Monthly Archives: January 2013

pew pew pew vs NUKA!

I keep on grinding my WF arti, now I’m out in the update16 wilderness and I tell you; those red named with a bazillion HP is terror on a pew pewer. The worst are the druid and his dire bear. Because the bear will smack you on your arse and the druid will slowmo walk you through ice storm spam. The only more annoying rare I can think of is the guy out of heroic GH wilderness – that gnoll who love to spam sleet storm. My fighter would’ve made short work out of these rares by now. And my sorc – NUKA! acid energy burst plus acid dragon breath plus a few more high level spells and both are toast.

Me – I ended up fighting the night werewolf and launching rounds after rounds of fully charged rune arms while ever mother creature within a miles distance aggroed on me, my pet, panther and the level 20 Favored Soul (I could technically use an epic hireling healer but none of them have deathward so there’s not a chance in a billion years I will ever use those). And I died. I died because my derp hireling decided to think that my guy operating on a third of his hit points is safe when there’s a enemy caster slamming the party with spells and a big hairy werewolf sharpens its claws on my docent.

Then I went up against the woodward and after that something else and I though – nevermind. I love loot – this whole wilderness is a luthoors wet dream but this ain’t my idea of fun. Not on my arti anyways. So I skipped right into the quest (the ruined castle) and didn’t of course pull anything named. I mean I can always wait until the end reward list anyways and enjoy getting 3 of the same named bracers. That list is so messed up. I still think that those quests feels like rail shooters. These are the least diversified quests of all, even moreso then U15 that at least had some optionals in them. But overall U15 and U16 are just A->B type quests. Nothing wrong in that. But compared to say the Menace quests these are limited indeed. But then that’s just a matter of degree. Some menace quests are achin to rail shooters too. I mean rift is just one straight romp to the end zone. Which is true with all of the demonweb ones – the one with the puzzles only feel like there are options but you still have to hit all stations until you reach the end.

Come to think of it, all quests are like that – what makes some different is the way you get there even if the alternatives are few and how many different ‘side’ missions there are. Even those can be appealing to people who zerg, sniff the flowers or want to feel like they have options. I’m going to take my time and list some of my favorite quests one day and why. But first I’m going to spend some time talking about wilderness – ’cause some of them are better then others. And for diverse reasons.

Draconic my fellow Arti, trust me

The biggest mistake I ever did when starting my first Arti destiny was to pick the Wiz one. It just is. Keep in mind I came off the feeling of POOWWAAAA that is heroic Artification. That’s when you’re at the prime of your Arti life and you have THAT one rune arm together with a great repeater. You’re it; you sailed through heroic and now you’re a Repeatin’, rune armin’ tactical detonatin’ mother…

Anyways – Arti level 1 through 20 is quite different than Arti level 21-25.

Fighters have an assortment of brutal cleaving and nice amount of crit damage. I love my fighter – torn eternally between Legendary or the barbarian destiny. Something about hitting someone with 1200 in crit or keep on critting reliably around 600.

My Sorc delivers brutal DPS; be it bursts or spells.

My FvS is kind of meh right now.

My Monk is enjoying his legendary destiny after unlocking the Monk destiny.

In short; my Arti’s are stuck with a destiny that boosts some of its least ability. Now that was not always true; back in the days when Menace was in Beta I started out unlocking Draconic on my Arti. And back then the draconic elemental boosts also boosted your rune arm until it was changed to spell only (which I find silly since so many other features such as the ranger one also procs on spells). That was back when you could boost your rune damage with 30 percent. And boy did I boost my acid one – heck even my Toven’s Hammer. I was running through underdark and still hit aroun 500-600 with a reflex saved Toven’s due to the regular 100-1200 crit damage. Those were the good days.

Then that changed and rune arms was once more back to pre epic glory. Here’s the thing; with the reflex saves as indicated rune arms are now relegated to single critter destruction. Which sounds fine; being able to hit one critter with 5 acid shots doing everything from a few hundreds to 1000 in damage sounds cool – except for the fact that you have to do it all over with the next critter. Compare to dps nuking which brings the same destructive power to many targets at the same time. So while your Arti slams ONE critter, the sorc just tactically nuked the entire mob from orbit.

