Monthly Archives: January 2011

Epic

It’s ironic but in a good way that hooked blade kind of feels useless (it isn’t, but really after level 14 specialized weapons lose out against superior dps) in the run up to 20 but after that in Epic finds a new life. Until they nerf it. I hope not, because that would cement all superior DPS weapons as the king. I built 2 green steel earth grab picks. They’re for anything very high level and epic. But I combine it with my hooked blade for some really impressive results. The thing about Epic is that unlike regular quests the mobs and bosses have tons of HP. Vorpal or insta kill spells are useless so it boils down to hold, stun or anything else that auto crits until the critter is dead.

High end DPS weapons are not bad, you just have to grind an aweful a lot and unless you auto crit you’re also spending a lot of time hitting the same target while it hit you back. Compare that to other quests where between level 14-16 a high end DPS will kill pretty much everything in less time than a specialized weapon like paralyze with paralyze and grind down a critter. 3 swings with a green steel DPS weapons against many more swings just to paralyze and kill. Vorpals work nicely too as well as smite or even in some cases banishing. Most high end quests are therefore a matter of zerging; resist, buff, sprint and kill.

That’s not really true with Epic mobs so the effectiveness of using earth grabbers and something like hooked blade makes sense. You either make it very hard for the critter to hit you back (slow) or you incapacitate through earth grabbing or stoning and then auto crit. Less chance to take a lot of damage and more chance to either slow down or auto crit an opponent.

I hope Turbine never change auto crit functions nor that things like limb chopper works on the critters. Those are the few tactics left to groups instead of having to grind and waste SP healing until a specific mob is down.

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Waiting for the queen

I really wanted to get that seal of gloves of the claw and then the scroll and shard of the bracers of the claw. That way I’d have +2 additional con, more heal amp and +4 dam. That’s awesome sauce for my ranger. But somehow I got suckered into a ADQ Epic prereq. Before the raid. It took forever but I got 2 scrolls and one of them ring of spell storing. Terrific. Now all I need is the seal and the shard. And then my FvS will have 3 more Major pot clickies. But I really want to get my ranger done. At least ‘done’er’. Meaning get him the bracers and the gloves and move onto getting my horc his Epic Chrono stuff.

It’s interesting how when you farm for something you won’t get squat but when you’re just doing it because you get really good stuff. Like my FvS. Decided to hit A new invasion and then Sins. Don’t know why. I pulled several mats, 2 artifacts and one keepsake. Didn’t need it and didn’t farm for it. Had already paid 350k for a keepsake and traded for a blood, losing a large devil scale and stone. Now I can’t pull devil scales for the life of me.

But back to red fen; I like those quests. Full of action. Really worth the time.

Some checks

A couple of intense days playing have resulted in 2 Epic items (after running Epic from time to time until now). The ironic thing is that I bought a scroll of ringleader for 300k, pulled it not that long after I started farming for Carnival scrolls (looking for Antique greataxe). After farming it for 2 days (and probably a good 6 real hours) I had pulled 3 scrolls total and the greataxe scroll. So now my Horc have 2 Epic items and a decent enough DR breaker. Esos is far far away but with a Li II greataxe (soon) and teh Antique great axe I’m pretty much covered until then.

I’ve also run a few refuge mission – need Prey and SoS and finally will have DT armor for my horc. I don’t know what runes to get for him but I’m thinking Heavy fort, heal amp +20% (or the salt guard) and destruction or another guard like earth grab.

I’ve also done tons of other Epics including Chronosphere. Perhaps the most difficult one if you’re unfortunate enough running into several Abashai.

I’ve hade better luck with complete runs than farming runs, especially since farming is usually done with a smaller group and therefore more likely to get ambushed and fail.

Don’t be hatin’ the shroud

3 healers and 3 dead. Pug shrouds are always surprising. Sometimes you have this amazing group that have done it a million times and everything is like clockwork. No one have to say anything and when you do it’s a corny joke while beating down the red named Orthon as you simultaneously kite the Trog. That’s the kind of group that gets it done in about 30 minutes or less.

Then there are the ones who struggle, but you have the confidence you’ll get it done anyways. There are some bruised elbows and a mutter here and there but for most part everything is okay enough and it’s more than 30 minutes. But survivable. Like the run where my ranger and a fellow monk ended up being the only DPS left for round 2 and 3 in part 4. I didn’t panic. One of the dead barbarians dropped out. Meanwhile round 2 hit, I multi arrowed Harry down to about 5% and in round 3 beat him dead while the monk smacked the gnolls around. It really doesn’t matter that the 3 healers let 4 DPS die. It could have been anything and it’s irrelevant. The relevant part is that we got it done. You take your loot, move on, say TY for group and think of the next thing you want to do.

Then there are nightmares that never start out good, never runs smoothly and seldom end great. Those are the ones where every single step feels like a gauntlet. It’s like running the portal beating in  part one with a bunch of old people who can’t remember where the bathroom is. That’s a metaphor for a leader that don’t lead (or are abusive), there others are simply being selfish and the first or second timers don’t feel like listening to simple instructions.

