Monthly Archives: June 2012

New beginnings and old fun

My first foray into ‘MotU’ wasn’t all that special. I mean I LOVED it but I didn’t go through the demonweb right away to run a bazillion FR quests. In fact I went basic; tried out a few eclaw on normal and didn’t even pug. I just wanted to run a few things before ‘going to the other side’ and start the whole questing and flagging.

It’s not like I have too; the raid is not up and I just capped my sorc. I did do what I wanted to do tho – I started with the draconic in order to get myself to the top and then restart with magister. Simple plan – get what I want out of it and move onto the next. I’m already 1 bubble away from level 1 in the destiny and picked charisma and acid energy sheat. It’s a useful type item that will hit anyone with acid damage and cover acid absorption 50%. So with a good trinket or two I can cover fire and electric and now acid. Covering about a majority of most stuff that I can think of. And with a cold shield I can cover that too. My next goal is to work on my evocational school and acid spell power. I’m not going for any of that breath, burst and stuff. In fact I’m not even bothering with the tier 6 draconic. Just not worth it. I’m instead more interested in Charisma and spell power. Ensuring my DC is sufficiently boosted and that I can land the BIG stuff.

And then eventually I’ll start seriously working on the accommodation so I can get the wiz staff. I’m not entirely psyched over the set for my sorc. My Wiz perhaps so I don’t have to make a GS con op SP item – but for my sorc no. I’m more interested in the green dragon armor instead. It does whatever the set does as a bonus (10% SP discount) and will do me over until I pull something like the spidersilk robe. THEN I’m more inclined to work on the set.

But right now I’m kind of checking out all the different epic content to either pull scrolls, shards and seals or to simply get XP and have fun. And eventually before I know it I find myself as a fully decked out level 25 sorc with magister and twisted draconic enhancement. When? Oh chucks – the road is long and winding and it’ll take me through Kings forest, underdark and demonweb and back. But I get there. I’m really not in a hurry to be there right away. I have many alts, many adventures and tons of things to run. Before I even find myself at the edge of the universe new content will unfold in August with more stuff added to the soup.

And I’m liking it. One step at the time. I’m still looking for the one spot where the rays pierces the clouds and I can stand in the deep of the forest, listen to the river gurgling around rocks and roar across waterfalls. The sound of fury abated leaving a soft melody of birds. I’ve been there before. In the beta. Now it’s actually even better. The different critters such as deers, foxes and squirrels can’t be targeted and killed and simply scurry away from you as you brave this place.

And the songs of bravery, the softness of tranquility is there to still your labored breath after another encounter in the ever deep and dangerous Kings Forest.

We’re not in Eberron anymore. And it’s a good thing.

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Reality Bytes

Not a bad weekend, although I put DDO on the backtrack while letting real life guide me. 1 or so levels playing with my wife; she’s really getting the hang of it and capped my sorc. I just decided to muddle through it doing as many things as possible and finally adding Shavarath slayer to the mix and another quest and that was it. Level 20, put on all my epic stuff (2 things, but I ain’t complaining) and then added a half a day finishing off some reward stuff. You know, level 2’s through 10 that I didn’t care to finish just for some additional points and such. So he’s ready for the xpack with the rest of my capped toons but my fighter isn’t. Which isn’t really the worst thing; I have a feeling that while my wife is getting it I also think that she needs to slow down a little to enjoy the last couple of levels and most of all – realize that level 1-8 is not the same as 16-20. Things kills you fast.

It’s pretty fun tho to run with 2 panthers, 2 healers (hirelings) her pet, 2 Xoriat trinket monsters and then my fighter and her arti. It’s a deck full of all type of hireling nonsense. I mean the panthers can handle themselves pretty good, but hirelings have their own ‘issues’. And her pet is pretty sturdy. The Xoriat ones are what most people would call cannon fodder – especially the tentacle and reaver one. And I must say that I’m liking Sword of Terror. The Nightmare effect is nice and with her ability to add some DR breaking capabilities it’ll proc enough to have a meaningful effect on things.

Today is the day.

When everything turns sideways.

The level 19 blues

Why do level 19 feel like a drag? Is it because IQ is so horribly boring to solo eventhough the quests are actually pretty short? Or the fact that even if other quests are a lil longers they are so rewarding? A 30 minute run of Rainbow will bank you 40k on hard the first time (with all the appropriate extra stuff) but the same in IQ will give you sub 20k. Like maybe 15k?

