Monthly Archives: November 2010

What – not epic?

That was my first thought when I checked over the gear and weapons in u7 F2P Medusa quests. They were interesting – by far more so than a lot of other similarly leveled gear. Nothing ‘WOW its so uber, like yellow steel almost’. More like – hmm – it’s so good that I might even find use of it at level 20. Occasionally.

But it said fusible. Giving a hint that if you add something to it, it might have some other cool properties.  It’s not the first time Turbine have played with that. Take IQ quests and suppressed powers. With update 8 on Lamannia the whole ‘what can you do with fusible’ was answered.

To put it simple; each update have a bunch of different weapons and you can upgrade each and one of them by taking one main feature of one of the updates weapon and add it to the other updates weapon. So U7 blade of fury can have the Hooked blade (U8) feature of maiming added to it (you essentially merge the two with a ‘mark’). Furthermore, as a request by people for a finessable weapon, you can also split blade of fury (a great sword) into 2 shortswords. They maintain the same features (other than being a different weapon) but it cost twice as many marks to do it.

They also become +5 weapons instead of +4 without the upgrade and U7 weapons (level 10) gets bumped up to level 12.

The interesting part is not that the weapons become uber – this is not like adding tier 3 to a green steel where you add a better elemental damage plus a primary bonus (such as Mineral II keen and metalline). Instead it marginally make the item better, but you get a choice of 4 interesting effects.  Such as crippling, maiming, petrify, lesser vampirism, body feeder etc. All ‘interesting’ but not overpowering.

It also adds a dynamic if you use 2 weapons as they can complement the primary feature of the weapon with whatever the added feature that you want. How about handwraps that can stun and petrify with lesser vampirism (it only adds one HP per hit but it’s increased by amplification bonuses). Or the hooked blade with maiming and limb chopper and body feeder added?

All in all they’re perfect for the 10-16 level range, at least until green steel. One can only hope that there will be further support for these items. That there is at least one more tier to be added in the future just like the Mabar item could be taken all the way to epic.

But keep them cool; we don’t need more green steel – what we need is to keep them valid and interesting. Something that speaks to the flavor of the item and your playstyle. Maybe something like greater bane of some kind.

Also, there are items part of a 3 item set bonus. They can also be upgraded from level 11 to level 13. You don’t add a feature, just upgrade the item with a mark and they become a little better. It’s very nice stuff for its level. And the armor you can find have some really interesting features to them. A level 8 armor with earthen guard (chance to proc stone skin which is terrific for that level and it also have +4 con) or with u8 a level 12 armor that have some kind of knock down feature guard on it. Very interesting.

Over all the items are not pure super duper. There’s a thought behind them to keep them from blowing the power creep sonic wall but still find a valid place in your over all gear plan. U8 might be P2P but it’s a perfect reason for F2P people to at least get U8 so they can get use of those new named items.

I have to hand it to Turbine. When Red fen hit and later on the new Chrono raid my whole gear plan was completely thrown out the window. I could safely say that instead of so many different green steel items I found some epic items that appealed to my over all build instead. And now with u7 and u8 I’m inclined to say that leveling is going to be really fun for that 8-16 range.

Thank you for taking focus away from green steel as the only viable option and hopefully we can see more of this without feeling that unless you have green steel and epic gear you’re not really in the tier 1 league.

Mabar – finally ends

Do you remember Risia? How happy we were that it was finally over – the 4th time it ran in the middle of the Summer? But thankful that it gave us all those recipes so we could add ice burst to a decent bunch of weapons and superior glaciations to startup gear?

Risia to me was perfect; in one full day you could get enough coins to upgrade whatever item you had in mind and after a couple of days you could be done.

Mabar – not so much. Don’t get me wrong. I like the event. I love the gear – but the grind is mind numbing, caster oriented, heart wrenchingly designed to remove any kind of forward progress other than spending days in and days out ‘farming’ stuff.

If I solo this with my ranger I get more stuff. If I farm it (solo) with my FvS I get more plus motes. If I join a group as a ranger I get the odd thing but really nothing else. And if I do it as a caster I can slaughter a whole group and get say 4-7 motes if I drink the drought. Single kills stuff and I have a chance to get 2-3 items per group – one shot kill them with AOEs and I get one thing.

Join a group and enjoy fireballs and meteor storm and watch it go off over and over and over…

The changes from ‘kill something and get something’ to ‘kill something and if you’re group might get something’ seems good. It prevents ninja kills (you know 1 HP left and the monk rush in and snipes it). But in reality if you’re a large group there’s such a slight chance that you get something.

I’ve spent hours just to get a bunch of motes and the scale raid (unless it has competent people in it) takes place every 5 hour or so. That gives me a realistic chance to pull maybe 2-3 scales per day if I’m around all the time and that’s just too much time invested in that one event.

