1, Bark Skin +5, Tempest II +3, Protection +4, Chaosgarde +2 and Dex +7).

Icy would give me 40 (Base 10, armor +6, AC ritual +1, Bark Skin +5, Tempest II +3, Protection +4, Dodge +4 and Dex +7).

Max additions would give me DT 49 (Base 10, armor +8, AC ritual +1, Bark Skin +5, Tempest II +4, Protection +5, Chaosgarde +2, Dodge +3 rune, insight +4 from GS weapon and Dex +7)

Icy would give me 50 (Base 10, armor +8, AC ritual +1, Bark Skin +5, Tempest II +4, Protection +5, Dodge +4, insight +4 and Dex +9)

That’s one point of different, icy raiment also provide a +3 resistance bonus. With DT you can have 2 additional runes adding additional beneficial effects. So for that one point of AC the long term AC gain using icy raiment isn’t all that important. It’s clear it’s going to be very useful until I have an fully decked out DT but the long term benefit of DT lies in the other 2 runes, adding longevity and the edge over the Icy.

Plus the truth is like I explained a post ago that the AC deficit and the BAB critter inflation renders AC relatively useless late game.

Epic shroud?

A while back, maybe 2-3 weeks after I started playing I wrote a long rambling piece on how I liked DDO better for its hybrid type combat system, compared to first person shooters ‘realism’ and incremental systems like Diablo. A short recap – ‘realistic’ systems is about relative accuracy of weapon modeling with ‘1 hit kill’ type deals, incremental is about finding a weapon that do more damage followed by a armor with more defense.

Incremental is all about replacing old stuff with new better and usually leads to that you don’t feel attached to your gear since each new level or area require an ever incremental weaponry to stay ahead of the curb.

I still like playing both; Diablo II remains one of the forbearers of RPG lite games that took the turn based stat heavy system into something like 4 stats, real time and loot heavy.

And I don’t mind first person shooters, but the twitch and spawn kind of deals grows old on me, where there’s no real use of tactics.

To me DDO is a hybrid of these two system – it’s real time of sort and it’s stat heavy enough to be a true RPG. It straddles the middle ground between the realistic assessment of weapon and the every incremental nature of bigger and better weapons. A long sword only does so much damage, but with higher levels comes special effects and elemental damage effects. There’s a point where you can’t really go any higher but then the level cap is 20 so between skills, enhancements, feats and items, there’s just so much damage you can and need to do.

That makes you at least attached to your gear; it’s not of the throw away nature.

But enough re-hashing the point I made then (that I like this system better) and instead go to the point I want to make now.

Using specialized weapons are fairly useless. There’s this point around Giant Hold when they’re useful. It’s some kind of thin borderland of about 2-3 levels where there’s yet not that much super damaging weapons out there and paralyzing weapons are useful. After that – about the time you hit the vale – the time is passed and the only thing from that point and onward is DPS.

Same applies to running GH on a higher level character; it’s very unlikely that a high level toon will go back to using paralyzing weapons if they have green steel. After all; would you trade 2-3 hit kills on a well armed and equipped character and use paralyzing weapons instead?

The point is simple; where a incremental system always gives you better armor to balance out the ever increasing damage of weapons, DDO does not.

Most well balanced toons cap out on their AC around 40ish something. There’s virtually no better armor than +5 (unless you count Epic) and with the BAB inflation of critters, you’re almost guaranteed to get hit unless you have 50-60 AC. And in order to hit that you need a lot of stacking items that you won’t find that many of. The trade of is picking AC providing rings and bracers or adding stuff that increase damage (such as strength items or even guard effects). And since hitting 50 gets very difficult unless you’re specialized in being armored (like adding a good shield) you’re trading the ability to deal damage against maybe avoiding taking any.

But in DDO the likelihood of winning a good scrap using better armor is one of time. Time to win and time to survive; it becomes a matter of painfully slogging yourself through 45+ minutes of hordes or less than 30 minutes with high DPS weapons. And even with a good AC you’re still getting hit – so slow and painful.

That’s why specialized weapons are generally useless; sure there are some effects that can be good – like destruction that lowers enemy AC on successful damaging hit or stunning if you have the skill and enhancement, but the trade off is that you’re removing the off hands ability to do additional damage in order to get a marginally useful item. This is more evident if you’re not skilled at two weapon fighting; you’re essentially wasting possible damage in off hand for a low proc chance of maybe having the effect take place.

The sad thing is that most weapons that you pull have several of those special effects. One that might be useful is seeker as it applies to both weapons but most other effects are a waste of potential damage and have little if no tactical value soloing.

So why is DPS so important? With AC having little value in the upper half of your quests DPS is not just how quickly you can kill something – it’s also how low of a chance (timewise) a critter can hurt you. Quicker kills, less damage.

My only hope is that if they would ever create EPIC shroud they would also create a fourth tier with specialized effects. I know the idea is that people probably want MORE DPS but I’d like to see specialized effects that add a tactical dimension to a weapon rather than Holy Nuke or something. Or even the possibility to add a DR effect so that the weapon is more effective – I’d love my GS rapiers to have DR/Piercing as an effect.

