Monthly Archives: August 2012

Son of a…and why am I complaining

Back before level 21+ I managed to scrape together many level 20 toons. I mean the idea of TR2+ seemed like the fun of doing another TR but one that took twice as long. I know, some love that stuff but hammering the same quest over and over solo is not the kind of experience that drips of ‘fun’. So I spent my time making more level 20’s instead.

So now I’m on my second level 20+ toon with more then one destiny stored away and working on and off on twisting things. Yeah; fun times. Only good point is that much of this happens while I’m still trying to pull X named item and other stuff; so one mans grind is also one mans trial to find the good things.

But while I ran a truck ton of U15 quests on my fighter, I couldn’t pull one single named item. Not when I ran it normal and not even hard with friends. So obviously I’ve already pulled two when I ran it on normal with my Sorc.

So why am I complaining? Well in a odd sort of way I’m not. It’s just that my sorc is done until I find the strength or interest in hammering out multiple destinies to get that ‘one thing’ I have left. Meanwhile I’m ‘almost’ done with my fighter. Almost since I only need 2 more fate points and I’m already working on the barb destiny for those tier 1 stuff I want.

Why only tier 1? Because a fully growling and drooling fighter does enough DPS and I don’t feel like spending a lifetime to squeeze out a few more fate points for the odd lil’ ability I might get out of it. I have enough buttons to push. So right now I’m looking for tunnel vision for additional raged DPS, the healing thingy that ticks every minute (why not) and perhaps primal scream (or whatever it’s called). 3 simple low tier twists without me having to worry a lot about some extra special abilities.

I’m still hoping to pull the runearm and I’d like to pull the elite version, but I can’t solo elite and I don’t know a group good enough to help me farm for it.

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Stalking the wines.

I’ve soloed the new update 15 chain more then I have played it in group – but at least in group I did 2 quests and on EH, which didn’t make me pull anything better but at least it was a fast romp adding 50k worth of XP overall and more level 25 loot I will try to AH but never use.

And trip is still very much useful; I ended up effectivly neutralize any orange or regular named druid/dryad casters. So while I had to run in circle surviving the hard hitting dire bears in the one where you destroy some corrupted bushes and fights tons of bears and find corrupted seeds (or whatever), I always tripped the named guy and killed everything else before circling back to said ‘laying flat on his back’ caster.

It’s effective in more ways then one. Now apparently it’s a lil different fighting everything else. You obviously can’t trip wisps, wine plants and anything else, so the only option there is maximum force. You can web them and neg level them, but when I solo with my fighter that’s kind of not an option. Which makes me want to waste some mats and add a earthgrabe GS greataxe; there’s plenty of stuff that takes acid damage and the earthgrab effect is helpful.

Other then that I really don’t know what I can get out of the new quests that’ll benefit my fighter so it’s essentially to pull something like the wraps or runearm for my other toons.

The good thing is that these quests are all in Eveningstar; no need to waste time running around in King’s Forest or underdark. We’re talking about a lil over an hour for 4 quests as long as you know what to do. And that works just fine for me. Count on the new quest chain being the goto for getting accommondations since you get 3 of whatever kind you want as the only end reward. You don’t even get a pick of named items after 3 chains done. Only 3 of whatever you’d like, so being able to unlock your set will now be a matter of 5-7 chain runs and you’ re done.

Another day at the update mill

The new update is pretty interesting; some new challenge items – seems to be a bunch of cloaks and pretty good too and some improvements to the existing stuff like a way to trade in not so good challenge items for mats and a way to trade in accommodations for one that you like. All good stuff. A few more good things added to random loot, improvement of the loot table and new named items, so that seems okay and tied to the level you’re running it at. So if you want the Epic elite level 24 goodies, then you’re going to have to do it at epic elite.

That’s all good.

Then the bad. Like the fact that hirelings go even more derp on occasion. Like can’t do anything derp. That’s bad in fights. Also, that even on guard they’re still going in hot and brutal and try to beat something up which always results in tons of damage and since they now like to go ‘I’m not going to heal myself derp’ it also means that you’re going to have to waste your time micro manage them which is not fun.