You’d have something if Toven’s Hammer worked good in upper end content but it doesn’t. Or that the new Glass Cannon had a nice lil’ AOE going on. But it doesn’t. And that’s why Arti’s should always pick draconic first and steadily work to unlock energy burst. That allows your Arti to perform a nice little burst for several thousand HP in damage now and then in addition to rune arm and repeater and once more stay somewhat viable. Plus if you twist enough destiny you’ll be able to use it as a tier 4 twist. So if you end up with the ranger destiny in the end you can still unlock and use energy burst.

Ultimately I hope that Turbine creates a Arti specific destiny that boosts rune arms DC and damage out put, to make rune arms with AOEs viable again. So you can take Animus, Toven’s Hammer, Glass Cannon or anything else with an area effect and break enough DC to count. And to deliver a mini nuke – not as powerful as the spell equal but something that has a kick to it. I’d love to just get Animus instead and deliver the equivalent of a small energy burst. Maybe be able to add additional damage to existing rune arms. Where Animus deliver fire you can boost and also add force damage. So that run arms deliver a more potent effect that make Arti’s viable in the end game. Or similar to dragon breath – as you fire your Animus or Glass Cannon it also deliver a small chance to knock down, paralyze or some other useful effect.

Again – I don’t need my Arti to become the next Legendary fighter, or Draconic sorc – I just want him to be a little bit more useful. As it us I’m running in slowmo’ everywhere due to his charged rune arm and since I’m forced to use the force or acid one I’m single killing myself through a landscape dotted with mobs. It get’s tiring.

Plans, must change

This is so me; I wanted to go ice burst fishing the whole weekend and instead logged into Lam for the goodies give away and spent 3 hours running in circles picking up stuff, then more time porting over my WF Arti, TRing him and leveling him up (The Guide is great, long live the Guide) and then wasting oodles of time grinding CC for mats so I could make the Glass Cannon. Here’s another dumb thing I did. First I flag for TOR on my Arti, THEN I TR and level up for free just to realize that I have to re-flag for TOR – yeah – that stupid. Anyway – I realize that the glass cannon is not a good rune arm but at least I won’t kill myself live figuring that out.

All in all I spent Saturday wasting good time realizing that acid is still my favorite element for my Arti. Although I’m sure I’ll experiment with the cold based rune arm out of TOR just to see how viable or niche that one is (I’m thinking niche and won’t replace force as secondary element).

Then Sunday I started out doing the FR side ice games (didn’t pull that last 48 recipe but the world is young and I don’t have anything good to put it on anyways) and did a few jumps in the Harbor just to go to the AH and check out the price for the ice burst recipe. 100k at least for the scroll. So I got lazy and bought 93 coins and pulled 1 single ice burst recipe out of all of them (it would’ve been cheaper to just buy the scroll).

So I kind of grew tired of it. But not until I ice burst my WF arti’s best repeater. With brilliance, caustic and flame blast on it, that ice burst sure added some more DPS. I currently only have random stuff on it. I should make myself a GS repeater just to have something better but after playing all day (unlocking the flagging quests – I got as far as to the demon web quests) I did a bank and mule check and found a banked named repeater out of the Drow city quests. Slavers handcrossbow or something. It’s alright – and it adds something to his over all arsenal. And suddenly the whole weekend was gone – I had an unproductive Saturday and a fun productive Sunday.

It’s nice to switch it up a lil’. While I love my sorc, it’s fun to play a self sufficient arti. It’s still a fact that Arti’s struggle dps wise in Epic quests. And since you can do all kinds of traps and unlock doors and chests you’re flexible enough to get the most of out all the quests without the use of gold hirelings. I wish my human arti didn’t fail when I tried to transfer him to Lam, because I’d love to find out if Toven’s Hammer is at all useful in Epic GH. Especially in a places like Cabal.

Considering that Acid rune arms shoot a pretty wide full spread, most of the bolts will simply get wasted hitting walls. Unlike Toven’s Hammer 4 electric AOE spheres that have a chance to hit pretty much everything in a narrow field straight forward. True, no one should bother specializing in one rune arm just for one single quest – but it’ll be useful in things like Famine and other quests as well.

Only negative is the reflex save. My experience (on the FR side at least) is the reflex saves negates a lot of the advantage and I’m afraid that higher end content such GH will make matters worse. But the Epic Elite Iron beads – a necklace with 120 in electric spell power and with superior lightning lore at least offer the temptation to give Toven’s another try. It’s hard to argue against one single item that will take care of all the rune arm boost you’ll ever need.

And that would allow me to slot 114 impulse spell power onto a epic named repeater (I’d love to get my hands on Epic double crossbow) to boost so that my secondary force based rune arm have what it needs. And with Epic blue dragon armor I’d have Major arcane lore as the proper crit boost for most of the spells and force rune arm crit.