Forward looking

With the Risia Ice games I have upgraded several weapons to either frost or cold burst. I figure since I had a bunch of hot chocolate left over from last time.

It’s a good thing too since I don’t have any GS weapons and therefore need whatever advantage I can get until I do. But it did make me go through my regular pile of dusty weapons (storage) and found several really good ones; like 2 weapons with elemental bane – one of them with greater. Or 3 and several paralyzing weapons. Since I am now level 14 I can use all of those.

And I’ve set up reasonable combos to suite most situations – which includes bows with holy burst, shock burst and one with holy and greater gnoll bane and the shock one with hobgoblin bane.

That’s good, if not a little messy; it would be easier to have fewer combos but with more potent weapons like GS, but that’s how it is when you haven’t done all that stuff yet. Hopefully I will be able to get my first GS weapon done fairly quickly around 16/17 so I can be more useful and do higher end quests and raids.

The transient moment of ‘things’ coming together

We know when we like a build and when we don’t. The reason why I had a bunch of below 10 builds and 1 level 20 for the longest time, was this thing called not fun. Fun to play mr. 20, not so much with below 10. It wasn’t just a not so fun build as much as it was the fact that they struggled at their role. True, there was always one level where they absolutely rocked, but as they outgrew their equipment it was clear that it was more than having a good sword; it was something fundamentally not so fun with their build.

You also know when it’s good and when it’s more ‘I don’t have the right thing’. Like a fire weapon when you need it or a ice weapon when you do. Those are limitations you can struggle to overcome rather than fundamental issues with the alt you’re playing.

Which is what I feel about my ranger. With the right equipment I’m usually right up there killing things and when I solo I’m usually only defeated by things like being held and pummeled by other critters. That’s a limitation, not a problem. And when I play in groups I’m usually one with the same or more kills than others; which doesn’t prove that I’m better – only that I’m fulfilling the role I’m suppose to excel in.

I can’t wait running shroud and craft my first green steel weapon. That’s when the real fun begins. When you’re not limited to the odd assembly of different random weapons but have the one slicer or beater that suits your situation. I’m going to use my 20 to run several of the Vale quests to add the mats needed for building the item so that I don’t have to waste so much time putting it together. And I do have tons of mats already, except for those large devil scales, but if I have two toons running the shroud on different days, I really don’t have to wait that long.

Add another level 20 and I will be able to run the shroud every day and that should give me all the mats I need.

And BTW – spectral gloves rocks on a tempest ranger; it’s good on my FvS but with a ring of +6 strength and spectral gloves extra attack plus dex and ghost touch effect, 2 disruptive weapons really make life a cake walk where there’s undead. Since the undead is my number one enemy I’ll have plenty of extra damage, attack and defense against them. I’ve already confirmed that running the sands and I did this morning running a quick Orchard run.

All I need now is a good metalline weapon to make those flesh golems into chunks.

Rage quitting and fun

Someone having played 3 months told me she like to rage quite bad groups. Her experience of bad was that one person went AFK in the beginning of Tempest Spine, forgot to tell others as we started running and another got a little lost and died.

I’ve seen worse. In her opinion this was a sign of a bad group and she was screaming rage quit every 30 seconds until she did.

I’ve never seen that. I mean I’ve seen people quite for no good reasons; like the caster who thought our 90 minute run (as it turned out to be) with less than a full group doing Deleras was a little bit too slow.

Considering we had to substitute with hirelings – it was a pretty darn good run. I don’t get people sometimes.

I’ve seen worse both in Deleras and tempest. But I don’t quit unless it’s hopeless. And stuff really happens. I’ve done Epic VON 1 where we did awesome until the room with mephits and you have to barge into it and climb up the ladder. I got stuck in a wall of them and we kind of disintegrated from there. Other times you pass them just fine and then you’re okay.

It’s a pity that people really have that attitude. I would never play with that healer again because I wouldn’t be able to rely on someone with such an attitude. I mean if I’m putting together a group I want to make sure the healer knows its job and will commit to the run.

The funny thing is that as we redid the whole tempest run we were just fine with a majority of the original runners. Stuff really happens. Unlucky saves, death by fire elementals etc and you go down. It’s not ‘proof’ of a bad group that some members lag behind. That’s like saying that all guys in a 12 man raid are bad because 1 or 2 happen not to know the way or take a unlucky turn.

See, the thing about tempest is that IF you race by the elementals and such you gain agro and if you stir up enough critters you get harried. When you do you walk in slow mo. So is the person harried a bad player because you have 10 fire ellies on your tail?

But I truly like my ranger; he saves very nicely against most traps and AOE stuff. That’s because I have a bunch of stuff on me already. And with my array of weapons I have tons of DPS on my side. 2 ancient drow something daggers with giant slayers. 3 decent khopeshes etc. All with enough burst, holy, good and ice for any occasion. All I need now is a little bit better armor, something with deathblock to get me through the thickest battles. At 10 I’m there when you can start running Orchard, Sands etc. So now all I need is a full elite run of threnal, Shadow tomb and some other 8ish quest including the full VON series to be in much better shape.