Again – I like the trading system and it shows a lot of promise. I like the changes, the gear you can make and the overall premise. But it’s like being a jackhammer operator. Eventually your hands, arms and whole body feels numb.

And that’s not having fun.

 

 

In the right frame of mind

So I ran frame works again – Minotaur village thingie quest with a group this time. There was only 5 of us, but I figured that if I could solo it I bet 5 level (almost) appropriate toons could do it better.

So I died twice. Which is far less than most others.

I died once as I tried to help out 2 that decided to play brave heart and attack 2 red named (in the same spot) and 3-4 other Minotaur’s. I started by killing several but then got knocked down over and over until I got up with a fraction HP left and died.

The second time I died it was when I was within a hit from killing the boss Minotaur – I should have stepped out of it, drunk a couple of pots and get back in again, but alas I didn’t. before that I had killed the red named orc and in the end as the red named ogre slaughtered 2 of the group I ran in, did the whole haste, power surge and fighters haste boost and clobbered him as he got half my HP due to some cold damage.

Another 5k later and this quest is still too long for the XP – but as thanks I pulled the crown (which I let people roll on) and the bloody cleaver which I kept. It’s a funny world; not that it attest to any skill or anything but one run can go so relatively smooth and another so completely wrong. I guess it’s just the way the cookie crumbles.  

Minotaured

I did the first lordmarch quest with my half orc at level 10 (it’s a level 12 mission). I used a bard hireling. Haste and displacement for the world.

It wasn’t easy, but there’s something satisfying to explode all that raw power and hitting Fighter haste boost together with haste is just share, brutal and unapologetic mayhem.

Or to put it in the best way possible – orc power attack and all that half orc extra damage makes one really sticky and brutal situation very quickly.

So when I hit 12 I figured I’d do the Minotaur village mission – having done it with the other two capped on elite I had a general understanding just how frantic it can get.

I always start by clearing the outskirts and picking up all the pieces and then as I come full circle I stone the guards outside the gate and repair the ballista closest which will fling you all across the village and land you by the shrines. Half orcs are not subtle, so I didn’t have any illusions that I would be sneaking around playing ninja and went for the brutal slaughter method instead.

Clearing wasn’t all that hard. Blade of fury is a great weapon and it cuts through anything with ease. Only the spiders gave me some trouble with all that marsh land and web. But my FvS hireling kept me alive and after some brutal close quarter I even landed myself the boss spider.

The actual fight inside the village started bad. First off my hireling ended up piled on by dozen or so minotaurs and my Half orc succumbed by constant spell barrage, knockdowns and negative levels. But I raised myself at the shrine, cleared the area around it and got my healer back. Then hit haste and haste boost and diced the red named and everything around.

And since I didn’t want a repeat in the other sections of the village I did hit and runs – using bows to pull agro and dicing everything close by as quickly as possible while moving to higher ground or narrow streets where I could better funnel critters without getting constantly knocked down.

The ending was kind of anti climactic. Previously it had been a frantic slaughter fest with me trying to survive brutal odds – now it was more me launching myself into the fort, pulling the boss and running back to the part of the village with the shrine and dominate and slaughter him without any other critters following and surrounding me.

Then back to the boss part, kill off the other two mini bosses and other critters.

I didn’t pull any loot and 5k wasn’t nearly good enough for the length of the quest, but it was nice to adjust tactics somewhat to effectively take down a whole village full of angry minotaur’s. Just me and a very scared FvS hireling.

Green steel DONE!!!! Sorta…

I’m officially done with green steel on my ranger. Officially as in I still have to tier 3 some stuff, but as far as Items goes – yup. I could consider making a couple of triple earth picks for the earth grab, but for now I’m closing the books on this guy and will move on to get my half orc where I need it and get him some stuff. Primarily I’m thinking all immunity helmet, mineral II great axe and lightning II great axe. Possibly a HP mineral II helmet instead. But that’s the extent of it. The rest of the gear will be Epic, ToD and Epic cloak of Night. One that I will start making this week during the Mabar event. I have a level 12 already but I’d like a 8, 16 and 20 as well – all ready as I hit those milestones.
I haven’t thought about armor that much. Most likely DT. And as it hit 20 Epic infested armor.

Big fist meet stupid fishie demon

You’d think that playing ranger or caster can be quite therapeutic with all that skills, options, clickies and such, but I always found mindless carnage more therapeutic than the sophistication of the more advanced. It’s like comparing a good action flick such as a big fist or 200 rounds of ammo assault rifle with something like Saving Private Ryan. It’s the same thing right? But one has drama, tactics and eventually brutal action – the other have few words and something brutal that does a lot of hard hitting/killing stuff. One leaves you breathless as you try to soak the whole experience in, the other one leaves you walking out with a big smile as the evildoers are dispatched with brutal satisfaction.

