Monthly Archives: February 2013

VIP and some other stuff

I’m VIP. I am for a lot of reasons. And I will continue to fork over my 10 bucks until they remove any benefit out of being one. It’s true that each expansion with a dwindling amount of free (to VIPs) updates undermines the value of VIP, but Turbine is set to update that.

 

The idea floating around (according to Fernando) is that VIPs will get a +10 XP bonus. It’s nice. And quite frankly I’d love to see something like +5% XP and +5% Renown and +5% challenge reward instead. You know smaller but broader. Meaning an incentive across many categories but now game breaking. Now some people call this p2w – but I’m pretty ambiguous about every single charge of ‘p2w’. To me it’s strictly ‘you cannot get X or do X unless you buy this one thing’. In a way owning a specific pack can be that – but we take that for granted. But let’s say that you can hit 25 but only if you buy 50 dollars can you reach level 30. That’s p2w.

 

Aside from the argument about what IS p2w I think giving a specific perk to VIPs is a good thing. Not just because I am a VIP but it makes sense to reward people who put dependable money into the system every single month. Sure – the counter argument is that premium players buy a lot of stuff – which ignores that the same can be said about VIPs. Trust me; if my wife knew just how much I spend on DDO she’d make me do dishes for months.

 

Aside from this debate I had somewhat of a ‘sliding sideways’ moment last night. I did FoT and did pretty well. I find ranging together with Fury of the Wild Epic moment (or adrenaline pumped shots) a good way of staying out of trouble and kiting stuff if need be. Going in close and dirty always ends up with lots of people dead and me running in circles screaming. I just need a better bow I guess; or the right type of DR breaking. I’m thinking Epic silver Flame bow but trying to pull seals and shards is an act of Gosh. Those loot tables are so borked. While I’m at it I’d love to get my hands on an Epic double crossbow and Silver slinger. Both would look real good on my Arti’s. Make that 2 of each for both my Arti’s. I ain’t greedy – just want something better then greensteel and random pulls.

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Proud owner after trades, fights and plat exchanges

I slew dragons, traded using items, other scales and even tons of plat. One light Epic dragon armor later and my ranger is definately getting there.

A lil’ pointy. Not the coolest dragon armor in the world (the helmet is even worse). I’d hope they make the epic versions even more ‘epic’ but it’ll have to do. I’m sure they’ll see some ka-thich opportunities in the future with selling kits. And provided it makes the dragon armor look EPIC I’m more then will to open up my wallet. The helmet? The black looks better then blue and white for sure. But all 3 needs an overhaul. The red from VON looks good together with the red armor. The blue black and white are kind of plain. I wish they could make them more – something and not so cartoonish.

As it stands I’ve managed to put together a good assortment of not top grade gear but good. And I even took my fighter for a swing with his new EE version of Chained greataxe – added 1d10 cold and good to it (it has two slots – one orange and one red) and he can only get better. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with the Purple Dragon Set (it’s fairly good) or if I’ll move onto Epic dragon (like black or white). I haven’t decided yet. I can continue down the path of pure DPS. Or ensure I have as many augment slots as possible making him more well rounded. Right now I’m thinking PDK and eventually the planar set. But we’ll see. Lot’s to think about.

A few more reasons to stick around

The future is bright – setting aside the tin foil, the doom and gloom and all that – I am very happy with DDO and it seems that it can only get better.

I agree that bugs suck. I agree that sometimes Turbine outstrips their ability and produce a headthumping pain for the rest of us. And it seems that where they squash some bugs, the introduce others. Or old ones. And some never seems to get fixed (hello ladder bug with arti pets). But I have hope, because I love DDO and I want it to prosper.

Work on the new enhancement system is well underway and it will be heading to its first public beta this spring.

This is good news. I will look forward to this new system that looks similar to the destiny system. And I look forward to finally get the most out of my different chars. Especially my FvS and my Arti’s.

Shadowfell Conspiracy will have more than just new quests and regions, we will also be raising the level cap to 28 and providing something often requested by fans: faster access to the Forgotten Realms! With a new prestige character feature we are calling Iconic Heroes; we think we have an innovative solution that will get you right into the Forgotten Realms starting at level 15. Each of these Forgotten Realms born characters will start as a race class combination with new racial abilities. I can’t wait to tell you more about these characters in the coming months.

Looks like a second expansion. I’m willing to pay if it adds something significant to the experience. Like tons of quests and a good over all system. And I’d be curious to see what kind of specific race benefits there are to anything raised and born in FR compared to Eberron.

Later in the year we have some other great stories planned and we plan to focus our attention on the True Reincarnation options and update the system to work for Epic level players. Epic True Reincarnation would also introduce a new completionist track. What would two more stat points do to your TR character?

So level 28 and new form of TRing. I’m very curious about that. Level 28 adds another feat and another Ability point (at least). But I wonder if it also means ‘more’ power to destinies. Like maybe 1 additional point per level to spend in a destiny or maybe a new tier? And it also probably means higher level gear – I wonder what that means?

