Monthly Archives: August 2010

Sleeping with the fishes

I have a new ‘not my favorite vale quest’. Odds are that you’ll always find someone running rainbow, sacrifice and devils. ‘Cause they’re easy and relatively quick. Easy as in beating stuff up. Rainbow might have a couple of surprises and the whole running through darkness kind of thing but it’s straight forward and made easy by using ddoor. Even without out ddoor it’s still fairly straight forward. Smiting, construct bane and a couple of elemental bane stuff and it’s a romp through dark corridors that shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.

Runnings with devils is of course the fastest but also potentially most painful. Several chaotic outsider eladrin with clerics that just have tons of resist and hurt you with light damage and can self heal. And you’ll need elemental resist against everything. I can’t solo it as my fvs since the mini boss before the end bosses is a pain in the butt eladrin that’ll heal itself 50% at several points and unless you have great DPS it’s a merry go round of slapping, self healing and watching the boss replenish the health lickedy split.

Coalescence chamber used to be the worst and it’s still not my favorite. Long cave tunnels, a main chamber to walk up (don’t fall), walkthrough tunnels to a secondary chamber to walk up (don’t fall), another walkthrough to the only shrine then walk through to the upper part of the chamber (light up rune unless you enjoy slowly walking through everything again), find the first door – key and drop all the way down to the lower main chamber and the first locked door in that chamber. In the good old days there was no rune and express elevator up – only the joyful trek through tunnels with respawning critters. With the new changes and as long as you light up that rune, there are several lit up spots along the path up in the lower main chamber where if you walk on them air pressure will shoot you up. That way you can easily drop down, open the door get the next key, air push yourself to the pass-through and get to the secondary chamber quickly. And if you fall down after you light up the rune, you can take the air push express all the way from lower main chamber to upper. Which is good. That probably cuts the tedium in half right there. But you still have to walk up and down, still have to enjoy trog caster de-buffing you and casting all manners of bad juju your way and enjoying trog bowcritters shoot you from ledges above.

All for the possibility of funk and the occasional locust husk just to remind you that you really only did it for the stone. Oh – and if you do it on casual it might not give you the stone at all.

Sacrifice is just a romp through tunnels filled with gnolls. It’s really a quest of running, killing gnolls, some ellies, more gnolls, rescue a guy from critters spawning out of a shavarath portal, run up a ramp, kill more trogs, orthons etc, join up with theguy and get to end without him dying killing stuff and end theifling I think. Get a chest, smile and move on.

Let sleeping dust lie is that one new that I really really don’t like.

It’s not that it’s overly long unless you can’t find the first journal – the pain comes from not letting 5 spiders die.

This is the one I have failed the most. Not from killing the spiders myself, but from dps like people who simply kill although people keep telling them to kill no spiders. Like the rouge I ran with who kept backstabbing and one kill the spiders. We got fairly far, but we failed eventually from the one kill here and one kill there.

It’s most easily completed if the caster can one kill the controlling Ogres and flesh to stone the spiders in the end but you can certainly do it if everyone knows their part. And to make matters worse, if you had 3 spiders killed (and only 2 more to save) in the end when you fight the end boss and that many more spiders die it’s a insta fail.

In other words; a long potential slog with several pitfalls and with the wrong group almost automatic fail.

Yet you need it – for every item you want to make you also need to pull a stone. 5 stones to make the main stone in building a GS item or weapon. You can buy the mats but the stones are bound to character.

So if you want to make another item you also need to farm stones. Such is life. True – you can find blank GS items and weapons in the AH but they’re far too expensive and you might not find what you’re looking for and you still need to run these at least once to flag.

Which brings me to the last point; I still need to do it 3 more times. One for my bow, one for my helmet and one for my goggles. I have time, but I certainly do not look forward to it.

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Waitin’ for heals

Waiting for 2 shrouds to fill is like a food fight over (usually) who will recruit the last healer.

So you stand there, ready to attack while other players keep jumping around ‘warming up their twitch fingers’ swinging weapons with a lot of swooshing and the odd cleric setting of something magical and pretty. Or the odd Favored soul leaving a couple of dozen golden feathers behind demonstrating leap of faith on low altitude.

Meanwhile I’m readying myself for the greater power shard; ready to bake it in the altar as we arrive and complete part 3 – hopefully pulling a shard in the first place or win a roll. Either or I won’t complete unless I also have tier 2 on my second Khopesh; it’s just that good to have around.

