Monthly Archives: September 2012

The tools of the trade

My sorc have a simple way of turning critters to puddles of acid goo or frozen popsicles. 2 Scepters and some other stuff. It boils down to 21% crit for both, max amount of spell power and a 250+ spell power on acid. Simply put calculated murder. My fighter have something like 16% chance for doublestrike with a Epic Antique greataxe with +7 quality slotted in a red augment slot. My Monk have yet to find wraps that are definate killers and he doesn’t even own the Mabar ones – here’s me looking to update that. The Relic ones should improve and I’m trying to put together those Epic Charged gauntlets for additional DPS. My Ranger, yet to be destified (Did I just create a new dorky word for the process of unlocking destinies for main and twists?) but he’s well off with GS weapons and such. True – without a dedicated destiny to 2 weapon fighting it’s a lil’ harder to define his tempest qualities. But that’s not so hard for my Arti who can pick from the Wiz or the Ranger one with equal joy. I can only hope that the new destiny on its way fuses rune arming and repeating and all the other things Arti’s do well for better symetri. Then we have my FvS.

I articulated before that unlike the direct path to destruction like with the sorc, the radiance (light damage) is harder because you can’t just pick ONE item to cover spellpower and lore like with regular stuff. That’s because lore can only be found on things like shields and armor and alchemical stuff and if you want radiance spellpower it’ll be on things like helmet, weapons and rings, but never together with the lore.

So I checked through the update 14 named items again to find the missing piece of the puzzle and my eyes centered on Holy Symbol of Lolth. 102 spell power in nullification, Impulse and radiance with +1 exceptional Wis and Char and 15 universal spell power. A item made for divines who can’t cornhole some stuff together. Now it’s not ideal; it’s a trinket slot so it’s either that or the planar conflux, which means it’s a short term solution, but at least at level 21 it represents a good choice to get some additional spell power on the table.

So now I’m a proud owner of said item and I use it together with a greenblade (not epic version) and my con op scepter. I also opted for the use of the spidersilk robe as suppose to the designated Terrorweb for now because it adds a few more things the Terrorweb doesn’t, but I will most likely go over to Terrorweb as soon as I add another point of Wisdom. My destruction is still uneven so that leads me to believe I need to focus a lil’ more on necromancy but at least the implosion is getting solid. And mid 300 damage on the iconic blade barrier with a high of 600 for crit is good enough for now. Nothing a 120 impulse scepter with Sup Kinetic lore can improve later. It’s still not on par with my sorc and fighter and I’m resigned to the fact it never will be, but if I can keep my implosion sharp and destruction land for most part I will at least be able to trudge along in most quests without feeling like I have to flood half a bar of SP into a simple fight where my sorc have already left ice crystals and acid puddles behind and gone for a drink.

Cleave this!

Sometimes I prove to myself just how terribly destructive one class can be over another. Monk is finesse. A triangulated coordination between strikes, stuns, heals, some other stuff and speed. And as such I can solo it, but I have to do a lot of strikes, stuns, some other stuff and speed.

My fighter is cleaves, trips, cleaves and mayhem. Not finesse. Playing one of the challenges at level 27 I ran slowly (30% striding speed unlike the 60% of my monk) from one side to the other and made drows scream in terror. With crits often hitting over 1000+ barely had I tripped a caster before he vanished under blows. I even managed to kill off 2 of the rare in a flurry of blows.

No wonder I feel a slight sigh coming over me as I try to unlock my FvS and Monk destiny and work on others. Because the road is longer; maybe sometimes more elegant. Whereas even working on my second destiny with my fighter is that of a brutal, swinging, bloody mess with over confident drows running in fear as he scream ‘stand still you little red eyed twig ’cause I’m comin’ fer you’ (I always imagine my horc speaking with a Scottish accent. That would be cool’)

Even my wife have grown fond of having my fighter around because she realizes that even if she have to buff him, the amount of bolts she have to conjure is infinite less.

Going back to the roots

So I started solo leveling my FvS destiny and it’s the first char I ever made and TR’d and one that has the most gear. Like 2 con op item and the torc and about everything that makes it a solid self sufficient evoker. Except now with the level 21+ stuff he’s incomplete and in worse shape DPS wise compared to my trusted sorc or horc.

There’s 2 reasons for that – one that can easily be resolved and one that can’t.

First blade barriers. With the new system where everything untyped is baked into impulse (force) it’s better. It’s possible for a FvS/Cleric to get 12% crit on blade barriers with 120 spell power. Sure – it can’t be boosted with enhancements but this is far better than before, where it was limited by potency (50%) and maybe a green blade (greater arcane lore). This can now be as easy as getting your hands on a scepter with 120 spell power and 12% crit chance. Done.

But now the limiting factor is actually the one thing divines are suppose to be good at – light damage. Limited in the sense that unlike with impulse that you can find on random drops, radiance type stuff do not come in a combination of radiance and lore.

