Mark of Death

I’ve done it now on several toons, of them mostly melee type builds and then my Sorc and Arti. And I can tell you this; all of the different toons have a completely different feel to it.

Easiest by far is the Pally – 2 handed Bladeforged. Sure, sometimes you get ‘quelled’ (I know that it’s not ‘quelled’ but since the dang thing hits everyone with the same silly effect I like to call it quelled – under perfect circumstances the system would only try intercession on Divines but as of now it spams it on ANYTHING). My Pally seems to have the greatest balance of survivability against all the stat damage and negative levels along with a good chunk HP and lots of anti dead DPS. In other words a good mix of all worlds.

Second best feeling and with far less HP is my Pure Swashbuckling Drow. It can resurrect and it can add a good chunk of DPS when it counts. It’s hard to get it stuck and the most annoying feature is of course to get the displacement removed due to beholders. But it also comes with a good source of evasion and such, making it able to survive so many situations other melees won’t. It’s versitile and an excellent support running the circle destroying things and resurrecting when needed. Plus you can’t dispel the songs so that those extra heal ticks help along with the additional DC for casters.

My Sorc was the third best feeling; again – it can resurrect anyone using scrolls and it comes loaded with tons of DPS via Shiradi casting. Plus webs actually work – perfect for stopping Vampires dead in its track. Add meteor strike and black acid bolt for DPS against the Abbott and you have a tremendous source of single point DPS. But, it’s quirky. With not that much HP and with little or no defense against stuff other than displacement it does get whacked hard by all the stuff in there. But at least it has some nice abilities to defend itself with. Plus I’m respeccing the spells somewhat, right now using reconstruct as a backup for when intercession turns off the bladeforged reconstruct (yes, running bladeforged is considered being a divine so that part only gets turned off, all other sorc spells work fine).

I had an okay feeling running my Vanguard Tank. It’s not perfect but it can do well in keeping trash under control. However against big targets it’s just not enough explosive DPS. And all that stat damage makes life a misery. It’s less of a problem with my Swashbuckler since he can easily scroll that away (same with my sorc and my Pally can use spell). But my human Vanguard has basically a few potions from MOTU commendation turn in and it’s not enough to get rid of all the stuff in the game. Sure, I could just do entire harper chains for 3 commendations as end reward, thus 3 restore potions, but that’s a lot of running content for what amount to 3 potions. And those 3 potions are done and done before you even run half the raid.

The worst feeling by far was running my Arti. The repeater is not strong enough to do much damage, running on draconic using fire felt weak and the rune arm, the force based one from the first MOTU chain is weak. I’m sure if I ever pull the rune arm from the raid it’ll be better, but right now it feels just like I’m adding little to nothing other than a few buffs. There’s something to be said about the current state of Arti DPS and a lot of it has to do with Destinies that offer secondary buffs at best but nothing to the primary features such as rune arm.

So how is the raid?

Well, first off it’s pure chaos. A good caster can cut the chaos down by controlling beholders through stoning. In fact stoning seems to be the ‘best’ way to control trash. But the HP damage from the ‘mark of death’ clouds and the re-spawning of these elements makes the raid mostly chaos. It’s very little things to control and sometimes it’s quick because you have people who know the raid inside and out and add terrific DPS and othertimes you end up wasting gobs of resources because it’s pure chaos without anything controlling the situation.

Second – the inferno is idiotic. I loath terrible mechanics. Ideally this is meant to be handled by someone creating a ‘island’ in the deadly water where people stand on. But that’s near impossible since there’s no significant control. It’s not that it’s terrible because of the effect, but it’s terrible because the graphics of the inferno will reach almost all the way to the platform edge and even if it seems like you stand in a spot where it’s not you still get hit. But the worst part isn’t the fire damage. It’s the terrible and quite frankly idiotic spell point drain.

I get it in games where you regenerate SP, that would be a tactical part of negating some of the strength of casters. But in the case of DDO with limited blue bar, it’s idiotic. Let me say this again; it’s dumb. Idiotic. Loathsome and completely silly. Because of the way inferno works and how you can’t seem to find a good safe spot (listen to this silly thing; the safe spot is where the ranged shooters respawn BUT only when they’re alive, if they’re killed but the corpse remain for a bit it’s NOT a safe spot anymore). So on EN you get ticked for 200 SP or so per tick and if you don’t remove curses (use curse pot) once or twice to remove the inferno effect you keep taking damage and spell drain.