As far as the named item goes – some seems really good, but somehow I’m kind of sad that they left the epic system behind. Not that I like the farming of scrolls, seals and shards. But epic items meant modifications – like being able to add heavy fort, or toughness to some and immunity against x on others.

Personally I wish they could have made it a lil more special – like a epic item that’s level 24 and at level 24 you can do gold, silver and bronze slots. Now you’re adding +8 abilities, +3 insightful, +6 resists etc. In other words really good improvements of the items – Major spell school?

How about adding hemorrhaging to a named item?

So it could still have green, yellow etc slots and then gold silver and bronze. And you didn’t hunt seals, scrolls and whatnot – it could be done by accommodations. Meaning that when you pull the item it has the current stats, then for x amount of accommodations you could unlock a red slot and for lots of x more you could unlock the gold slot. That way all items had several improvements above and beyond how they are now. Making items specialized and just as a player like to use them. The end result would be items players could customize to their play style and useful beyond what they have right now.

 

What I don’t like is some of the mechanics. I don’t know what makes the hireling go derp, but it does. Does nothing derp. But I know that the red fungus whatever thing that you can get hit with is a abnormally silly feature. Basically you’re not hit with a minus INT say every minute like any other illness. You’re hit like every single second until your int reach zero and then you can’t do anything. That’s what happened to me. Of course I didn’t realize that I was hit by it until my INT was zero and my hireling likewise. So suddenly both of us couldn’t do jack. And it doesn’t just go away. I read elsewhere that the only solution is /death and that to me is beyond stupid. It’s a mechanic that prevents anyone from doing anything to remove it. Drink pot, nope. You’re simply just a drooling dummy that can’t do anything.

I so want to like update 15 and all the improvements, but it gets very hard to solo quests when the features depend on hirelings that are more and more completely useless.

Standing around then raidin’

It took a good hour for caught in the web to fill; my first since Beta. I didn’t feel like doing one until it was somewhat working – which is a good thing. Because 1 hour waiting and 1 hour finishing just to have it bug out would a lil much but we finished, only due to the willingness of our healers to blow resources.

It’s not us fighters didn’t do our job; tripping turned out to be very useful and it’s clear that a lot of fighters/melee really don’t bother with it. Yet everything from orange named down to  spiders ended up flat on their bellies. And if you can trip a strider or a spider, then you got something good.

However caught in the web is ultimately not fun and here are the reasons why.

First off this is largely a escort mission dependent on a person who have several quest ending glitches. While they certainly have worked hard on fixing them the more experienced players had to constantly explain what not to do with Ana because she is still sorta derp.

Second, the first part sets you up for what will be a repeated pattern of not fun. Like being slapped around by Lolths legs. Until you fly off ledges and die. Yes – you don’t just leash back or end up somewhere else. You die. And with death comes no buffs (such as resists) and with with death comes more resource waste. Again; a heavy burdon on healers.

This goes on for a while; you kill a leg, the leg turns into a giant soul bug and you fight some spiders. It all sucks tons of resources, lots of people die from falling off the platform and the fight itself just goes on forever. It’s not very rewarding, very frustrating and there’s nothing especially tactical you can do either. You also fight Lolth. You do that by standing at the very edge of the platform smacking the thin air close to her body (no feedback) and she’ll shoot these beams that cause curses, so have anti-curse pots.

Then you start running and now the less fun part starts. It’s alright if you only face one RED NAMED priestess because you can potentially agro her and then the rest of the group kill her followers. That way when you finally kill her she won’t regain health by killing a follower. But you can’t do that when you face 3-4 of them and you can’t see any of the followers (they’re elsewhere). So now you start hitting one while the others spam cometfall and as you get her hitpoints down she kills these far away followers and you have another resource drain.

So after hammering away at these several priestesses and done the side mission where Ana destroyes these power nodes/globes/whatever you’re now at the worst end game I’ve ever played.