In fact lore only comes on armor or shield and you can find stuff with radiance separately. Which again means that if you want the lore you have to get high end items or use something like green blade, and radiance can be find on stuff like staffs and scepters but never with lore. So what’s the problem you wonder.

It’s one more item to slot. I could say get a shield with superior radiance lore followed by a helmet or something with radiance. Which means I have to remove something. Unlike if there were scepters – I could use a radiance scepter with a impulse and call it a day. So the solution as I see it is to make a Alchemical scepter – one that combines fire and radiance – so if I use firebased spells I can boost that as well as radiance. I still need to fit something with more radiance (if I want to boost it up from 90 to 120 in spell power) but at least I can cover both fire, light and impulse, adding as much power as possible.

Which brings me to the bummer; the relic. If I want to screw me over I can always get the relic. Sure – it has greater arcane lore and potency 80 but it’s a step down crit and spell power wise to use that instead of two scepter. Which means I have to downgrade myself from using the set bonus. All in all – there should be a scepter option both for relics and Cormyrian loot so that there’s a lil’ more flexibility to combine the focus with the conflux for casters.

As it stands I notice the differense; with fewer resources my sorc can blow things apart like a champ and with lots of resources and time my FvS can barely accomplish the same.

So many alts, such great differense

My wife have one character – a arti. It’s level 24 at the moment heading quickly towards 25.

So far I’ve run my two arti’s with her (my warforge one briefly), my sorc, fighter and monk.

She loved running with my sorc. Self buffing, very quick to hold and destroy stuff and over all easy for her to deal with. She didn’t care for my fighter that much because well – she ended having to buff everything. Likewise with my monk. But I think the biggest differense is that my monk isn’t as destructive as say my fighter or sorc.

It’s not that my monk is bad; far from it – but stunning and smacking is quite different from the cleave, trip and mayhem of my fighter and the web and acid melting of my sorc. On a scale my fighter can crit in the 400-1200s when a good crit for my monk lands around 2oo. Stunned and all.

But then I wouldn’t make the mistake of comparing all of my alts and expect similar results. But one thing is clear; while my monk is selfsufficient it won’t be doing hard or elite is quite the same fashion as a fully upgraded horc fighter. Nor will it have the same ability to hold and destroy en masse like my sorc. Which is similar to my arti’s. I love em but they’re not ‘as’ capable in quick destruction like a sorc or fighter. Probably because they best they can hope for is a tactical detonation that knocks an opponent down, but they don’t have the brutal mass destructibility which makes most of what they do fairly targeted (sure – there’s Toven’s Hammer but the reflex save ruins that).

But I still love it; I’m not even close to be done with my monk – working on the second destiny right now and all the way over to the barbarian one. My idea is to get sense weakness and a few more things and do lots more stun damage as a result. I’m still trying to figure out how to get the most out of my stunning capability and I farm for the seal almost every day. I’ve pulled one but that was¬†with Vertigo¬†so not very useful.

Pandemonium – the smart way

I’ve grown fond of the idea of always coming up with new ideas to tackle specific quests and when I pulled a handwrap with boreal and something else that procced ice wise on 20, I wanted to put a new tactic in play doing Ring of Fire. Ring of Fire is a Eveningstar challenge inside the cave and it is 3 waves fire based creatures (mostly) with the only thing not being fire based are those ‘farting’ demon creatures – in fact they don’t take cold damage at all but are general easy enough to kill. What makes cold however very useful is the fact that other then that creature, everything else is waves of fire based spiders, doggies, elementals and even boss and the odd Hezrau thrown in for good measures.

So adding cold or using cold weapons always pays off. At first I used a force burst of pure good with added festival cold burst, but the boreal ones turned out to do good as well, since when the cold thing procs it hits everything around you with cold damage. Secondly I started using the level 22 Favored soul hireling; it has judgement. By throwing judgement at one of the demon creatures, or demon doggies you simply have to nail it and everything else around you take good damage when it ‘explodes’. Combine that with the tier 5 Monk AOE and you have 2 rapid AOEs with first force based damage for about 300-400 and then a similar hit with good damage. Enough to rapidly destroy a wave (other than say the spiders).


As such I could comfortably nail a wave, build up the heal thingy (light monk) destroy them and then hit my hireling and me with a 60-80 worth of healed HP. Rinse and repeat. So far it has worked out nicely and when we can finally do the winter thingy again it’ll be nice to see if we can still add ice damage to all randomly pulled items. If that’s the case I have a feeling I’ll have an even sharper Ring of Fire beater.