I would keep my WF as an Acid/Force based and my Human as an Electric/Force based Arti. And by unlocked max Evocation based DC breaking my hope is to minimize reflex saves at least when doing EN and EH. I don’t think Arti’s can viably break EE reflex saves.

Lam time

I spent most of the day on Lam; first during the bling and XP drop event and then just running around trying to figure out how viable my WF arti will be. Keep in mind I had all the destinies unlocked at that point and Squeak was nice enough to drop a bunch Citw stuff such as the repeater.

First I set out to see if I couldn’t farm to unlock CC rune arm; glass Cannon. I was curious what it would take and how it would work. Someone said that the description didn’t mention a reflex save, which is a killer on any rune arms with reflex save. Most notoriously singe AOE stuff like Animus and this particular rune arm. It’s a little bit different with Toven’s Hammer since it’s 4 small AOEs but the truth is that with the saves being notoriously out of whack in high end content, most stuff will save. So you’ll do half damage a majority of the time and no damage to things like ranged critters since they have evasion.

The grind btw is terrible; mostly because there’s an iron curtain that comes down after 25 – I was constantly hit by 30-50+ in damage and everything will slow you down. I mean almost all attacks will have you run in slow motion. It’s annoying, excessive and lazy. The tactic is basically to agro on the live person, slow it down and massacre. Despite being able to self heal the HP went down so quick that the dumb hirelings with their non quicken heals couldn’t keep my arti alive. More annoying is that Kobolds naturally do not get more HP or survivability so if you’re not around and your hirelings that you put to guard the roost goes derp (and they will) you’ll hear your kobolds die very quickly.

And the funny thing is that I pulled more of the new gems being level 26 then I did running on 30 – being way over level will not increase the gem drop and if you’re dumb enough to blow them up with say energy burst you’ll get maybe 1 gem and most often if you kill several at the same time you get screwed on all the others (reminds you of Mabar right?). But ultimately the new rune arm just isn’t any good. Let me explain it like this; it’s a single hit AOE. You cannot get enough DC breaking ability to ensure at least 80% full hits and will most likely see over 50% saves of all your shots, which is bad since critters only get hit once. So while it adds bludgeoning and fire to the attack neither does a significant amount and almost always get saved. I might make one, but I won’t solo the event of it since I’m not a glutton for punishment.

Arti is not going to have it easy in this upper end content – not unless you have a really good repeater and excellent gear and enhancements for a good rune arm. And you better get them on the draconic destiny with energy burst to add some significant burst DPS. Because rune arm and repeater is a horrible HP grind compared to sorcs and beater classes who can out pace the DPS of a good arti. I’m also starting to detest the old legacy augment system – where some augments are showing up in the twelve for 20 tokens a piece and others show up in GH, creating this dual whacky system where even some 12+ augments show up in twelve with a divide between what augment you’ll see where which is confusing and silly.

The augment system is easy enough – double click on the augment which opens up a barter window – drag your item to the barderbox, decide where to put the augment. But running back and forth, realizing that X augment will be in twelve for a BTA cost of epic tokens and where others will be in GH for unbound relics makes your soul cry.

And worst of all; if you happen to have something augmented right now that you like (say feather falling) but you do have another augment slot open, then you’re going to have to cleanse these ‘old’ legacy augmented items in order to put a new augment in the unused slot. Which means you have to cleanse the item completely, lose the existing augment so the item gets the new type of augment slots (same color but now it can take the ‘new’ augments). Then you realize that most augments below 12 are in twelve and require tokens. And where you can buy a ML 12 augment for a small amount of relics that drop in the wilderness rare chests, you’re now forced to replace your lost feather falling with a 20 epic token one which costs a significant amount more of rare mats compared to any of the new.

As you can see I find that pretty silly. Rip the bandaid off – make it possible to use tokens for something, but make all augments belong to the new system. I rather get the pain over and done with in regards to tokens not being useful anymore then having a confusing dual system with a really absurd cost to penalty for a lower level augment with significant better value for temporary augmentation to some lower ML items. Think about it; lets say you make this Cannith item. You want Strength 7 and exceptional strength 1 on it. So you buy the ML 24 augments using relics for strength +7 and then you buy the lower ML +1 exceptional using tokens. One require you to go to twelve and the other require you to go to GH. Oh, and of course – the requirement for raid tokens still remain. You could compare it to say the need for heroic accomendations like you need for the ML 24 augments. But then keep in mind that everything else require this one new ‘material’ like unlocking purple knight favor stuff, unlocking ctiwn gear and planar set. And unlocking Epic GH raid items. But for a scant few augments you need raid tokens.