Waves after wave of portal keepers – and yes – more red named priestesses that draw life from other followers. And you have to fight Lolth, standing by the edge, fighting thin air getting beamed down on. You will die; the constant spamming from priestness cometfall and over run by all types of portal keepers (small deamons, rangers, casters, large demons…) over and over and the healers wastes even more resources.

And finally you might or might not make it (again – all about the willingness for the casters to use resources) you profit.

You get a bunch of chests based on optionals (whatever they might be) and only one seems to have any named items in them. The rest does not. Just boring junk. And the end reward from Elminster is similarly boring. All in all it feels very unrewarding. Only chests in the end (which means it’s all or nothing) and one chest with possible named while the rest is junk.

There’s nothing tactical about this raid. When you introduce red named with such a stupid feature like draining life force from followers no one can see or combat and you add 2-3 more you get HP grind. All you do is stand and hit on the same person until all followers are done. Then you do the next and the next. And all the healers do is blow resources by masshealing and such the group pounding relentlessly on the same red named priestess until it’s over.

No tactics, just DPS. Over and over and over.

This raid unlike all other raids is just chaos and being able to beat something down as quickly as possible. It’s not like any other raid that have tactics in them. Forget tactics. Just smack, smack, heal, smack, more smacking, more smacking, more healing until you exhausted from the constant running and smacking maybe get something out of it.

Now comes the worst part; IF you pull something it’ll all be completely random. The item you get have a bunch of features on them and no two are alike. Which means you might get the dog end of the named item with features you’ll never use nor care for.

So all the time you grind for the item might give you something you dont desire. Now I will do it again for the chance of that named item, but this is not your shroud, VoD, Hound or whatever raid where you learn tactics and you execute more or less flawlessly based on that.

This is pure agonizing chaos with all or nothing rewards.

Real life into high fantasy (part 1)

Dakuuluns heavy armored boots made the airships deck groan under the stress. He was hanging out by the bar, striking up a simpleminded conversation with the half naked barman. The guy behind the small bar disk first cleaned out a mug with his dirty towel then poured himself a foamy cup of ale; their conversation was short, devoid of full sentences and involved more head gestures than words.

‘Sunny’

The half Orc nodded.

‘Mmm, cold’ he licked foam from his lips and tusks.

‘Ain’t it?’ approved the barman.

‘How?’ asked Dakuulun

The barman laughed and slapped the metal device on the short bar disk.

‘Secret huh?’

‘Yep’, adding a nod.

Sunlight pierced the few clouds at their altitude and reflected off the brass tubing and through the elemental ring that made the ship stay in the air. It was a great day. Not to cold and not too hot. Perfect considering the bulky purple knights armor. The half orc gazed at the sun again then back to the Amber froth in the mug. Where is that wooden man? Always late, he thought.

With a metallic bark Deconbots pet emerged from the lower deck with a goofy look on its maw. It always did. Where other pets had a menacing appearance the deep and bright pink runes on the pets metal body made it together with that indescribable almost half witted way it cocked its head simply laughable. Seconds after the warforged slammed open the doors, covered its eyes from the glare of the sun.

‘Sorry if I’m late’

‘Okay’

‘I was stuck in a screen – must be the portal connection’

‘It’s the same for everyone’

Yours always seems faster’

‘It’s the same that leads to this boat’ explained the half orc patiently as if they have had this conversation many times.

‘So you say, but it always takes me forever’

‘Me too’ tried the half breed.

‘Hmm – where is he this time’ meaning the pet, who had run off to beat on the training dummy top deck. Dakuulun pointed and the warforged grinned. ‘Silly thing’.

‘So what are we doing today?’ asked the living construct.

‘I’m thinking underdark’

‘Under what?’

‘…Dark’

‘Sound unpleasant’ added the Warforged.

‘I’m sure it is’, replied Dakuulun.

‘Oh, wait – before we leave…’

‘Yes?’

‘Can you help me sell?’

