Monthly Archives: February 2015


I like clumsy headlines. Sure, clickbait maybe or just the weird way my brain works. (If I wanted clickbait I would add a list and a off the wall image – like 10 ways your B sword is sexy and then a image of a half naked barbarian chick holding a longsword…I know, ironic).

I don’t mind tactical feats. The last post was more about the tedious nature of tactical feats when pure DPS always seem to melt stuff away. Now I know tactical feats are a gods end at times when soloing. Because many times I’ll experience something much worse when soloing with pure DPS. Like the other night. My pure bladeforged pally do not have 1 single tactical feat to his name. Not one. First – Pally’s are feat starved. They’re also sorta enhancement point starved. Especially when ‘cleaves’ are now on a enhancement level as an alternative to using feat. So the trade off not only fixes the ‘feat’ starvation. But instead ‘eats’ up enhancement points. I don’t mind the trade off, but it makes it uniquely hard do wither or. Not without a sacrifice of purpose.

And that’s fine; a lousy tactical feat is worthless in the context of higher difficulty anyways. I tried that last life with a half hearted attempt to using stunning blow. Turns out that it only worked somewhat in Normal and not at all in anything else. And that’s a waste of feat and a waste of gear or whatnot to invest in.

Both my vanguard and my pure pally have recently done Giant hold quests. Specifically Madstone.

First – It was tedious with my Vanguard – doing it around level 24 or 25. I didn’t have my better shield or weapon, but a solid investment in stunning and trip. Mainly by using the Blademark Docent and a seal from MOTU with +10 stunning. Add that to Tactical DC from Bladeforged class, Kensei and Legendary. He also has the level 24 challenge cloak with more tactical DC.

It might still not be good enough for EE but on EH it works. Of course the giant skellies can only be dealth with using improved trip and the stunning shield and they won’t stay down long – so there I had a clear problem with DPS since my vanguard didn’t have fort. pen nor a very good weapon against undead. But with an okay amount of PRR and MRR it worked. Most other creatures could be stunned and giant skellies could be tripped. In that particular case and no matter how tedious it was to constantly hit the buttons it worked and I finished each quest in Giant Hold without lots of ‘dead’ hirelings.

Contrast that with my pure pally. We’re talking about 1k hits with crits and 3k crits with working blitz and smites. Yes things died so quickly (hirelings) because it lacked the fundamental of being able to neutralize some threads while dealing with others. Meaning, trip or stuns. And that’s naturally where my ‘in between’ comes in. My Pure halforc kensei fighter. With improved trips and stunning blow.

See, what makes vanguard somewhat tedious is not the many use of tactical feats. It is what makes that class good; it is that it’s a little bit too much. Improved trip, stunning blow, stunning shield and shield smash. Add to that cleave, greater cleave and the 2 cleaves out of Legendary. You’re basically murdering your wrist trying to hit all the cool downs in order to stay viable destruction wise and use the full extent of the vanguard features.

It’s click overload. Compare that to my Pally. 3 cleave like clicks and smite. Accomplishing more DPS in fewer maneuvers. With my pure kensei it is cleaves, trip and stunning blow. Far less and DPS a step under my pure pally. And the sad part is that in EE my vanguard can use tactical feats until the cows comes home and it won’t be as effective. While my pally and kensei given enough heals will still shine.

So my complaint; if there is such a thing is that tactical feats are nice, but until Turbine ‘sharpens’ the edge on them and makes them fully viable in the highest difficulty it will be more exhausting to use them, then it’s worth in the final dps tally.

My suggestion is to make them more viable given a solid investment and to maybe add something a little extra to them. If you’re going to murder your wrist using them, then allow the tactical feat to actually mean something more. Add a little but more DPS to the one doing the stunning and tripping. Add additional effects. Like maybe a chance to vorpal. Because you stunned the creature and you’re about to follow up with a head chopper.


It’s hard to like tactical feats

I do like them. I like tactics. The idea of using tactical feats to neutralize the threat of champions is a good one. I like it. And there’s something satisfying about tripping a spider or earth elemental and to stun something big and nasty with the edge of the shield.

