Monthly Archives: October 2014

18, interesting level for gear

I say interesting because the problem with 18 is that unlike a lot of other levels this one will run it’s course quickly. It was different when 20 was the defacto EPIC level – then even with the different 1st generation Epic gear a lot of the level 18 stuff was right there up with it. Like ToD sets. If you look at the first generation Epic stuff most of it was +6 ability with a few insight and exceptional. The closer we get to MOTU and a change to Epic levels 21-25 we saw more powerful versions, like in the Web of Chaos.

So while I can now use the Cannith Fabricator set, 2 fairly okay items and my Shintao ToD set (stacking +2 damage and accuracy) it’ll be circulated back to the back almost right about level 20. And it’s even worse with level 19 gear. There are some nice autogranted ones from Shadowfell (the Guardian, Skirmisher and Sage) in the end reward lists. Some of them level 15 and the rest level 19. The Sage stuff is pretty good and will last a few more levels (who can argue against kinetic lore 18% or Evocation +4?) but the melee stuff is usually banked once 20 roll in.

The reason for it is simple; the trade in stuff from MOTU is much stronger than most gear at the same level. Like the purple knight with a good gauntlet, good helmet and okay armor. Plus a good set bonus doesn’t hurt either. This is by far one of the stronger sets.

The arcane or divine are not bad, but they pale in utility (especially when comparing to older epic stuff) when you look at the purple knight. That’s even more true compared to the druid/ranger one or the villager. They’re not ‘bad’ sets they’re just not as strong as something that grant 2 strong primary abilities (con and strength) and then +3 in artifact damage and accuracy – which stacks with the deadly competence damage. However there you can debate whether you’re not better off going with the Claw set from Red Fen. Stacking artifact +4 damage and 30% heal amp – main difference is the stronger strength and constitution package for the purple knights, but it takes all 3 items to get the extra damage.

Theoretically it only takes 2 items to get something really good out of red fen but then you don’t get the more strength and constitution as a side effect.

Again – melee got some really nice choices to pick from at 20, making the level 18 stuff (which used to be king at that level and beyond) not that useful in the long run.

Now I can keep on using the ToD set for a bit. I do like the manslayer ring for 20 but that’s just one. 21 gets trickier tho since I have a vertigo ring I’d like to use. But now that I’ve discovered a better item, the Deneith Heavy Chain with +15 vertigo, I’m thinking I want to look at maybe getting a ring of stunning instead. Or maybe settle for a dilapidated stun until I find a good way to boost it and use different type of rings instead. But the fabricator set is a goner for sure, it can’t compete with either claw gauntlets or purple knight and there’s no shortage of melee alacrity stuff.

There’s also the question of Greater Abashai. If you do 3 pieces you have +3 Profane stacking strength. 5 adds as many in con. 3 is a lot easier if you want to maintain other good gear selection and you can easily boost up strength with +7, +2 insightful, +1 exception and the +3 profane. That’s pretty darn good.

Time to glammer shields

The latest patch adds docents and shields to mirror of glammering. Weapons are still on hold as they try to fix the issues with particle effects. But I can finally remove the scrutty look of the purple knight shield from haunted halls and replace it with something a little bit more impressive. If you haven’t see it the purple knight shield is sorta bugged graphically with the hand sticking through it and the size of it makes it look like a toy shield instead of one of the best tower shields. It got sovereign vorpal for pete sakes – and I assume because of either weight or some pointy stuff, but the shield looks like it couldn’t even knock the training dummy over.
So I took a look at all the different named shields and the only ones that struck me as uniquelly badass are the heroic shield of legends. ML 14 out of Necro 4. It used to be that you could only get the pieces out of the optional side quest in the quests, but they later on added it to the rare in the explorer area. It’s still a pain to collect all of the pieces but it can be sold on the AH.
Most of the shields are pretty good, but the one I really like, Deaths Door is all that what it’s cracked out to be (by the look) for heroic use. On the other hand, Talon, is a great Vanguard shield but not the best look. Not bad mind you, but there are so many other shields to pick from.
I almost wish they sold the cosmetics on their own. Make them or buy them. Cheaper to glammer, but possible to buy for a little bit more. That would be perfect and I wouldn’t have to waste all those shield pieces on something I probably won’t use but like the look of. Now I do have one – at that time it was the best shield for me. That was back when using tower shield wasn’t the preferred to use so I picket out a large shield that combines a lot of good features.
I like the look of adherence. Nice and bulky. Just like Skyvault. But it’s a little bit more than I’d like and the shield is not that good.
I own Arrondi but the look is not as cool. I really don’t see ‘sovereign vorpal’ in the design.
Bijio is interesting and colorful. A little plain in the shape but cool with the runes. But the shield is more for a healer type. Altho it could be nice for a self healing Pally.
I like Fanion but it’s not all that good for a melee.
Death’s Door has a unique look to it, but the shield itself is okay but not very useful for a melee. Sorrel looks great and it’s not a terrible shield, but with todays random stuff, augments and such you can certainly find better and earlier than protection +5.
Lastly Talon. Great shield for Vanguard, but it’s sorta small. I’d like something a little bigger and bulkier and this is not the perfect look.
But as I currently look for the final shield piece (3) I decided to at least glammer something (random) just to replace the look of the purple knight shield. So I found an okay looking heavy shield for now (main picture). It’ll do until I find the final piece and decide what type of look I’d like going forward. The final thing will of course be weapons. I’m not entire sure what I’m looking for yet, but I’m tired of the thunderforged look. It’s not a bad shape of the sword but the particle effect is terrible.