Or that running the cannith quests are perhaps semi rewarding but they’re a little bit to long. I know it’s really a mental journey – that the one quests I think are really super duper turns out to be almost similar of you only count the time – but IQ never struck me as ‘rewarding’. I just don’t feel pumped about running them.

And then there are Shavarath Quests. If TIME is your biggest objection and feeling less rewarded then the Shavarath quests solos is truly not it. You’ll get about 20k for fairly long slogs and you’ll get a chest or two where the best stuff are some named and shroud mats BUT for most part if you’re looking for loot a 15 minute loop around the battlefield will be more rewarding.

So here I am with 2 bubbles left and I have half the IQ quests left to do and all the Shavarath. I could probably cap em tonight or tomorrow, but it feels like those two bubbles are going to be the death of me.

Magisteronic Heritage

I’ve come to a conclusion and that I really like the extra elemental damage I can add to the draconic heritage, but very little else (okay sure – +2 to the DC). But I like the magister more. Well thank gosh for twisting then. The truth is that after having played around with everything unlocked, adding that extra DC and spell power makes everything more epic; but none of the tier 6 stuff makes an iotta of differense. There should be; but low proc rate for temporary stuff and a BIG moment effect that never happens is unappealing. Plus draconic fury – the level 5 draconic destiny autogrant with 20 seconds of +20 more spell power and a 4 minute cool down is ‘interesting’ but honestly – how often do you think you’ll get to use it and during that 20 seconds how often will you notice a differense?

The magister one offers something compelling to me. First of all lots of DC breaking features. Moreso then you’ll find in the draconic. Then also nullmagic strike. That is a max 15% chance to make the target go anti-magic – that is with no ability to cast anything for up to 30 seconds. The BIG tier 6 stuff are also useful. Like the nullmagic aura that negate any harmful spells for 20 seconds when you set it off and Arcane adept – 5% less spell point cost. Match that with the wiz set with a 10% spell point discount or the green dragon armor – and you have 15% less cost which is VERY compelling.

So that means that I want to twist two draconic things. The 30% spell power to one element (in my case acid) which is tier 3 and +2 Evocation which is tier 2.

That’s a lot of fate point. 6 alone for the tier 3 and 5 I think for the tier 2. So 11. Even with a +2 fate point tome I’m looking at dragging together 9. So 1 every 3 Epic destiny levels so a total of 27 Epic destiny levels – 5 in each destiny – 5 Epic destinies plus 2 additional destiny levels.

Wow.  The grind is even worse then TRing. And a lot of grind in stuff that won’t ever benefit a caster.

I guess it’s just a matter of rolling up my sleaves and grit my teeth.

Betacular

If you want to have an idea what a perma pvp place where there are no consequences to killing anyone walking by in the street then log into Beta and join the Eveningstar party. They got cows, bacon, ham, random loot, some XP commendations, dragons and all sorts of summoned critters – and players running around killing everything in sight including other players. If the idea was for people to try out the quests a final time then don’t expect to get far – before I could even run out into the nearest wilderness critters, players and the lag had killed me 3 times. It’s almost like a drinking game to end up in the tavern again to gulp down some stuff to get a slow tick back on your blue bar.

The last part is especially hilarious if you happen to be a sorc or divine caster since you can’t cast offensive spells in public areas. Plus with so many critters and players in the same instance the fram rate dies faster than anyone dumb enough to run around horcs with esos.

But it’s an end to something that started last month. It’s over. Come this evening someone will flip the server switch and the final days before launch will be counted down. Come Monday Kansas will be the last thing you’ll explore for a while. See you on the other side.

Randomly weaponized

The other day I theorized about the usefulness of random loot. It still is. But now another wrinkle have been introduced that I find adds a lot of head scratching on my part. I mean look at the success of Cannith Challenge loot. Or the pirate stuff, or Mabar. Or even the old, worn but still going strong, shroud. Now compare that to dragontouched and other seldom run raids.

There’s a gold standard here and it starts and ends with the ability to control what you’re getting. Shroud is absolutely premier in that regards. You run, you pull mats, you make the exact item you want with the exact features (limited by what you can make) you’d like. If you spend extra material on two different elements you get rewarded with more powerful bonus features. For ML 11 items and ML 12 weapons you’re looking at James Bond stuff.