But lets be honest here; it’s tedious. You’re talking about worrying about a lot more cooldowns, a lot more combinations than swinging a weapon until stuff obliterates. The comparison is pretty stark when I play my pure Bladeforged 2 handed fighting Pally or my 2 Pally 18 Fighter Vanguard fighter. One can actually trip and stun; and hit for upward to 500 or even slightly more on a good day.

The other can’t trip or stun at all but can can multiple critters into puddles with massive damaging hits. Like a smite hitting for more than 2k. Yes – the stun and trip neutralizes incoming hits – but it takes much longer to shave HP rather than as my pure pally – obliterate them. And while tactical feats are nice, taking down orange named as easy as knocking the feat from under many legged creatures, my pure Pally will spend far less time hacking things into ribbons.

So as the title says; using tactical feats gets a little tedious since they’re only good for the normal and hard level and many times fails on hard despite heavy investments where as LOTS of DPS never failed once.

I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe increase stun extra damage to 75% and trip damage to 25%. Maybe make tactical feats fully functional in EE too – just to offer that one play style a genuine home. Otherwise it’ll be as I experienced this weekend running EE Web of Chaos with a group. The Swashbuckler+barbarian build plus the ranged guy hitting for 7k kept slaughtering big gobs of creatures while I did my ‘stun’ and ‘trip’ thing, connecting now and then. They cleared rooms while I stunned and smacked ONE guy.

See I’m not worrying about kill score; but it underscores the issues of being the ‘tactical fighter’ compared to someone that makes entire mobs go away on almost less time.

BTW – the image is from Belly of the Beast, looking up once you falls through the ground. Above, top of picture there are a bunch of chests from champions. Some I could open, others I couldn’t since all of them spawned IN the ground.

There’s currently a debate going on in the Forum where people object to the remnants dropping expiring after 3 minutes. This is to stop people from multi-boxing and holding a session open and allowing others to run through and pick up remnants. I’m okay with that. To me the larger problem is how chests spawns – many times inside walls, too high or in the ground. Denying you a chest that might’ve been hard fought due to maybe running on EE.

In a perfect world these remnants would be auto collected like individual shards on the old Epics. Or the chests auto placed in your inventory just as they’re done with Cannith Challenges. I don’t know if that requires a lot more coding but it would be the best solution to these issues.

Hitting 21, running Sentinel and partial Carnival on EH

Doing heroic Elite, from 15 to 20 taught me something.

First – the idea that you can use tactical feats to deal with Champions is simply not true. Tactical feats ‘work’ but not reliably. What it also taught me was that most of the time it’s not worth it. Sure – if you don’t mind the big chunk of XP and the fact that it adds an extra challenge, it also comes with wasting a lot more time. Sometimes twice the amount of time. Ideally you run these quests with a group – but I soloed and I did so because I didn’t have time (ironically) to wait for a group to fill to run the content I wanted to run. And in turn ended up taking twice as long to complete.

The reality is that I should have contended myself with doing it all on Hard and just moved on. Sure – I have to do a few more quests to hit 20 but if the idea is to take twice as long I could just fit a few more quests in during the same time frame and not wasted time and resources just for the experiment.

Now if I had a semi permanent group of friends to run with this would be totally different. So that’s why I’m doing EH now and spare me to pain.

Now to further illustrate the issue with the idea of ‘defeating’ champions with ‘tactical feat’ I can tell you this. On Elite most of the tactical feats will fail. It’s downright dangerous to depend on that tactic when the best is simply to clobber something in the least amount of time. That’s the irony. But even on EH this represent a challenge. Especially between 20 and 21 before I had the use of the +10 stunning seal. Most of the trips landed – and that’s because the Blademark Docent adds an excellent +15 to Vertigo, but stunning just didn’t do so well. And that’s despite having max benefit of Bladeforged, Kensei, Vanguard AND Legendary. Thats A LOT of bonuses to stunning. (and a fair amount of strength of course). It was not until I added the +10 that I started seeing above average stunning successes.