Such is the world of my half orc. I hit level 10 dispatching critters in red fen. The only time I died was when I tried to kill the demon in the end quest. It coincided with the exact moment my healing hireling got the bright idea to get close and dirty with the boss. The hirelings hardly do anything other than the odd searing light or something but this time it wanted to do some pathetic hammer time. And hammered dead it got.

Up till that moment I had enjoyed the whirlwind tour of the upper world to this bottom of the sea. All in the name of hacking things to little bits.

My half orc is pure carnage with no or little sophistication. 1 big greatsword, a clickie for 25% haste boost and a haste or rage pot to add some extra speed. That’s very few things to think about.

Level 10 provided me with the opportunity to equip blade of fury. It’s not high damage; it has wounding, can infect a critter with con damage fever and if you go below 25% in HP you get enraged (kind of like Half Orc fury) and get stronger and such. I still like it and look forward to upgrading it with a hooked blade to add maiming. That would increase the DPS enough to make it viable for a bit more until I have a Mineral II or Lighting II big stick. That combo with Gorgon Armor adds a more brutal look. The Gorgon Armor is suppose to be a heavy armor but it looks more like a dressed up medium. Not a bad look – the whole ‘I just slayed a Gorgon and made a armor out of it’ look is awesome but it could do with a little more ‘heaviness’ if it is suppose to be heavy armor.

One more level and I can put on a Minos legen and stop worrying about those dumb crits and go on sucking on the build like it was a delicious cough drop.   

Nice thing about dragontouched (for once)

There was a time when I hated getting runes for my dragontouched. Some had this mad method; since runes stack they pulled enough runes that stacked, tried out the rune and if they didn’t like it they knew it was bad. So they had to pull ALOT of runes. Lots of runs, lots of runes in what must’ve been worse than running shroud without completion until you’re ransacked.

Then Turbine changed it. No more unknown runes; no more replacing something ‘I can use that’ with ‘arcane sigil????’

This works well for my plans, which involves making a pair of air bracers – +5 reflex and 35HP with air guard. Cheap, effective and to the point. Meanwhile they will replace my named subt bracers with 20% heal amp. So I need to find a DT tempest heal amp rune to replace it until I have +20 heal amp on my future tempest ToD ring. But I need to pull it first. At least now I won’t blow away my DT rune and replace it with something REALLY crappy. I could add the magma rune I just pulled or simply keep the true seeing in the case I stroll around in Amrath and need the healing. Eventually I’ll circle back and make sure I have the kind of setup I’d like to have -optimizing my build as I’ve planned. So now I love dragontouched. Not the grind; but chance is that if you run it someone else might pull the rune and trade it for what you got. And that’s a good thing.

Tharne-goggle-thon

Everyone wants tharnes goggles. Or at least it seems like it. There’s always the ‘drat the goggles didn’t drop’ in a VoD run. And for good reasons. It’s not that tharnes goggles are these super duper ones, but they’re pretty good, offer a lot of value for something like a rogue and it has true seeing on them which is at least for a self sufficient dungeon runner almost a must.

It never drops. Well it does – but for all the times I have run VoD I’ve seen it drop twice and once as end reward for my FvS. I took it – it’s not like I really needed it but I figured what the heck – I might as well take it since I had everything else. This time I was running VoD on my ranger and I figured I wanted tharnes, or the epic red fen ones with true seeing so I could eventually replace my DT true seeing rune and start the whole slow migration of gear over to ‘final super uber stuff’. I didn’t NEED it per say but it sure would look nice on my wall. The run started really badly; one guy wasn’t even in when a few of us dropped down and as we fell piecemeal we ended up getting somewhat displaced and eventually ‘deaded’ by stuff like one or two people dropping to the very bottom (leader forgot the obligatory put your FF on). And as they recalled and got their HP and SP back others of us (including myself) had already reached the puzzle part where we ended up dying at a frightening rate. I didn’t, but others around me did. My combination of con op and vorpal (and running in circles healing myself) eventually cleared the stage before the first infernal wall and we fared better in clearing and pulling down the second to the actual portal.

Meanwhile 3-4 people were still behind because one healer kept dying. And dying. And worse of all – that healer only had 230 HP and despite being a level 18 FvS (pure) – not one single raise dead spell or scroll. Color me noob or something but that was one of the first spells I picked up when I took my first baby step as the role of healer. I figured it was there for a reason – if someone dies and they will I wouldn’t be so inept that I couldn’t get them back.

To make matters worse he had so few HP that he died from his own inept healing and as a result the rest of the group fell with him.