Any quest can be like that, but it’s more than frustrating when it’s round 4 and things are falling apart. There you are after 40-45 minutes of just mindboggling, mind numbing hardship and as you’re about to knock down the gates on that quest you get a big smack in your face. Denied. Battered, out of the really good materials and a handful of vendor trash and massive cost to repair your stuff, you sit down and wonder what the heck went wrong.

There are no easy answers. Only that the stars wasn’t aligned and what should be 30 minutes routine turns out to be over 30 minutes of groans, moans, teeth gnashing and frustrating defeat.

Mind you – the second example or even first can still end up in defeat. But it won’t be the players and everyone will laugh in the end.

The circular argument

There’s something really idiotic when I feel it’s much more fun to TR one of my toons than to grind epic, ToD and shroud. No seriously. I’ve done it before – it’s like smearing meat juice all over your hand and sticking in front of the neighborhood dog that hates you. The ONLY thing you look forward to is level 11 and 12. That’s when you can start using greensteel again.

I’d imagine it’s also fresh for the first 4-6 levels. When you level relatively quickly and you can actually do things without a full group.

I don’t know why those thoughts enters my head; grinding the same epic quest over and over or grinding XP? You know the bad part? When you finally cap again you’re back at the same dilemma that got you here 20 levels ago; do I grind for Epic or for XP.

I don’t want easy buttons. Like much easier to get the epic stuff. I just want a reason to do it. Like advanced levels or even epic feat by getting Epic XP. You know – a carrot. A reason NOT to TR to feel some kind of progress again.

Or better yet; a high end wilderness full of quests – how about random quests? Something anyone high level enough can do and feel like fresh.

But I probably do something stupid and TR instead and spend the next month or so grinding XP until I realize why I thought that was worse than Epic grinding.

Shrouded

My luck in running the shroud goes from ‘I would like something in part 4’ to ‘no large devil scales for 10 runs on 3 capped toons’.

I try to run shroud once a day. 1 Ranger, 1 FvS and 1 Fighter. I had the pleasure of running a shroud the other day in a almost all guild run (on my fighter). It was me and like a Brazilian guy and 10 from the same guild. It could have been fun if the raid leader wasn’t one of those guys with a mic, a total hot mess that thought it was inspiring to berate someone over the mic.

It was entirely hilarious considering that his guildies were the reason why we re-prepped the lieutenants 4 times in part 2. The best he could say was ‘come on’ but he spent a massive amount of time open mic complaining about the caster (from Brazil) who probably wasn’t clear what he wanted with his motor mouth.

He then got on my @ss in part 5. First blubbering about not hitting the Orc (I thought oh we’re saving him) so I started hitting the next closest (the kittie) and he started screaming like a Banshee. Turned out that during his ranting he had said to save the kittie but confused me with his ranting about the Orc later on. My fault was that I was tuning him out (like I do with the kids and my wife sometimes). It’s an automatic feature of mine. Years of marriage have perfected it. When irrelevant information comes in my brain automatically reroute most of my sensorial input in the form of sound waves into ‘oh look, a flower’.

When the guild leader then asked me if I had speakers, implied if I knew what I was doing I wanted so badly to tell him to spent less time worrying about my abilities and get an alternative form of communication and talk with his guildies that way. Or better yet – the guy who was obviously foreign (Brazilian caster) – type what you want. I bet that he would read instructions better than the 20 miles an hour motor mouth.

I didn’t say that of course. I had no reason to pick a pointless fight and start and drama since I just wanted to complete. Some times completing is better than starting drama. Drama only seems to consume everyone’s energy.

That’s why I like the groups where people can die and we know it was because stuff happens and we know we can fix it. Those are groups that are not fanatics on details and want to have fun instead. That’s their primary goal. How we get there is just par for the course since people who don’t worry about the minutia also play a good game.

2010 is dead, long live 2011

Having 3 capped toons means 1 shroud a day. It also means more opportunity for me to get snubbed on large devil scales and endlessly frustrated about the progression of my green steel.

After not pulling a single supreme shard on my half orc (horc) and missed out on several rolls I decided to do the only thing I could; upgrade one of my rangers things instead. I finished his Min II Khopesh and can now do a lot more kick@ss.

I’ll be honest though – I would love to flag for both SoS and ToD on my horc but the road there seems so long. Granted, you could do the SoS flagging in very little time but I never see the flagging quests running other than Prey on causual. Not my thing.

It was a interesting year; I started out in September 2009 and soon capped my FvS, decided to TR it since there was so many things messed up with it and capped my ranger and finally my horc in 2010. I really don’t know what to expect or where 2011 is going to take me. I don’t have any grand plans since the whole epic grind is so boring. I’ll get there and eventually I’ll have all the rings, all the stuff and all the green steel. What I would love to however is a new set of upper level quests and perhaps even a raid. I’d like for the next 3 updates to be 14 and above quests. Just a truck load of good stuff giving me a reason to grind them with a full group again.