Grinding the right way

Shroud. I want to make a triple earth repeater. I have a Vacuum and a triple holy, but I want a triple earth for the chance to grab something and just oodles of acid damage. So I check my bank; I know I have the mats – the benefit of running lots of shrouds and the mats are all unbound. The benefit of being able to trade and share among my toons. So I use a yellow dopant on my vacuum. You heard me – the reality is that DPS is always the king and there’s such a small chance that upper end critters will fail their save anyways making my vacuum a shock with shock blast – not really worth it DPS wise. With a triple holy – in this case tier 1 and 2 Holy and Good burst and tier 3 30% heal amp – I have the added DPS, better incoming healing and against undead greater disruption.

With my vacuum I have nothing special. A proc that have very little chance of doing anything. That was the thinking anyways. So I deconstruct my vaccum, get more mats and the stone and I make a tripe earth. Except I don’t have a regular shards. Tons of greater and supreme but no regular. So I join a great hard run – goes by fast – 2 people gives me their regular shards and I stay for the Echrono after words.

About an hour or so later I make my triple earth repeater – use it to try it out. The earth grab procs exactly one in the nightfall ritual challenge (ML 22) but the acid damage hits like a devastating rain. It’s good – I don’t expect any proc’s anyways but It has the expected DPS.

This is different from the new grind in a fundamental way. I just made what I wanted. Had this been my first couple of shroud runs then I would have to wait until I had all the shards to do it. Which is fair – but I could’ve gone to the AH and bought the mats needed.

Grind is grind. My best toons could’ve run the quests and the raid for mats and since most of it is unbound I can share it. With Eveningstar challenges everything is BTC. Mats and items (someone wrote on the forum that wraps are strangely enough bound on equip).

And after all the grind on suboptional toons I will most likely get something I don’t want. Ironically – the repeater I made exactly the way I want is way better then the ML 24 repeater I creater the other day. If the devs don’t realize how fundamentally wrong this is, then I don’t know what will.

I’ll grind for the end result I want – but I’m better off farming quests for random loot and get one item with 2 features I like then grinding for an item where 2 things might be good and 2 are useless. In the end it gives me a ML 24 items on par with the random loot with 2 features you like.

Grinding is not fun, but it is part of what games are about. We’re never finishing this saga because MMOs is in the end not about the story (played out once). It’s about the toon and it’s gear. It’s about the shinies.

Lotteries are about hope of shinies with a material component of frustration and greif. We thought Turbine got it when they changed dragontouched. But it appears that they never did.

Cormyrian challenge loot, grind upon grind

Shroud is a grind. Lord of Blades is a grind. SoS and the likes are grinds. But the new challenge loot have more in common with dragontouchen then any other stuff. Even Cannith stuff is a peak shaper and closer to shroud than Eveningstar because the Eveningstar shares something with dragontouched that most people hate – a lottery.

See the lottery should be a matter of joining and waiting for profit. You pay, you have your chance at the big bucks and you cash out. It shouldn’t be about first grinding and then get dissapointed. It’s not as bad with dragontouched as it used to be; now you see what the run is before you apply it – you simply have to run it x amount of times before you get what you want. And that is grind.

It’s different with Cormyrian. Here you first grind for mats (like Cannith challenge) then you get several random effects on a item. Not just one random effect but up to 4 on weapons. And the system grants you items that are just a beat up from random loot.

Sure – they advertise that you get 4 (read FOUR) effects but what you don’t control is what they are. And unlike dragontouched you can’t just override one in order to get something better – you destroy the entire item and get some mats back. And most of them are bound on Aquire – so it’s either garbage for that toon or useful and most of the combination comes out as garbage.

Like my repeater. The 2d6 acid as first ability (goodish), cacaphony as second (okay), Vertigo +10 (useless but when it’s fixed it’ll still be another useless feature) and finally silver. That’s right. Tons of runs later I have a horrible item that is not even better then my ML 12 greensteel. How is this possible? It’s possible through the idiotic function of random stuff – most of which forms worthless items.

With greensteel and LoB you have to randomly pull the mat but once you have what you need you can at least make whatever you want.

Not with these challenges. It’s a hit or miss with a large percentage of meh and a bigger portion of GAH then wow.

A much better system would be a semi crafting version. You put together (more) mats and craft – it gives you 5 choices per ability and you pick from the random choices (no duplicates) what you like. That adds diversity and at least gives you the ability to form a much better item then random crap.

And they have to add a caster scepter that makes sense. I mean if you make a staff then make it element specific with added random. With one main spell power that match the lore. (or hey – give us the choices again). The scepter would also be either choice or element specific with a added third or so effect.

If not I rather grind the Cannith way; I know what I’m getting and I just have to drone through the same stuff over and over. This reminds me of the so called powerful artifacts from caught in the web. Same story; semi set features and a bunch of random stuff that IF you’re lucky enough to pull one you are most likely get a combo that’ll have you cry on the inside and scream on the outside.

This is the perfect way for devs to tell us to go play something else other then Eveningstar challenges and Caught in the Web.