If you want a crafter, start with training wheels

Back when crafting was first introduced the most ideal class for it was the Arti. Partly because Arti is not feat intense and because you get extra bonuses for being Arti and using the dragonmark – most of what they need they get as part of the class (like rune arm and repeating cross bow) and while it feels like a waste to tie up 3 feats just to add a bonus to the crafting levels it helps getting there sooner. Then it was changed into one feat and the rest enhancements.

Depending on just of enhancement intense your build is, that could actually be worse. For me it was better since adding 2 more feats helped strengthen casting even if I had to juggle around some enhancements. After having enjoyed a bunch of crafting crunches (going through bouts whenever there was an appropriate crafting XP weekend bonus) I’m now fairly high on the scale. So much so that most of the very highest recipes (for bound) can be reached with about 70% chance (without adding any boosts) and there might be some few of the others I can’t. And yes, that means most flexible recipes. That also means no training wheels, no feats, no enhancement points.

The good thing about that is that I could add another few recipes today for my ‘growing’ horc. Consolidating 2 rings into 1. My one ring of Natural Armor +3 with a water breathing augment and my pure protection +5, into a protection +5 ring with a green augment slot and then slot a Natural Armor +4 augment into it (the ring is ML 13 and the augment ML 12). I also created 2 absorb trinkets. Both are ML 3 but the higher up in levels you get you’ll end up doing quests with lots of fire and electric damage. And being able to switch some trinkets around to get some additional protection is nice. Altho I do wish they had a cold and acid recipe as well. With at least 20% if 33 seems too high.

And speaking of 13 – I checked out to see if I had banked anything better than the scavenged warplate with an alchemical armor upgrade. Nope, not heaven the one from Lordmarch. I think they count it as a ‘heavy chainmail’ even if there’s no such animal in the rest of the game. Because the AC is lower then the Warplate. Altho that can be because they did an armor overpass back in the days when they rolled out the new augment system. Some, both lower and higher got augment slots and a AC overpass while others were not touched. And since it’s ML 12 and the Warplate is ML 8 it should be at least on equal footing or slightly higher.

But that’s not the case so I’m still wearing it while I wait for 14 and the black dragon plate instead. Or maybe the VoD armor. Who knows. I usually pick the best utility and not always the best AC. And having 10% armor piercing and a 10% melee damage boost seems a little better than a few points of AC.

I honestly wished I could craft something better instead but armor suffers from something different when it comes to lootgen with augment slots (compared to say rings with augment slots) and that is they come with a minimum level. I think it has to do with the type of material which has to do with the DR of the armor (in other words the PRR and MRR). So many times you might pull a level 27 ring with a green augment slot and after disjunction its a level 5 (due to the augment) but a high level armor usually means over 20 anyways even if you prepare it for crafting. pajamases seems different tho since there’s no inherent AC or PRR.

But if you’re like me and have one of those old plates with adamantium on it you got those low ML 1 and 2 with a 3/- DR and that is gold worth. Not so much with higher levels but early on it’s a life saver.

The Sands

The dust and fine sand particles blew off the cliff like a mist. Dry heat, making the inside of the helmet feel like a cast iron pot cooking its last supper. The smell of death, the dead gnolls behind him and the blood boiling on the hard polished rock. Flies. Already feasting on the carcasses with a few buzzards circling high above, waiting for the half orc to move on. Behind him his hired hand shifted nervously. Sighing as the relentless heat baking the rock made the ground in the distance shake like a opaque ocean of liquid dirt.