Not to paint him or his build as terribly bad but if you can’t keep yourself alive let alone others than FvS or cleric isn’t for you. I’m not saying that in a Elitist way – but when I first tried out my FvS I seldom died from not taking care of number one guy – I figured if I died as the only healer the rest of the group would be screwed. Plus I learned the value of wands, pots and scrolls fairly quickly – having the ability to use heal scrolls and save SP is a value proposition no one should overlook.

When people finally figured out that it would take this guy about 2 hits to die inside the quest and that he didn’t have any raise dead abilities whatsoever it was ever so politely suggested that he dropped out and that he should get together with some of the other players to get his build looked at. Which I think was a awesome way instead of kicking him whenever he stepped out like I’ve seen happen to others. And that’s why I stuck around despite the whole ordeal taking over an hour (with a 20 minute up front wait before we even dropped down into Subt). The guys were competent and there was none of that drama that usually unfolds as stuff comes unglued.

The actual raid was like running water; there was enough DPS to dwindle down Mr bossy, slap around the red named Orthons and hack to pieces any other trash mobs. And the ending came quick as BB’s and such came up as the bats dropped and he fell under the barrage of sharp weapons and multi arrow.

And as we opened the warded chest 2 bard cloaks and 3 tharne dropped. 3.

2 went up for roll and I won one of them.

Again – 3. That would be like seeing 3 torc drop in ADQ2. I guess that was the reward to all of us for seeing it through till the end.

Which brings me to the actual point of this rant; leave the drama for real life. Even the worst beginnings can have a happy ending if people show grit instead of emotional drama. Nothing good comes out of finger pointing, yelling and behaving like @ssess. Perseverance might be its own reward but sometimes even the game rewards you for it.

Of course none of that explains why I pulled the gorgon docent instead of the gorgon armor (like I wanted) but we can’t get everything all the time either.

Getting back to the basics

With the Mabar even my current build ended up seeing some real changes. First off – I like the Epic Cloak of Night. I always wanted a perma blur item and I was thinking about making a perma blur green steel item, such as goggles that added reflex save. Now I don’t need too. The problem is that I already have a good cloak; +45 HP Mineral II (so heavy fortification and protection +5).

Ditching that mean losing 45 HP, which wasn’t the worst, except that some late game/epic critters can slap you for over 400 in damage. Plus having one item with heavy fortification and protection is very nice. It was expensive too – double shard with 5 large devil scales and not something I want to simply discard in a hurry.

This definitely threw my whole set up for a loop and I ended up dropping my tier 1 10% healing amp on my dragon touched for heavy fortification since I used a ring for a while, but that became inconvenient when I pulled the occult slayer ring in ToD.

This equipment issue snowballed into me redoing my pure ranger build into a fighter 2, ranger 18 build. In doing so I lost my 5th favored enemy and 2 damage for every favored enemy and my capstone – ranged combat attack speed. But I gained a lot in return. I doubt I would’ve done the change if rangers had a better capstone or a tempest alternative. First off I gained 2 extra feats by splashing in fighter. I added power attack and improved critical ranged. Both will more than enough compensate for the loss of favored enemy (I ditched construct), and even though I shoot relatively ‘slower’ my increased threat range compensates for the loss of speed. I also added fighter attack speed boost 15%. It’s a awesome clickie. Add haste and that and it’s significantly faster. It’s only 5 clickies but well worth the choice.

All in all I added more CON, a little less WIS and my strength remain the same. And as I pulled a +3 Str tome as 20th reaver completion I can now boost my str further with a +1 STR ship shrine. And since the occult slayer ring adds +1 exceptional CON the +1 CON ship shrine boosts that part.

All I need now (except for my epic gear loadup) is a green steel item that adds some HP and some reflex. I’m considering something like bracers of triple air. It’s relatively inexpensive and add air guard – a chance to either slap someone on their butt (save) or proc a 30 second haste – ideal. I would add +5 reflex save as tier 1, and 35 HP (tier 2 and 3). That would further increase my over all HP and reflex save and I could complement with more stacking reflex save through some other item, possibly epic.

The issue I have is that if I do bracers (pretty much the only slot I have ‘open’) I lose my subt +20 heal amp item, but my hope is to pull the tempest ToD ring and instead of adding +2 exceptional Dex, add +20 heal amp to that.

Then by adding heavy fortification to the epic items I’m looking at (augmented) and the red fen +30 heal amp gloves I can get my +10 heal amp DT rune back and be done with it.

Or shorter. I’m looking at a ranger with a balanced set between AC for Vale and lower and DSP all the way to the top with the ability to self heal that can boost DPS through speed without compromising any functionality. I certainly could have done worse.