Now that’s now – and the pinnacle of my stunning ability. First off; the best gear will be the boots with +12. That’s level 27. So between the docent and the ring, that’s it gear wise. I can add 1 more feat – an Epic that adds +1 stacking. I can triple TR fighter for +3. I can add some more strength; +1 exceptional and up to +11 and +4 insightful. That amounts to right now +3 more points. So at level 28 I could have about +5 or 6ish more to beat monsters with. Now anyone that have seen the explosion in CR between 20 and 30 knows just of miniscule that amount is.

Note – this is ONE stated important tactic to use against Epic Elite Champions.

Tactical feats. And why I’m downgrading myself to Epic Hard because I know that Turbine is simply blind to their own poorly implemented mechanic. Now if there was a realistic and gradual improvement of tactical feats that kept them relevant against high level Epic Elite critters – then yes. But no, it doesn’t. And to make things further complicated, some don’t even care. Take the orange named creatures in Epic Fleshmakers.

You can use any tactical feat on them and they won’t even blink. That was back when the DC calc for tactical feats was borked and it was REALLY hard to fail. Back then I was running on my Purple knight and he only had regular trip to use. It worked like a charm. Now when that bug is fixed you’re completely screwed (as if that really matters against these orange named anyways). And that’s the issue.

I gave an example before when I ran heroic Elite trackers trap. When almost all Shadar Kai in the end were champions and because of the borked DC on the tactical feats it was the reason I could at least survive. Because my regular trip worked when the stuns kept failing (with BORKED DC).

The point I’m making is this; the problem with champions are not that they don’t add a challenge. It is that every excuse given – and most prominently that one about ‘take it a little slower and use tactics’ doesn’t work. Because the arbitrary random ‘champion’ system is ultimately ontop of an already broken mechanic. Which is tactical feats. And if Turbine want to force champions on people they should at least make the remedy to deal with champions viable.

So for now I’m doing EH – and it doesn’t bother me at all but it is a pity that playing a tactical built is still not 100 percent viable.

Hitting 20, just in time for the extended weekend to end

I was sick as a dog, starting with a scratchy throat on Friday and ended on Monday sneezing, coughing and running through one tissue after another. But I had my goal set on IR my current Purple knight 2 Fighter/18 Pally to the 2 Pally/18 Fighter Bladeforged.

Mind you; I like the Purple Knight setup with all Charisma damage. It worked fine. But in a world of Champions and a good solid need for tactical feats (when you don’t group you solo, and if you solo then sometimes it’s better to use tactical feats than maximum DPS and be real squishy).

My first chain was Gianthold; all of it including TOR (except the maze one – yes I know that the really good players knows how to solo it but I don’t have time nor interest in learning it).

It’s good XP, fairly quick runs and nothing that caused a lot of consternation. I did do a few other quests here and there but the 2nd full chain was Vale. All of the quests. On Elite.

Dust was the most hair raising. Partly because I was using the level 18 sorc hireling for it’s FoD (yes, I decided to use a hirelings ability hoping it had an okay DC since I didn’t want my glancing blows from the B-sword to kill spiders).

The toughest quest was Running with Devils. It’s nar impossible to land good tactical feats on those guys. And I had a maxed out Stunning Shield, improved trip and Stunning blow. All under the Vanguard, Kensei and Bladeforged racial tree. And this highlights once more the silliness of Turbine creating the Champion system and later on explaining that this should drive people to use tactical feats instead.

Trust me – I’ve used tactical feats from since before when it was never in the vogue and I always try to maximize my characters to use it, but once you hit upper Elites and EE it’s often time a waste of time.

The image BTW is from when I did the Wheloon Chain. That’s the assassin quest and from the beam position. Gnawing HPs away from the end boss since he’s impossible to fight using regular tactics.

The 3 choices are; beam position and quite boring. Kiting and shooting. It’s a sad statement about the quest when this tactic is the preferred one. You can also have so much fort that even the boss can’t pen it. It worked once when I had over 200% in fort. He kept swinging and other than the odd cocoon I just stood there and smacked him with little damage in return.

The final chain, and what put me over the top was the high road. That final fight on Elite can be tough. Lots of fire damage and getting flung across the map and impaled on the sharp stakes will dig some HP out of you. And once I got that one done I popped over 20 and I’m not ready for EHs across the board.