He knelt. Studying the landscape before him. The formation of ancient final resting places of lords and kings. And where the sun bleached bones of warriors ruled. Where shambling moaning servant, slain to serve their masters in death roamed and where nobles, wrapped in dirty torn rags, trapped in dry and crisp bodies lurked. Across the sands the resting home of the Wizard king stabbed through the sand like a broken block of maleficent brood. A place haunted by the will of the lich, haunted by the tormented servants and the many long dead guardians. Across the sand, still on fire in the merciless sun across a bleak sky without a single cloud in sight. Dunes, leaping across each others like frozen waves on a timeless sea. His hand gripped the handle of the greataxe, ending in a double edged blade with lightning leaping across the green steel. He looked back. His hired hand was blinking away sweat, gazing upward into the inferno above. Fear caked his dirty face. Fear of what lay beyond and fear of dying, serving someone for the pittance of coin.
‘Don’t worry’ grinned the half orc – the sun forming a corona of blazing gold around the top of the black helmet. ‘the dead don’t fret about memories and regret. Once you die what was is forever gone. Don’t fear what can happen, fear instead of coming home empty handed without anything to show for the toil’.

The sun was midway across the sky. The half orc didn’t feel like crossing it during night, when the undead would rise without rest. One of the mortally wounded gnolls, a shaman, glared at him. Unable to utter even one legible word, with his guts spilling out across the rock. He had seared a bolt across the half orcs chest and suffered the consequence. Where the other gnolls had died swiftly and without mercy, the caster who first held him with a cruel laughter and later tried to snuff him out with spells, had suffered from an agonizing but final cut. He was going to die. His broken body half slumped against a caved in tent, across broken barrels.

The half orc knew death. But to wield it with wanton cruelty deserved a faith worse then death. It was not a law. It was justice for cruelty. He spat in its direction. There was no mercy in his look. And the gnoll resigned to die his slow painful death as the hired hand feared his master more then to provide a quick merciful blow. It said nothing. It knew better. The armored beast in front of him had saved him so many times. And in a small way he felt he owed him a certain allegiance, even if it came in the form of platinum. Plus there was also a deep respect, admiration and fear. He’d seen the half orc fight. It was like watching death wielding a lightning scythe. A dance. He’d seen the half orc take on the 6 on the cliff. It was a fearsome display of barely contained rage, skill and finality.

‘Lets not waste daylight’ said the warrior. ‘I don’t want to fight thick up to my hips in undead after dark’ and chuckled when it sent a visible shiver through the hired hand.

Marked to Death

As you can see by the attached Image I finally managed to hit 20. No silly, that was not from the chest. I’ve only seen named items twice and you bet no one could roll on them. So I immediately changed the alignment to true neutral, previously lawful good. I always do lawful good (unless it’s a bard or rogue). It’s just a habit. A practical one mind you since so many weapons you need are good and most low end toons don’t have enough UMD to overcome it early on.

Sure, I could just suffer the neg level but that would be to lower the standard on everything the toon is good at and for 500 TP you can change the alignment as you see fit. This is after doing a final 5 runs, 2 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday (with that toon). I tell you; the 2 on Saturday were awful. Partly because too few (that knew it well) did the side stuff and there was no control of the moving pieces once the main battle started. Partly because the voice kept saying ‘stop moving’ which is counter productive in you’re in a mark of death cloud. In fact after playing this game since 2009 I can figure out when to stop moving or not without someone telling me over and over how to play.

That was REALLY annoying.

The group on Sunday was much better. Calm leader – simple instructions over voice – like Abbot is up, quells, beholders etc and much better at doing the side stuff. The main battle was over fairly quickly with only one bump in one of them where the random chaos started to tilt things into a third of the group *dinging* in a short period of time. In contrast to the first group some runs were even ‘deathless’. I ended up doing another 2 runs on my Pally since the group was so good; never hesitate in taking advantage of a good thing. He’s now 8 away from 20th and I’m still debating with myself what I want for my first item.


It’s not a rule, but it has become a fact; when I TR I always end up crafting something. It’s for that reason many of my guys have several BTC items, specifically crafted for them in the past and that I use when I TR. But somehow I always end up crafting something else.