In the xpack a lot of the raid loot/GS unique features have been introduced to random loot. Which is fine. You won’t find a triple holy with greater disruption in your average chest. But you might find a x of lightning strike; just not as good as the GS variant. And it makes sense – there’s nothing fundamentally unique about raid loot in regards to features. Only how many powers at what ML they have. Named should always be more powerful at that level compared to random.

So you get that head exploder in chest it shouldn’t be as powerful as the named head exploder you grind to find.

In the xpack however the named loot have added random properties. So of it isn’t terribly bad (but as I’ve read reactions and thought about it, it does add a frustration factor). Some of the named loot is almost all random.

The problem with this is that a) you have to grind to get the item. b) you have to re-grind to get the item with the combination you want. There’s is a reason why I rather deconstruct 100 items to make the one I truly need and that is control. Grind is only okay when you know what the end goal is. If grind becomes a process where you have your hopes crushed every single time like with dragontouched (moreso when you didn’t even know what you got until you added it to the armor) then it becomes something you’re not interested in.

Personally I hope they’ll fix this system and add some form and way to adjust the random factor to the exact factor you want. Lets say you pull X named item. But it has a combination you don’t like. Then you pull another. Now you take that to some type of guy, stick both in the bartherbox and you get to pick from 2-3 new random features for that one. So if your armor came with dex and you wanted strength now you might have a choice of wisdom, intelligence and dex. But since it can be either insightful +3 or the +8 stat you still some random added to it.

Or simply add a ability to grind additional named items into a kind of gem then give that to a guy plus plat (so you’re adding a plat sync) and then pick exactly what you want. If the item has two random effects you’ll need two items to grind if you want to replace both.

That adds control, it adds grind but always with the motivation that you can have the item YOU want and if you need to change something you have the ability to do so. Choices are good, working towards a goal is better and lottery effects just sinks all ships.

Reading is fundamental

That’s what I replied in a political forum to a person who added a mindboggling hysterical rant that seemed to be based on a bad headline about a subject that had nothing to do with the persons rant. Too many times do we come across people in today’s divided climate that spew stuff they have no idea what they’re talking about and who’s entire agenda is not to get any closer to the truth but to ram their opinion down your throat as their 1st amendment right to rave.

It’s the Falling down syndrome; if you present a sound and articulated argument supported with a factual fundament it will be received much better than if you simply act the same or worse than whom you’re having issues with. Falling down is about this guy who have enough. And at some level we all can sympathize with someone stuck in endless traffic, one minute too late to get the breakfast or lunch menu or even coming across bad elements; but what most people don’t sympathize with is the overreaction; that all that pent up frustration blows the cork and becomes even more viral that what you’re reacting too. Like you really want to flat hand (but naturally never do) snotty kids running around in stores tearing them apart. Because you know that your kids would never act like that. But in turn when the same snotty kids run into mom who then either beat them in the isle or get red faced and werewolf like, you react as if something fundamentally wrong have happened. Your feeling of wanting to smack that kid over the head is replaced with a urge to tell that parent to chill out.

Kind of like sympathizing with someone for running shroud 50 times without pulling ‘that’ material but then cringe at the overreaction when that person loses it for not finally pulling it in run 51. It’s a natural reaction; probably because while we might wish or agree on a mental plane, the reason why we don’t do it is because we don’t accept it when others do it. But reading is fundamental.

So fundamental that when I do something wrong my impulse is not to double down because I feel I’d lose a argument I never had – but because my natural reaction is that truth as painful as it might be is more important than me telling myself that I’m right when everyone else knows I’m wrong. I guess I don’t have that lack of self awareness.

The reason what I say this is because I feel I’ve been guilty of ranting about things I ultimately was completely wrong about. Granted; in beta we never have the entire picture and we kind of see things in our mind how it should be before we actually find out it is. So when I ranted not long ago about how I wish there was a teleporter to say the Drow city so I didn’t have to run through underdark or Kings forest all the time; well there is. As soon as you reach the Drow city there will be a portal opening (activating) in the Eveningstar cavern so you can get there faster. And there’s also a favor reward people can get for doing quests from the purple knights I think that, called the Key to Eveningstar that allows you to teleport to the village with a 60 minute cooldown. I guess a much faster way then say going to the harbor and taking the portal to the cave. Thank you Turbine for having the foresight to make things a ‘lil easier. But that’s not the entire reason why I mention ‘reading is fundamental’. In fact it’s actually about reading.