Things to do

I’ve enjoyed leveling up my Ranger and noticed the things that make it different from some other builds I’ve toyed with. Sure – it’s squishier then a fighter and can’t heal itself as well as a healer, but it’s ability to evade AOE’s and traps sure makes up for a lot of the things it ‘ain’t’ compared to other classes.

My Favored soul – and for that matter other toons I play with from time to time – are a lot more prone to take trap and AOE damage. It’s almost guaranteed. I saw my favored soul save against a trap once, but it was probably a figment of my imagination.

Compare that to being tossed into the ceiling in Sins and get hit once and see ’20’ other saves from the spikes and you know it’s a beautiful thing.

I also managed to get my HP up there close to the 400 mark (389 or something like that).  It ‘only’ took 3 racial toughness enhancements and 2 toughness feats, together with Minos Legen.

 That have helped me to identify 3 main areas that I want to concentrate on – reflex Save, more HP and offensive capability. I’m plenty good at hitting and as I tier up my khopeshes it’ll only get better, but I’m just almost there when it comes to the rest.

And as a result I have toyed with the GS recipies to get 3 items that would benefit me a lot and also taken a look at some of the ToD items as well as Epic to get a feel of what I want in the future.

I have 45 in AC from a +4 insight bonus on my DT, shield +4 when dualing, prot +5 necklace, Armor +7 bracers, Bark skin buff adds +5 and with 26 in Dex I get another +8. Since I use a Vestment I don’t have any armor cap to my dex. This also means a lot higher reflex save. I can scrape out a few more if I add a better armor bracers item and a little more Dex. That would get it to about 48.

The main benefit from that is 45-48 is enough to stay out of trouble in Vale. But when that fails I need HP.

Greensteel Cloak With  +10 hp, +1 Con Skills ,  +15 hp, +2 Con Skills  – Stoneskin (2/day),  +20 hp, +3 Con Skills – Heavy Fortification, +5 Protection

Vorne’s Belt – (Belt) Constitution +6, Greater False Life, Occult Slayer Set Bonus

These two items adds several things.  First of all +75 HP. 45 from the GS item and then 30 from the belt. It also adds heavy fort and +5 prot. Allowing me to remove my current necklace and Minos Legen. More XP and better protection.

When combined with Gnawed Ring – (Ring) Strength +6, Exceptional Constitution +1, Occult Slayer, Incredible Potential the belt and the ring provides Occult Slayer (This item is one of two pieces of the Occult Slayer set. When both items are equipped you will gain +2 Exceptional Bonus to Willpower and Reflex saves, and Spell Resistance 22). This would provide me with a total of 444 HP which is not half bad for a ranger.

Add +2 exceptional strength to the ring and It adds to my close quarter brawling.

Greensteel Goggles With  +5 Reflex Save (Resistance),  +1 Reflex Save (Insight) – Displacement (3/day),  +2 Reflex Save (Insight)  – Smoke Concealment (20% Blur, Permanent)

This adds two things. First of all +8 Reflex Save and secondly permanent blur. I have perma blur on my favored soul and it’s a excellent way of avoiding some damage. Also, with occult slayer it’ll be +10 Reflex Save.

Add Kilau’s Necklace(Necklace) Constitution +6, Balance +15, Tempest Set Bonus and Kilau’s Band – (Ring) Dexterity +6, Exceptional Wisdom +1, Tempest Set Bonus, Incredible Potential and +2  Exceptional Dex to the ring.

And finally – add Epic Spectral Gloves – (Gloves) Ethereal, Dexterity +7, Attack Bonus +4 and +1 Exceptional Dex to the augment .

The net sum of these items will be +30 Reflex Save (+10 for items, +10 from Dex and base 10), 47 AC, Perma blur and +2 additional Str.

Add a +8 armor bracer or one of the +8 armor epic bracers and I get 48 AC.

The final item that I plan to make is

Greensteel Helm With  Blindness Immunity, Disease Immunity,  Immunity to Fear, Proof against Poison – Symbol of Weakness (3/day),  Superior Void Lore – Slay Living Guard (On-Hit, DC 30 Fortitude Save, Does 3d6)

Having a all immunity item saves buffs, SP and endless annoyance from a host of stat damage and death block might save your life more than once.