Since I started organizing my mules better I’ve cut down on the redundant crafting; you know needing a con item and couldn’t find what I knew was in there somewhere, so now, for most part – I’ll find that BTA necklace with ease and use it for however many levels it’s needed (until something better, such as a named comes a long.

I also have plenty of armors – I don’t like the BTCoE binge that Turbine went through with the augmentation overpass since a lot of the named armor (well below 20) was converted to this format – looking at you blood plate, but I still got some that are untouched by time. Such as a few cavalry plates and another I just found – Scavenged Warplate. Now the scavenged Warplate is a BRILLIANT low level heavy armor. Moreso with the armor up change. It comes with 2 augment slots, one blue and one colorless. It’s also adamantine, so 3/- in DR. Of course with higher levels the DR won’t meant as much but around this level range it still helps. So I added a alchemical armor defense ritual on it and since it’s BTA it’s a perfect for TRing different toons. Bloodplate is unfortunately BTCoE. Altho it comes with deathblock and a blue augment slot – so that’s nice.

The nice thing with level 8 armor is that it’s perfect for augmentation. Like heavy fort. You can get those from the store, auction house but very easily from the ML 8 blue augment collectable turn ins. Either taking a chance for a random ML 8 augment or buy it outright for shards – either way it’s not that hard to get your hands on and it helps you combine several items into one. Not bad for a ML 8 armor.

The helmet in the picture was a crafted one that I came up with. I had a melee alacrity trinket (ML 3) but at level 8 I ended up wanting a few other stuff instead. I was getting rid of the infested armor (ML 4) but liked that Spell resist still worked. So I combined a few different items, like a feather falling crafted one (ML 1) with wiz I, the trinket into a helmet with a yellow augment slot and now I could also add a fear immunity augment. That’s not bad for a ML 8 items when melee alacrity named items are rare at this level. That’s at least 3 items in one with only the abilities that matter.

At the same time I created a natural armor +3 ring with a yellow augment slot (and I added a ML 4 underwater Breathing augment). ML 7. And on the other hand I added a Protection +5 ring (ML 7 too).

I wanted to mention that because in the early levels these items add such a premium to your abilities. The AC actually works and every minor investments in these things add another layer of ability to streak out Elite. That’ll change however down the road when it’s harder to get more AC out of gear and such unless you specially yourself in a more tank centric tree. But at least up until 10-12 these items add enough juice to be very effective.

Speaking of weapon – I’m currently using the ML 10 greatsword out of Lordmarch. It’s not ultimate (and I won’t upgrade it since that would turn it into ML 12) but the con damage does help. And even if a similar axe would have better crit damage, the greatsword crit more and at a pretty nice 160-180 range (compared to my Cannith Challenge Elemental Greataxe ML 8 tier 2 that can crit for about 250).

All in all these items helps me rock content and at level 10 I’m 3 bubbles away from 11 and with Antaraxia’s Haven done I now have all bank slots unlocked which will be useful with the ever changing gear selection.

So what’s next? At 11 I can finally put on my all HP, blur GS goggles. And at 12 I’ll have my triple positive undead killing Maul together with my Lightning 2 greataxe. And as far as weapons goes that’ll work nicely until I hit 20 and can pick up the Epic Antique Greataxe.

Armor wise I either have the armor from VoD or a black Dragon ML 14 one. I think I go with the Black Dragon since it adds fortification penetration and additional temporary bonus to damage after each kill. Both very useful items. Sure, I could put on my Dragontouched armor I made an Eon ago – but those are not as viable anymore. They’re in a real need of updating to be the goto 16+ armor. And I do wish they would. Just as GS is the goto item for items and weapons, Dragontouched with its runes used to and should be the armor people grind out for the below Epic runs.

Instead I notice that it’s more the different TOR heroic armor.

A simple rule with exceptions

I have a simple rule. One. Kinda like people who pull potions of wonders and have to drink them right away. I don’t have that rule, but I do have another. If I pull a hair dye and my toon can use it (that is none warforged) I will. Unless I bought the current hair color or I like it very much (which is usually the same but sometimes I do pull the hair color I’d like to use anyways.

But more often then not I will use it and end up with a lot of funky hair colors. Like for a while a lot of my fleshies ran around with derivative of gray/white/steel hair color, looking like a bunch of old guys. And lately I’ve seen a lot of ‘flamboyant’ colors, like my lavender Swashbuckler and Sage green Horc. Until I went back to his original color before the ER (orange).