The difference with this build is that I’m going full tactical feats with maximum gear choices. Like the Blademark docent with it’s +15 vertigo. I’ll add a seal with +10 stunning at 21 and it’ll be the mainstay until I can start using the boots from Epic Macabre. Ideally I’d like a fully upgraded Alchemical Tower shield with the +10 stunning for tier 1. But that’s dreaming considering that this raid is even deader than CITW. I would also love to pull the CITW B-sword for this guy, but that’s unlikely.

Shh, don’t tell anyone

I don’t mind Champions. It’s easy to forget in our black and white ‘words matter’ world, where induvidual words mean more than actual context, that I’ve never objected against the idea of Champions.

In fact I think I always add something similar too ‘the idea is interesting’ as a caveat. Partly because I see Champions as an interesting addition to higher difficulty but object to the fact that in most cases it doesn’t add a higher difficulty, just spikes in arbitrary events. None which adds ‘WOW that was cool’ and more ‘What just happened?’. But I still think it can be interested.

So far my main complaints is that they’re either too arbitrary or inconsequential. It’s silly to have champion black puddings but never object to orange named champions (which should be champions to begin with). And up until recently there was no real reason to fight these. That the entire process felt unrewarding. That is, until the latest updates/patches that adds mystic fragments and turn in for unique rewards.

But ultimately I’m a loot whore. I know that the word is not nice, but I don’t find any reason to PC it when I know that I’m a complete sell out for the idea of opening chests. But if we step away from ‘that word’ and focus on specifics – I really like Haunted Halls. I liked it before; but now on EH it’s FUN. Sure, I end up walking away with 60k worth of vendor trash, but seeing those 5-6 chests float around waiting to be open fills me with happy feelings.

And it’s everywhere. First when you enter the quest there’s a hidden room with 4 or 5 orange named casters. All of whom can be champions. Terrific. Then there are the orange named casters in the undead area. Nice. Sure, it gets hairy with waves of zombies but despite that I usually get about 3-4 chests out of it. The Kobold area is not as ‘giving’ but there is at least one chest there.

Then there’s the main throne room with 6-7 of those armored horrors. All of whom are orange named and you get about 2-3 chests there. If you do the extended there will be a room to the side of the throne room with 3 horrors and 2 casters I think. All which are orange named.

Now I sometimes do the side bosses. But generally only the Mummy. And only because it’s waves after waves of orange named skellies that pop up to help the boss and you’ll get about 4-5 chests out of it in the end.

I prefer to do this on my Arti. Partly because there are hidden doors to find and stuff but also because he has unlimited ‘beat you up’ hurt through his rune arm (from the Mark of Death Raid). But you can easily do this with say a caster for overall DPS and why not a trusted Pally if you can find all the relevant door and hidden openings.

The few areas I avoid and certainly not because I can’t do them are the huge skellie boss, the electric statue boss and the end dragon. These are LONG undertakings and especially for my non evasive arty. First off it’s almost impossible for your hirelings to take agro with the skellie boss on EH. You can do it on normal, but then you won’t run into champions. And if you can’t have your hirelings take agro you can’t pull the spear.

I also don’t do the statue. It takes forever. Even with 1k hits with run arm and 3-6k hits with ruin. Because between each hit you need to let the electric stack run out as you run in circles avoiding combat. Last time it took 30 minutes. So boring.

And it’s the same issue with the dragon; just hectic tho. It’ll chase you, slap you down and mangle you silly – while knocking things over and releasing more stuff to hurt. Now both the statue and the end dragon have the best items in their chests. The dragon can have any of them and the statue has the necklace with +4 insightful CON and DEX. But I just can’t stomach spending 1.30 in a quest just for a few more quests and a pathetic chance to pull that item.

Anyways, I do wish Turbine could add a few more things to the loot list tho. You used to be able to get tomes and stuff but it’s so infrequent now that you think they really adjusted those drop rates considering this is probably the most profitable area in their store. And that’s unfortunate. And who knows, maybe one day I will have so many fragments that if they do add something interesting I might even be able to get it.