‘I guess, watcha have?’ he sighed.

‘Let’s see – greataxe of something sonic something something – it has’

‘Never mind’ The fighter rolled his eyes.

‘Okay’ – Dakuulun dug in the warforged rucksack and pulled at the items hanging from the constructs tool belt.

At the same rate as he handed over the items to the barman he said ‘Sell, sell, sell, keep for someone else, try to auction, nah sell’ and he did so for the many items.

‘Yuck’ he pulled out a little bag of something that look like bird shit. ‘What is this?’

‘Oh’ stated the Warforged, ‘I found it in a chest, thought it was important’.

The fighter grimaced. ‘Seriously’ and handed it over to the barman who were in the act of taking another swig and made a face while he finger and thumb pinched the little bag and dropped it into a barrel to the side with all the other stuff they were selling and threw a few more coins on the table.

‘There you go’ the half orc said and pointed at the money. ‘Let’s touch the shrines and get the praise and wards from the stuff so we can get a move on’.

‘All of them?’ asked them Warforged.

‘All’ grumbled the fighter as if he had said the same thing times before.

Monkeying

So this is how it works.

Your first step in a game like DDO is to walk places. Then fall. Like not having feather fall on fall. Which hurts. Then you get stuck on stuff walking. Be it a step, stone or just something. So you jump. Then you realize that jumping makes things go faster. So you jump like a monkey anywhere. Because you don’t want to get stuck. Especially when you cast. Because if you cast spells and get stuck on something where the animation turns from stop to a slight climb the casting animation stops. Which if you cast an important spell – say mass heal – is bad.

So you either stand still and cast, or jump and cast. Especially where there are obstructions or ‘steps’. So eventually it becomes a orchestrated dance of running, jumping, half-way turning in midair and such and even jumping over enemies to get to others executing tactical things like say trip as you come down from the jump. Sometimes missing, other times brilliant perfect jump, trip, slash maneuvers.

I’m there after so many years.

Jumping, running, walking, turning, executing tactical features and attacking is one chaotic and destructive dance for me.

And I’m good at it. Despite all that fancy footwork my fighter often lead in kill count. Party because what I do is always a way to approve above and beyond efficiency. Before I’ve talked about how being a fighter today isn’t just a matter of ‘smacking things’ – that what used to be a fairly uncomplicated thing – say axe -> target -> conquer. You swing until it’s down. Now I’m more a ninja flying great axe wielding sun blocking massive hulk of tripping death.

And it works. I use 5 separate buttons. (those are 1-5) and then of course I click on stuff too (like attack speed boost and moah strength for a minute). One is momentum swing, 2 is cleave, 3 is greater cleave, 4 is improved trip and 5 is lay waste.

2 and 3 resets 1 with a 50% chance to do so. That means that I will hit momentum swing as much as I can, while cycling through the different cleaves. And when I have a chance I will use lay waste because it knocks stuff down. I always use trips as much as possible, especially against big targets and casters. See casters can make your life miserable. They do so by spamming feat, hold, command, cometfall etc removing you out of the game for as long as possible. That’s why hitting them before they can do all those things is important.

My best way of doing so is by using trip. Which means I’ll leap over fighter stuff, executes trips as the casters run towards you and then see the caster slide around on the ground until they come to stop where they were running. Then I hack ’em. If I miss I use lay waste as a backup.

With the whole barrage of advancing blows building up together with all those cleaves and such, most fights are a relatively short things. Which is good. Because if they take longer there’s a risk that the healer hireling goes derp.

Like standing there while you die, then instead of healing you decide to start fighting something.

My wife is now going through the ‘finger dexterity move and jump’ coordination phase. Where she first went ‘I CANT DO THIS’ to ‘wait a minute!’ to monkey jumping. That is instead of getting surrounded and slapped to death, she’ll jump out of the fray and ‘ARGH THEY’RE HITTING ME’. And slowly but surely she’s now learning how to run backwards and shooting. Yes – I am proud of her. She even heals herself now and then.