As you can see from the featured image he’s back to a more ‘wanted’ color since for a while there he looked like the stormreavers minion with his big green beard. And speaking of looks – the helmet and the armor is glimmered. The armor is from the E Necro pack and the helmet is a random with more matching color. Back in the past life this horc had mutton chops (I LOVE the looks of horcs in mutton chops) and the helmet just didn’t look good on him. And not that I picked this beard because of that but when I was done and checked him out in these cosmetics the beard just bad the entire look that much better.

And speaking of cosmetics. I like the idea of glimmering any type of item. And for that reason I eagerly await when you can do the same to shields and weapons, especially since a lot of high end loot and thunderforged stuff looks terrible. Like the toilet plunger q-staff or the design of the greataxe which they took from the Chronosphere one. In fact I can’t remember seeing any upper end greataxe that looks cool. Not even Antique Greataxe or their like.

But there is one in Lordmarch – the look before you upgrade it. Even the greatsword looks cool like that. Both have that crude, handmade look to them. And both look nice on a horc (incidentally that pack was released together with the half orc so there’s no wonder that the loot looks the part). I even like the bow and the khopesh. But at least the thunderforged khopesh looks nice and I think both the khopesh and the scimitar is taken from the Drow MOTU weapons.

Going back to glimmered unified look (like my horc with his ‘horny’ black helmet and black armor) – I think it would be really cool if Turbine started releasing entire looks. Kinda like Iconics. Not that iconics come with the ‘atypical’ helmet, but with the unique facial looks and the cosmetics it’s possible to look the part. And that’s really what’s missing in this game. A unified look – glimmering offers that somewhat as we can create our own cosmetics regardless of the mixed gear underneath and with weapons and shields added to the mix it’ll be possible to piece together a ‘better’ look and not worry about having to turn off things like helmets just because what you’re wearing looks silly. Plus it also allows you to wear something that would otherwise be impractical.

If you look at some of the design you see a clear reference to several different historical and iconic cultural looks and not just typical fantasy. You see things from Ancient Egypt in the form of that tall helmet, you see tracers of Viking in the helmet with horns and you see the high elf look in some of the stuff – masks, executioners hood etc. But none of them are very practical. Most people will go for a named piece over a random loot that might look nice but splits several different things and becomes more or less worthless.

And that’s naturally true with armor. I for example have always liked the banded mail with Samurai helmet look. And none of them are very practical items. It’s true that most of the banded mail is gone in favor of half plates and that’s sad (because it was a cool look) but as a piece of armor it was more or less useless. And that’s because armor is sorta useless in half measures. Most people either wear robe, docent, pajamas, light or heavy. That’s because medium offers little benefit (more so now with the change in armor up and introduction of a new PRR formula and MRR). In the past banded and even half plate stuff just didn’t add anything useful to people who either looked for max protection or something to wear when evading.

With cosmetics that entire thing is meaningless. Cosmetics is about looks and a unified look just looks cooler.

So I hope turbine will realize just how interesting it would be to combine these 4 different cosmetics slots to a unified looks package. Like either releasing an entire pack of all 3/4 items (shield can be an exception since it’s still not the main average setup) with a distinct and iconic theme. Like Medieval knight, dark wizard (with pointy hat or shiny dome, dark robes and gnarly staff/scepters), Samurai warrior (different choice of color patterns, helmet with demon visor, Naginata/Katana/Yari/Tachi, banden mail), Oriental mystic, South American Inca, Ancient Eqypt, Roman gladiator/centurion, Greek Hoplite etc. Yes, add a few color choices, a few different weapon/shield choices and let people get that iconic look despite what they wear underneath. And cloaks – cloaks would be very nice.

So why these iconic looks? Because not only are some of them absolutely cool (Like Samurai warrior or Medieval man at arm) but it also conveys a kinda of cultural belonging. You’re not just a motley looking warrior or colorful caster. You’re a Oriental Mystic, a German Man at arm with Flamberger or a Samurai warrior with Naginata. Despite actually suing the CITW staff and not what looks like a gnarly walking stick, or the sword of shadows when it’s a long Sweihander or the absolutely cool looking Naginata when it’s the thunderforged toilet plunger.

You’re not just a Monk with a q-staff. You’re a iconic warrior with a iconic weapon. You’re not just a ‘Fighter’. You ARE a knight. Or a mystic, or a dark lord, or a sneaky rogue with highway man mask. Or a Centurion with what looks like a Gladius and a Large round shield. Or a hoplite with a short spear and large round bronse shield.

I’ll buy that for lots of dollars.