For a while now (say sorc life 1 through 2 and then sorc 25 with all epic destinies unlocked in beta) I’ve felt that despite good if no awesome DPS, my sorc just doesn’t seem to land certain spells that often. And it’s not for lack of DC – I mean with greater enchantment, Necromancy, Conjuration and Evocations items plus fully loaded on feats and Charisma, I felt that I should be better at it. But it always seemed as that I kept on leveling and the level appropriate critters kept staying one step ahead of me. It wasn’t that my spells landed without reflex save 2/3s of a time, it was less than a third. This seemed worse even in beta at level 25 and the drow rangers constantly avoiding AOE damage.

This was despite twisting the magister +3 Evocation enhancement, having the draconic +2 Evocation enhancement and Epic Evocation feat. So this struck me like a face palm to the forehead when I went to change spells using one of those dragon tear drop thingies to change as many spells as I wanted in a hours time; that the spells I used most of the time was actually Conjuration based. Yes  – reading is fundamental. As I checked through the spell list for what to changed I found the regular spell version of acid blast; not the savant tier 3 version. And it said conjuration – even the dragon bolt spell I like to use is conjuration based.

When you make fundamental mistakes like that it kind of strikes you how dumb you feel. And as such – I ended up exchanging quicken for conjuration and I changed the magister enhancement from evocation to conjuration and I now ended up doing much better. Finally acid blast landed like 50% percent on evading critters and a third of the time it was without a reflex save. It was as if I’ve had switched into Epic level 25 mode and my sorc wasn’t just fighting odds – it was leveling them.

But I must say this tho; the sorc tier 6 stuff is not worth it at all. Mostly because one thing seems broken – and that is the counter one. You’re supposed to be able to add this counter towards a good momentary invulnerable feature but the counter doesn’t seem to work. No matter how many you kill under draconic fury it doesn’t move. And even IF it moves the cool down on draconic fury is so long that you seldom end up killing enough under the 20 second duration to make the counter worth it. Since they seem to reset when you shrine you’ll end up resetting whatever little you have accomplished. It’s nice on paper but really not very useful in practice.

Second draconic hunger is not useful at all. First of all it procs less then my one con op item, and that is suppose to have something like 3-5 percent proc chance. Draconic hunger have a 10% proc chance to add temporary HP or temporary SP. That’s right – temporary. 15. So when it procs (which seems like maybe 2-3 percent chance if even that) it’s not even worth it. Considering that temporary points are eaten up in one single hit or won’t even cover a good spell, you will never proc enough for it to make any difference in anything. Now I could understand temporary hp. Well I don’t really, but it’s the same as say life shield. If it stacked with life shield and demonic shield or even con op – it could actually fill a function. But the temporary SP is worthless. At least con op and torc add permanent SP – so if you takes lots of hits you do have a decent chance of getting some SP back. With temporary it’ll simply never replenish your SP by killing something, just add SP – and if you kill something and get more SP it won’t ADD, just re-fill those temporary SP.

So it’s just not worth it to spend 4 points on those two features since they’re so arbitrary and fills such a small niche. It’s far better to get charisma instead. 2 points of additional charisma adds more SP then you’re likely to get out of the process and two additional DC. That will easily have a greater impact on your over all play than two functions with a sporadic proc rate that will never have a significant impact on game play. It’s tier 6 – you should expect some kind of wow effect.

Compare that to the fighter one; with the fighter one you get a counter towards the blitz for every tactical feat you use. Ever cleave, greater cleave, trip etc adds to it. At 50 you can use blitz. Blitz adds 25% more melee damage and reduced incoming damage and have a lot of other things to it as well. That’s useful. That’s a real reason to build up to it and maybe skip a shrine so it won’t reset.

The sorc ones? No. Save your points, spend it on something else. Sorc has a lot of things going for it, but the tier 6 stuff ain’t it. Maybe if they made it a truly 10% proc rate and the SP proc not temporary, then yes. And if the counter didn’t reset for the other feature; then yeah. It would make those less niche and more useful for the end boss. And killing tons of critters would actually provide some HP and SP in the process.