I still find her standing face into a wall looking through her bar for the one thing she wants to do and she still drops blade barriers and stand in the middle of it not realizing that once the critters get hit, they wont get hit again unless she kites them.

She also likes to agro everything. That is we see critter, she targets them first before I have a chance to get agro and then they dart past me to attack her. The cool thing about having bought (yes – that’s what plats are for) the seal out of the auction house – that ring from the Drow city quest – this one with vertigo – is that I can now trip earth elementals.

We ran epic a small problem and normally I just get grabbed all the time (something about the earth elementals not liking my big axe and all) and this time I simply tripped them and then turned them into boulders. I wasn’t even on my full Fighter destiny, grinding XP to unlock Shiradi – yet that didn’t stop me from twisting the destiny enhancement from the Legendary that adds +6 to tactical feats. And with the +10 vertigo I was a tripping machine. To her credit my wife tchackad through endless thousands of bolts and the air hissed with her green acid runearm death.

Also, the very nice thing about having a arti along is that once more we can buff up and she can always buff hirelings and other summons. Plus buff anyone (of us) that dies. So when we ran out of buffs trecking through underdark (or dying) she buffed us like a trooper and we soldiered on.

I have a funny story I’m going to write about – I’ll call it ‘Reality meets high fantasy’ and I’m going to add a page or two over the next week or so and break it down into several episodes. There is some hilarity in there, stuff I really don’t want to give away now.

Meanwhile I did get my GS necklace. Greater acid resist and 15+20 HP. The purple knight armor comes with superior false life so I now have a lil’ more and the full purple knight set. All in all it’s no big difference in armor or functionality and I can’t really tell if there’s a difference in damage output due to the set bonus but I did notice that the heal amp on the gloves doesn’t work. It should be 30% but that’s not happening. Plus healing spring is not working as advertized. It should be proccing every 20 secs but it’s more like 30-45 seconds and not all that useful. I assume that will be fixed in the next patch.

 

 

Advancing blows and all that jazz

So they say that the crit giving feat is not working, that it doesn’t add +1 to the crit threat on 19+ – I couldn’t tell to be honest. When my fighter starts swinging the crits land for 500+ all the way up to 800-900 when the advancing blows start stacking. 1200+ if the critter is helpless. Which kind of makes me want to make a earthgrab greataxe to add to my arsenal, just for giggles. But I realize that maybe it’s better for me to concentrate on getting something else instead like a HP necklace.

Right now I’m using a ToD Necklance that gives +2 to hits and dams together with the ring, but as soon as I pull a seal with Vertigo, that’ll change. Which will give me the opportunity to swap out the necklace for something else, and I’m thinking HP for tier 2 and 3 and greater acid resist for teir 1. There’s a reason behind the madness as usual; if my guy dies (and he does when the hireling decides to go derp) it’s nice to have at least one perma resist. Especially since there’s so much in the game now that does acid damage. From the mighty green dragon to about every single Drow ranger and that purple worm thingy.

So knowing that I can negate that and have a lil’ more HP in the process is a good thing. A triple earth GS item will also provide earthgrab guard and 2 earth golems. The summons isn’t that big of a deal; they’ll break almost right away in high end content, but the earthgrab guard does proc fairly reliably.

I’m still working on the 2 last pieces of my purple knight set. I have 8 accomendations and need 7 more. I keep pulling war wizard and villagers and trading for cider and haste pots. It would be nice if they had a 2 for 1 trade in possibility as well since you have a total of 5 categories and the chance of pulling the right one isn’t all that big. Sure – you could do the first chain over and over for the end reward, but that type of grind will drain you mentally more then anything. It would be different if it was like the madness chain or Carnival, where most of the quest are close by, but in order to do these 4 quests you have to run around in the Kings Forest alot and that’ll bleed your time.

On top of that I’d love to do the new raid, but it seems to be such a lengthy one and so buggy that I don’t feel like wasting my time just to get to the end and get snubbed; either by not being able to complete or pull chests filled with vendor trash.