+5 Greensteel Khopesh (1d10, 19-20/x3) With  Acid, +1d6 Acid,  Good Burst, +1d6 good, +3d6/4d6/5d6 vs non-good on crit – Stoneskin (2/day),  Acid Blast (1d10 * (critical multiplier -1) on Critical, + 4d6 on 20) – Transmuting, Keen/Impact, Slicing (+1d4 Bleed damage), +8 hardness, +80 durability

I’m currently creating 2 Mineral II Khopeshes. I have one at tier 2 and the other at tier 1. I could go straight hoye and it would save me a bundle in larges, but it’s just one of those things you’re better off doing right.

+5 Greensteel Longbow (1d10, 20/x3) With  Acid, +1d6 Acid,  Good Burst, +1d6 good, +3d6/4d6/5d6 vs non-good on crit – Stoneskin (2/day),  Acid Blast (1d10 * (critical multiplier -1) on Critical, + 4d6 on 20) – Transmuting, Keen/Impact, Slicing (+1d4 Bleed damage), +8 hardness, +80 durability

I also want a bow with the same features. Many shots is such a killer that having a transmuting bow would top off that ability.

Having these three weapons would allow me to drop some of the things I have in my inventory and respec my current improved critical: slashing feat to something else.

The net sum is at least 1 epic item, 3 GS items (and 41 shroud completions to cleanse two of them) and 3 GS weapons. 5 double shard tier 3 GS recipes and 1 straight negative. Compare that to my 5 GS things for my FvS, 2 double shard tier 3.

Vorpalled

Haven’t I been here before; twice?

I cut my teeth on a FvS leveled up, crafted one GS cloak and then TR’d – one final romp through my favorite dungeons before feeding my ashes to the tree of hearts.

Then a favored soul – twice – now a ranger fresh in his 20’s.

There are lessons to be learned; get some of the good stuff while you’re still getting XP. GS and dragontouched. And it’s quite different playing a ranger over playing a healer; one being the ability to solo without hireling and self healing when it hurts. The other able to down critters in a flurry but I still miss kiting them through blade barriers making slayer a science and a matter of little time.

And appreciate vorpals. I have three or four but banked them all. It always seemed easier to slap something around until it died instead of waiting for that pure 20. Until I played VoD. VoD demands vorpals – the super inflated HP on most of those mobs need the natural 20 more than ever. It’s impractical trying to grind down the HP unless you have a tier 3 GS weapons of the right kind and a generous crit range to boot.

Enter vorpals and the story is a lot different.  So yesterday – up early to grind the morning out (had a terrible headache the night before that and went to bed early) – hit 1500 in both Lamania and Shavarth slayer in the Vale (ran around for about an hour) and tried to get the final 10k by doing VoD. Twice – failed at the exploding bats both times and we kind of resigned to the fact that it wouldn’t happen.

But the whole day wasn’t a bust; after getting my 20th doing Sins of Attrition on casual (good thing too) and then hitting the rare Orthon on our ways to weapon shipment – I hit the final level and felt that ‘wow – 20’ all over again.

So after qualifying for TOR, doing reavers, flagging for ADQ2 I was like caught up with most flagging quests.

And to round off the evening I did Hound followed by VoD without failure.

My Hound was probably the smoothest ever with this ranger; having only really run it 20+ times with my FvS and seen the healing side.

The difference; vorpals. I had done Hound once before – and died a couple of times and failed. That was back when I was about level 17 and only had a couple of holy burst weapons. There are two kinds of flesh renders – one is drone and the other some kind of taller guardian type. Drones goes down quickly, guardians don’t. So I started running as usual with my bow on the ready. My theory is simple – shoot a couple of arrows in them to take aggro before the go into the middle and bother the healers (that can get very messy) and then finish them off in close quarter (unless I have multi-arrow ready – then it’s a much quicker affair). Pre-vorpal the guardians are tough tigers – they’ll smack your HP from under you before you can say ‘mama!’ but here I was solo running on the outside (I’m a rebel so I ran the opposite way after we dropped all the flayers) and I turn around to see if anything is coming out from the portals behind me and I see this huge guardian barreling down on me. So I shoot a couple of pointless arrows in it, switch to my vorpals, get a smack that skins 30 HP from me and I hit him twice in return. Second is a vorpal and lops of its head (so the theory goes but you don’t actually see it). I then continue vorpal renders until we hear the second thing and join up on the hound and beat the rest of the HP out of her. Nothing really drops and that’s it. But I’m a happy camper because I’m now confident I can add my 2 cents to the raid.

I know – there are people out there that already knows that – but it’s nice to have the twf speed to actually get the most from the the vorpals.