But it seems like they’re not hot to update Cannith crafting and that’s a pity. Cannith crafting in combination with augment slots can be a good way to find some basic hole pluggin’ gear. But it doesn’t look like they’re interested in doing much with it.

Coming together

So I failed my first solo run and no wonder why; I just didn’t have my head in the game using a medium armor that removed my evasion ability and a low tier destiny not optimized for my type of game. And of course lots of things to evade (which I didn’t) and not enough damage to dish out with the timing of having to knock down giants and dragons at the same time.

So I went back in using the barbarian destiny ready to kick it up a notch with adrenaline. And what a difference. Giants fell like crazy and with 25% left HP on the white dragon and less then 5 on the giant a multi arrow later plus epic moment and it was all over. The same happened with the blue and the black dragon.

But I kind of skipped soloing it after that. It takes longer and it relies to much on hirelings to keep me alive. That would be good if it wasn’t for the fact that I ended up healing the healer at times because it was stuck on trying to throw heal mass when the dragon was clearly annoyed at it. Plus with a group I ran EH mostly which had the side effect of me pulling some nice named loot and also a few more scales. All in all the weekend had me pull together 12 scales and I’m very close to having my first dragon outfit.

Here’s the thing; I kind of like EN whispermail. Lots of blur and lots of HP. Going to Epic black dragon will in sense be better for my DPS BUT worse for my hitpoints. So I almost feel like I have to drop a 35 HP in the armors blue augment slot to be 5 short compared to whipermail and not the PRR like I wanted too. I’m also wanting to wait until I either run and pull or can buy reasonably priced EE Dream Visors, Ring of Shadows and Jeweled Cloak. They will allow me to add more DPS, replace the whisperchain for avoid damage and some spell absorb (slot the cloak with deathblock and it’s your handy ioun stone).

I’m currently happy with the EH Jorgundal’s collar, EN Spiked Boots, fully upgraded ring of stalker, claw set, EH Compass, EN Whisperchain and EH Girdle of Giants’ Brawn. And I have slotted all kind of stuff from Con, Dex, Heavy fort and FF to smooth out all those spikes in good to bad in what’s normally any build. So that means less changing gear and more well rounded – making some things a tad stronger then others. And Devotion 114 in my fully upgraded Elemental Khopesh and some additional cold DPS in the other weapon rounds off all the self healing I need. And when I slotted 200 additional SP I tend to have enough SP to heal through most issues without needing to switch to torc to ‘torc up’. Of course, I still have a con op helmet so I do get some SP from that now and then – enough to keep me from blowing through all of it.

Can I solo TOR on my Ranger?

It was me, the panther, Albus and the level 24 Rogue. I figured I use the rogue because it’s pretty good and I had 20 minutes left on the contract.

I was on my first tier 3 Legendary bubble and it was okay. I had previously unlocked the druid healing cocoon or something and it was good for 9 seconds of continued 50ish GP and 150 temp HP. Nothing earthshaking but okay considering.

I hit the white dragon first. My idea was to let the hirelings deal with the dragon since I didn’t feel like being frozen solid. But the problem is that hirelings are derp. If you are further away from them eventho you told them to hit X they will eventually rubberband back and start hitting whatever is closer. Like the giant. So suddently the giant was a sliver and the dragon had plenty HP left. So giant naturally goes down and comes back at full. And when the opposite happened at least the dragon came back at half.

Incidentally the giant went down at least one more time before I managed to get them both down (with a hair to spare before giant came back up again) and Albus blue bar was empty.

I did not get so fortunate with the blue dragon. Now I managed to pull a ring of the djinn (EN) as end reward for finishing TOR and the flagging quests (as we all know you don’t have to defeat the dragons to actually progress). It has 33% electric absorb, 50 electric resist and 10/lawful. It’s not uber, but it’s one of those ‘break in the case of massive electric damage’. But I realized as I lamented that I probably won’t solo TOR dragons anytime soon (with my ranger) that I could’ve used the Barbarian destiny instead and built up for that Epic moment and multi shot them. As it works, that for 30 seconds every 2 seconds (or something like that) it will do a adrenaline shot.

And that’s 4 arrows worth of 500k crits and with possible desintegration as well procs (Epic Elemental longbow – Cannith challenge). That’s pretty good. See I almost had the blue dragon – both were down to a sliver and I multi shot the giant but he got up a hair before both were considered down. And after that all that electric damage and the fact that Albus ran out of blue too got me. So I’m thinking that if I manage to get them both together when they’re about 5-10% each I should be able to hit the Epic moment and start either shooting them or slapping them for massive damage – enough to win. Which is exactly what I’m trying tonight.

BTW – I got lucky and pulled the EN white helmet with insightful con. I put it on the AH since I don’t think I will ever use it. I’m pretty sure that I’ll do black for almost all my guys other then my human Arti (shadowmail) and Sorc (Epic blue). I just don’t see a massive need for the white. And maybe I just make a docent for the Arti pet. Or sell. Who knows.