I have a headache just thinking about it.

Weekend – renown vs. last minute ice burstin’

I’m going to be honest; renown boost weekends are pointless. I remember back in last year when we recieved that wishing cake. Click it and recieve a bunch of choices. Most of the stuff was BTC, but some like the renown pots were BTA. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking so I started loading up on pots. Something like 75 in the end between all my legitimate alts and substandard mules.

And I faithfully drank them during a period of time with low guild activity. Completely wasted. There’s this feature called renown decay and due to that I will never buy one single potion with real money.

It’s like throwing good money away. So this weekend Iwill go ice fishing for coins instead and try to get at leats 3-5 more kits pulled to take some of the good stuff waiting in the bank and make them a lil’ more sharper.

Healing Rum

There are only two new items in Crystal Cove (as I wrote about yesterday). A rune arm and a potion. The ‘potion’ is a max level 11 healing drink with a long cooldown.

What strikes me however is not that there are only two items (I’m sure that’ll be a reason why CC will not see a tremendous prolonged activity compared to other years). But that the philosophy of BTC is still the predominant theory.

Especially with ANYTHING lower then level 20. I just don’t get it. Would you spend several days grinding for a ML 11 item with a heal every 5 minutes on every single guy because it’s ‘nice’ to have?

To me items like these are situational. Kind of like CC trinkets. The benefit of the trinkets however is that they’re BTA and ML 4 – so sometimes I use them for the first 20 levels and then get something else, or sometimes I use them a little first then swap them out. Like the SP giving trinket – I use it first, buff up and switch to more useful things. Like with my FvS – trinket first, symbole of Lolth after buffs.

Or with my fighter – I use the one that provides shocking blow until I’ll pull a strength based planar trinket or the upcoming GH raid trinket.

And since they’re BTA I only have to make so many and as I level up I use them and then store them away. BTC only means that I’ll fill up my personal bank space/inventory slots with things I use once in a blue moon.

I can understand BTC with a ML 24 rune arm. But ML 11 item? No. Again and time and time again Turbine keep releasing Arbitrary features of frustration. Especially with items like these that require 10 upgrades but is BTC from the getgo.

The return of the Cove

So the Cove is on Lamm, showing up the new level 21+ critters (Half-Orcs) and ‘stuff’.

First off – no new upgrades of existing items, so no ML 24 Maul (Example). The old loot remain the same, not even a change to hats and to trinkets. Instead they’re adding 2 new items – Bottomless bottle of Rum (That can be upgraded like 10 times or something like that) And the Glass Cannon – fire based exploding shot ML 24 Rune Arm. So no lower versions than that.

The bottomless bottle of room works as a healing device. Each upgrade either lowers the cool down or makes it more potent. Max level is 11 that casts a heal on you with a 5 minutes cool down. So it’s not really that useful other then in a pinch; with five minutes don’t expect it to keep you alive in the worst of battles.

The Rune Arm is your basic exploding fireball with -25% fort however it adds two basic effects too your repeater (unlike all others that adds one. Fire and bludgeoning. So not only does the shot itself hit with both fire and bludgeoning (like meteorstorm) but the repeater gets 2-16 bludgeoning and 2-20 fire.

It can also be upgraded twice – first adds 114 in Impulse (which boosts bludgeoning damage) and second adds 120 in Impulse and a yellow augment slot.

While truly an interest item it’s still lowers your fort (so wear one of those fort stacking items) and Fire AOE rune arms happen to be the weakest in the game right now. You only get hit once and the enemy critter can save against the damage. Which they do since adding enough Evocation is extremely hard for Arti’s.

Not bad – and thematically it suits it considered it’s a cannon, but some of the components makes it a little weak. This is of course the premier rune arm to use against undead, but the untyped damage portion (however small) does make at least some of the damage hard to resist.

Keep in mind; there’s no fire boosting added to fire portion, only impulse so try to add something like a Flame cloak, Shadownmail or anything that can boost enough fire in the process. A fully upgraded Flame Cloak together with Shadowmail would adds tons of lore plus spell power. And unsaved you should be able to see up to 1k in crit flame damage with several hundres of untyped. Possibly good.