So VoD afterwards was the big test. Lots of high HP mobs harassing you. And it worked as advertized. Bearded elite devils went down in a hail of vorpals and we ganged up and killed the Orthon bodyguard. We even survived the exploding bats. I didn’t pull anything since this is a notorious fickle named giver, but it feels nice to have finished this raid with as little drama as possible.

Waitin’

You wanna raid? Take a seat and wait.

To be honest; who want to do VoD? I mean it’s one of the most taxing raids on any healer and one of those – how much damage will my stuff take? And after all that damage; will I pull anything useful? That’s why VoD seems to be the one raid people are very reluctant and trying out – I was for the longest time as FvS because my first couple of tries had me guzzle pots before I got the bauble and realized just how to play it effectivly.

So here we sit waiting for healers – 2 last spots to fill and I just don’t see anyone wanting to fill those in a hurry.

The lumbering capstone

20k Xp left and I’ll hit 20. One more ability point, one more spell and more enhancement points to get capstone and something else. That’s it. After this point slayer becomes moot and the only thing I need is to get all the stuff I want and then TR. Maybe. I’m not in a hurry to TR. I’d like all my GS and things before I do, since it was such an advantage to have the GS cloak for my FvS and I can just imagine how valuable it is going to be for my ranger.

Tier 2 on my mineral II (eventually) is good and I have another tier 2 to do on a second Khopesh. Meanwhile I’m using a holy burst weakening Khopesh and it’s good. It greatly lower enemy critters ability to smack me back and I’ve run Vale twice now trying to get enough slayer to level up. And the combination rocks. It’s to the point where I don’t use greater elemental bane stuff against the ellies; get close, smack em down and see their str hit rock bottom. Life is good again.

I’m going to have to check out Amrath soon to see if I can even put a dent in anything there, that’ll give me an idea if i should start doing ToD flagging or not.

Soft

The soft garb rustle in the breeze coming off the lake around Meridia. His footsteps are light and fleet. Leaving long grass waving in the wind, jump over a thorny bush with elegance while smoothly rounding a stiff, rough branch. His motions are fluid. Part of the synergy of the Vale. Leaving no ruffle behind, not a sound. The bow sings. The rat barely knows it’s dead before the rest of them turn. Death is so quiet and so quick that it’s like it never register. He’s amongst them. Two flaming blades sweeping across their mutated bodies. A squeak pierce the morning crisp air – the first sound that’s made. The acrid smells of burning fur and skin. The deep cauterized wounds as the two weapons become a blurry dance of metal and fire. 10 seconds later silence sweeps in, blanketing the dead, stilling whatever emotional carnage stirring.

His breath neither shallow nor labored. He runs, leaving the lake and steep cliffs behind. Running towards a Ogre mage by the edge of the impassable hills. He senses the scurrying of many spiders gathering by the mage. He dashes forward into a impossible speed. The wind howling in his ears. Tumbling over hulking body of a spider, deflecting the ogres sword away as he side step, slice off two legs from a nearby spider and sinks the flaming edge into another. There’s barely any resistance as he slashes the belly of the spider open, spilling the foul innards of the beast into the short, dry grass.

The Ogre growls, stumbling over the carcass of the spider trying to get to him. He dances back – heavy sword hitting the dirt only inches from him. The silk of his Vestment providing him with effortless motion. The magical nature of the runes glowing inside the Vestments fabric sees through the cloud of blur that the Ogre casts on himself and a spider. It doesn’t confuse him. He senses the Ogre’s motives and attack. Rune helping him read attack pattern. He moves backwards, fending off spiders and the Ogre – another dies as the Khopesh slashes half its head off and another spider by a mistaken attack from the enraged Ogre. With a back flip he ends up behind a arachnid trying to ambush him and the twin weapons severs the body from the mid section.

The Ogre rush him – greatsword held high. Rage flairs in its eyes. The heavy weapon comes down hard. A mass of thick steel glistening in the morning sun. he easily steps aside, deflects it with one weapon, sending a shower of sparks over them and the other slashes across the Ogres chest. But before the Ogre can even register the pain he spins 360 degrees around and sinks the other sword straight through the back. Crushing the spine and opening the wounded chest with the tip of the sword.

The Ogre lumbers forward. Falling off his weapon. Flames sizzle and burns the flesh as it slides off. No final breath escapes it’s collapsed lounges. It just dies. He hear the chatter of a spider running off to get more. He pulls the bow from across the back and fires off a barrage of arrows. Few misses – nailing the insect to the ground.