Toven’s Hammer and iron beads – interesting but not viable

Imagine a rune armed charged fully by one item for maximum spell power and Superior lore. Imagine no more. EE iron beads, or as in my case, the EH version. It’s really a dream come true. You can’t really do that with any item – both get superior lore and maximum spell power. The closest you’ll get is at least 2 items. Like Epic tier 3 rock boots together with a EE Corruption of Nature. Thats superior acid lore with 114 spell power. Still not maximum but close.

Or impulse based rune arm together with EE version of shadowmail. 120 force based spell power and greater arcane lore. Not maximum lore but maximum spell power. So having ONE single item provide everything you need is a Arti wet dream. Or it should be.

First off – even with twisted evocation plus draconic evocation (+5 DC) maximum int I can add on my Arti etc any AOE based rune are will be close to worthless. I counted 1 out 4 hits as none reflex saved. That’s a lousy average. Even worse; the Tovens directional shots are FUBAR. Most of them hits nothing. They just ever get to their target. It’s like any slight tilt of the floor ‘stops’ the shots or if a hireling is in the way between you and the target it completely confuses the rune arm shots. The result is that some just goes straight down in the ground eventhough you’re aiming elsewhere and some just vanishes. But that’s nothing compared to all the shots that will be evaded by ranged critters and reflex saved by everything else.

As it stands critters with poor reflex save will save half the time, critter with good will save almost all the time and critters with evasion will usually never take damage. That makes any AOE based rune arm a worthless proposition in high end quests. Mind you; this was EN Cabal and Epic wilderness. Not EH or EE where things get even worse.

Now consider that 2 of the new rune arms; the one out of Crystal Cove and the lightning one are AOE based. Don’t worry about them – rune arms have been screwed for a while now and you’re better off putting all your resources into acid and force. Anything directional and AOE is currently off the table.

What could change that? Make anything that provides evocation count. Be it item, destiny and feat. Make it possible to make any type rune arm viable. Otherwise the options will be limited to a few useful ones and the rest will just be useless flavor. And to make Toven’s – a otherwise really nice runearm – so limited because it’s a highlevel rune arm to beginwith but you can’t use it in Epic hard and elite quests, is a shame. As for now I will have to limp along until Turbine get serious about making everything viable and stop throwing out new shiny stuff while so much else gets left behind. As I see it; Arti’s need their own destiny and one that makes all rune arms viable. I’d love to use the new glass cannon, but the reality is that it’s a ML 24 piece of vendor trash. It might be good as the 3 barrel cove lower end version but in 20+ quests it’s a cute artifact. And anything that is directional and AOE based is pointless to pursue until they do something about the whacky DC behind runearms.

Into the valley of gold and gems

It’s ironic; I tend to run into things when I don’t want or plan to and I’ll never run into something if I do. In other words – if I go hunting for dragons I won’t find them (unless it’s TOR, where you will always encounter 3 of them). But if I happen to go the wrong way to POP (like heading towards Madstone confusing my directions and having a FVS foolish enough to follow me around – but turned out to work in my favor.

So there it was; a green dragon. Sleeping on a slope. If you’re sneaky you can apparently steal its chest without waking it and if you’re not, like the FvS – you get to fight it. I was on my ranger at the time so I decided to stay away. Partly because the acid breath and attacks hit me anyways but at least I wasn’t constantly dazed and running in slowmotion. And selfhealing always helps since the rest of the party that dropped in very slowly was busy getting beat up by the dragon. But we survived and profited.

Then there was the case of the red dragon, this time we were actually heading to Madstone. I jumped off this ledge and suddenly a HUGE red dragon swooped down and sat there. I figured – this guy wants something since I’m not its latest meal yet. And while the party came back to me I kind of got a good look at it. It looks awesome. Of course some giants further off felt like they wanted to get in on the action so while another party member tried to talk to it I was busy getting rid of the party poopers. One death later and we were rewarded with 2 chests.

As far as the quests goes – Cabal is pretty much the same. Tons of goblins, lots of annoying casters trying to dispel all your buffs, hold you when needed and make my guy choke on glittering dust. But the combination of Epic Elemental Khopesh with improved paralyzing together with a sacrificial dagger works. It’s a great way to both paralyze and to neg level stuff. And it did help that we ran as a full group with plenty of DPS.

I didn’t get a chance to run TOR – I ended up running with 2 different groups and re-doing Cabal more then once, but I did finally flag my ranger for TOR, which is next on my list. I also had the chance to augment the khopesh with 1d6 of shock damage. It’s nice to add a little more DPS even if it’s minute and I also picked up EH Iron Beads for 350k, not bad considering that will boost my Arti pretty well. Ultimately I’d love the EE version but 114 spell power and superior lightning lore ain’t bad considering how hard it is to boost runearm DPS considering that most good spell power stuff comes on hand held stuff.