I hate it. It’s a strong word but when you don’t control things, when these things depend on a arbitrary safe spot based on ALIVE shooters and not something that was killed say 5 seconds ago the idea of safe spots and inferno turns into just an idiotic feature to punish people for something mostly outside their control. And I don’t like that. If you cannot tactically control it, if these effects adds punishing features like spell drain while doing so with terrible visual mechanics you get chaos. No control, all greifing. Like in MOTU. The idea of hiding behind pillars to avoid spell drain don’t work. Adding spell drain where in Elite you get drained for THOUSANDS of spell point you add a feature that’s PURE nonsense. I’m emphasizing these things because it’s important.

If a developer want to add these features they also need to add clear ways of avoiding it. If their mechanics don’t allow this then the effect just feels like a slap in the face. So so far I’ve wasted resources on almost all my guys. That means pots used for no other reason than having no recourse to avoid it. And that’s not fun; that’s not even a challenge. That’s pure spite because Turbine can’t provide a clear visual effect of the effected area.

Add to that beholders, mark of death, quells and then inferno and there’s so much chaos that I just don’t want to consider doing it on EH or EE. If it’s this chaotic and uncontrollable on EN we know that it’s even worse on EH and EE. To me a raid should always be about controlling features. And once you add to many arbitrary and random events you destroy cohesion and it turns into a resource waste. Which brings me to the worst part of the raid.

Extremely low drop rate. You will not see a named item drop. If you do it’s almost a miracle or about ONCE every dozen runs. The drop rates are so abysmal that you’re better of just dropping through 20th runs for that full list on your 20th. You will most likely not see any named items during those 20. Turbine might now have had in mind that people should use raid timers to get to 20th as quickly as possible, but by keeping it this low they only encourage people to raid time themselves to their 20th. Which means a lot of people will spend the first 2-3 weeks doing the content over and over and the long term viability of the raid is compromised since fewer and fewer good players will keep running it in the long run. You only have to look at the latest raids for the proof of this.

To me the ideal thing would be to change it to every 2 days with a chance to shorten it to 1 day using raid timers. So ideally you could run it once a day on the same toon. That would at least put the 20th 3 weeks out if a person ran it once a day. Plus add a realistic drop rate. Such as realistically 1 item per raid group for EN, 2-3 for EH and 3-4 for EE. That means that over the course of those 20 runs here is a chance that you pull or get to roll on an item even if you do EN. So spacing out how often you can do the raid gets combined with a slightly higher chance of pulling one, making the 20 runs (or 40) or of a premium time rather then just a go between 1 to 20 for a full list.

I’d love for Turbine to get rid of spell drain completely. Especially when there’s little to no control. It doesn’t belong in a game with finite resources. It’s boring enough to control your resources in chaos, it just gets frustrating to have to drink potions because you can’t find a safe spot in the chaos due to the fact you stand on a older dead body and not a fresh one. Again, bad mechanics that makes no sense whatsoever. And since there’s not time enough or coordination enough to create those islands like you should because it’s so disconnected – you end up with these situations.

I just can’t find it in my heart to like bad mechanics and arbitrary features. I like challenge; but chaos is not challenge. It’s just a question of how many resources you’re will to waste to get what you want. Which at this time seems to be another raid done towards 20.

Finally; I like the raid (okay). It’s shorter – it removes silly puzzles to adds time sinks and there’s not a slow moment. I’ve already explained what I don’t like. So I keep playing it – because for that time you’re in there you will be doing stuff. Not just stand around while someone do the mirrors or jump all over the place for some idiotic puzzle. Or on off gravity. I just don’t care for that nonsense. Raids can have slight things; but should be about BIG fights with BIG bosses. About 12 people coming together to do BIG things. Not stand in a circle waiting for the the light to turn green.

Some like that stuff; I find it banal.


One thought on “Mark of Death

  1. erdrique

    I haven’t had a chance yet to experience the new raid but definitely not looking forward to spell point drains. Then again, I haven’t been in the raid scene for a long time and don’t have any immediate plans to re-enter. Hopefully that mechanic will be modified to allow you to avoid the spell point drain by the time I get back into raiding. Definitely a nice write up!


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