Monthly Archives: March 2015

I miss Cannith Challenges

It used to be a staple quest run for me every new ER and TR (and now IR). Not only for turning them into tokens and potions and sometimes even items. But for that first time XP or just having a bunch stored for future use. But with the hireling fiasco and no news if that will ever be fixed I haven’t run Cannith challenges more than maybe 2-5 times since the hirelings broke and that’s a long while indeed.
What makes this worse is that I see so many occasions where I’d love to have a bunch of those items, if not the tier 2 level 15 ones to use for Iconic reincarnations, but also some early level 20 ones for ERs. I have a bunch but all the epic ones get BTC and I wish that was not the case.

If there was ever a change to anything challenge wise I’d wish they made all of the different events items and challenge items completely BTA. Make all materials unbound so people can sell them in the auction house, but make all items BTA. And Fix hirelings.
This stems particularly for my need for the bracers (this time). Or I’d love to get a stab at a repeater. Or 2 khopeshes. Or that greataxe. Those items are a little harder to make (or at least grindier) since they require the island challenges and they’re even borked WITH functioning hirelings (and moreso without). The problem there is entirely design. You have to run them EARLY levels in order to get something but the third one is way to short, and require way to might timed coordination and you get barely a 100 each time. That is if you get any. Because you have to have close to a perfect run to get anything – and the profit segment – when you actually start making mats for yourself will be a matter of maybe a minute or so once you get things upgraded. Forget trying to do this closer to 20 since no amount of turrets you out down scale well enough to deal with the Orthons and devils swarming the devices.
And forget about repairing them.
You could do this with your caster but the fraction you repair is time taken away from clearing creatures from other attacked extractors.

The idea, the challenge was an interesting one, but it’s doomed as a ‘tower defense’ type challenge by the fact that the closer you get to 20 and for that matters ‘epic’ levels the more irrelevant the turrets become. So that’s why you run these quests on early level where Turrets scale better and you have more time. I doubt Turbine will take a time and look at these and do something about it.

Another thing is simply the awkward and silly idea of only allowing you to run these quests at specific level caps. Like some you can only play at 15, some at 12 and others cap out at 15. I don’t know who thought up this nonsense. And the Epic ones cap at 25 while the Eveningstar challenges run from 15 to 30 I believe. It’s silly and not very useful. I just don’t get why that is. In a perfect world all of them would scale from 1 to 30, just as it does with Crystal Cove. That’s how it should be. Conversely, here’s an idea. Make it scale 1 to 30 for people who are either VIP or OWN the content. For everyone else, using the once a day free universal token it can continue scale the way it does.
That would make it an incentive to either buy or go VIP and it would be a lot useful over all.
And FIX hirelings.

Ascend to dissent

No good argument can ever be brewed in the tankard of intellectual brooding unless it comes with dissent. And while I generally don’t feel that a blog format is perfect for re-litigating my brain farts, I don’t mind providing a counter argument.

So I found a comment to a previous post about making the Mimic hunt permanent, one that this blog format had to make me approve. One of the reason why it didn’t show up right away

I don’t like the mimic event. There are several problems with it:
1. It’s not standalone.
All events we had so far, take place in dedicated area (cove, mabar) or in modified public area (risia, midwinter, mabar).
Look at the laggy but purpose crafted summoning chamber of mabar, and a cute dragon. What new content does mimic event bring? No area, not even new monsters!
Mimic hunt takes place everywhere, and you can’t opt out of it (even if you do, someone in your party may not, leading to angst moments).

I can understand that one feature of the opt out, is the fact that other party members will still automatically opt you in. I don’t think there’s a good way around it to be honest. It’s one small issue with what otherwise makes this entirely optional. Unlike ‘champions’ that are either a question of running everything on casual or normal or having to ‘suffer them’. In that respect I think Mimics are perfect (even with that small flaw). You can ‘turn it off’ or you can leave it on.

2. Unpredictable rewards, lot of grind.
I may have been spoiled by mabar, where you could get a +5 tome by spending ~1h for 3 evenings. But in most events the rewards are pretty predicatble – you are guaranted to get from x to y ingredients per hour, that you can turn into useful stuff. In mimic hunt, you have random chance to spawn mimic from chest, then random chance to get an useful card, and given the amount of combinations you are only guaranted to spend several days to ever see the cards IX and X.
As a bonus, you will get a ton of cards that combine into lv 4 docent, that of course you can’t use on you lv 28 human cleric. Anniversary cards at least had useful stuff from any combination.

I agree. I find the turn in motes for random cards overly complicated and quite frankly nonsensical. It’s one thing to have a daily roll of ‘cards’ like in the previous anniversary but to have another form of collection, motes, and THEN turn in for cards just feels silly. That’s way too much grind. Note – I never turned anything in. Other then maybe picking up another tome I didn’t feel that I needed anything from the list of items that I hadn’t already created during the Mabar events and 1 potion for having to collect that many motes and pull the correct cards is just pure nonsense. But my suggestion of making it permanent is not to continue collecting motes for those rewards. I want to remove the cards entirely and I don’t want those items either.

No my idea is to lower proc chance for Mimic, still collect mote and turn in mote over time for interesting rewards. And idea I had was to after collecting 1000 motes you can pick to randomly get an item or shard form any of the old and now non playing raids. Meaning lets say you have 5 choices. Sands, Cannith Manufactury, CITW etc. after 1000 motes you turn them in for one choice. The list should be concentrated in such a way that you at least have a chance to get something okay. So for Sands that would be items or Epic shards, so that you can finally make that one rare item you always wanted. For Cannith it can be items or spirits – making it possible to upgrade your item. For CITW items or comms.

Now that’s just an idea. There can be other choices too, but the idea is to add a longterm goal for a ‘nice’ reward just for including the Mimic encounter to your game play. But no, I don’t want cards and I don’t want old Mabar loot. That’s just not enticing. Plus I do want there to be some kind of overlevel flag. This shouldn’t become a gimmick of level 28 chars doing level 4 quests over and over. That to me defeats the purpose.

3. Mimics are annoying to low level/unprepared.
It’s not funny when you finally finish the boss, having 5 hp left, then open a chest, that turns into mimic who hits you with slowdown and acid burn effect stronger than in quests 10 levels higher.

I agree. The good is that you can opt out. But this should be reserved for a slightly higher level quests, maybe level 7 and above where hirelings or such have at least Resurrection. And maybe not for endchests. I’m all for reasonable balance in everything and I don’t think that acid spewing Mimics are suitable for low level toons. And why I’m against champions on low levels. I’d say the first 10. We want people to get a slow but steady introduction to DDO and not just ambush them with burger king crowned spiders and rats and acid spewing chests.

Thanks for your input.

Re-growing up Iconic

My first toon that I ever made was Kuulun. A Favored Soul. I bought the class before I unlocked it. I don’t know why I wanted a Favored Soul or for that matter why not just something with a big stick like the ‘free’ fighter. But safe to say I had to TR it in order to fix some nonsense. Like adding dex and strength, and not lots of Charisma, Con and Wisdom. And that was before the change to 2 weapon fighting where I spent tons of time running Shroud to make 2 greensteel rapiers, use them briefly until 2 weapon fighting was changed so you needed feats for off hand procs. It has been a favored soul through 2 TRs and a few lesser.

Until this weekend when I suddenly got the idea that I wanted to try out an iconic. I have thought about it before. So much so that I cleared out bank inventory and the TR cache. But never did it. But suddenly after playing around with 3-4 melee I got so bored by smacking things in the face that I TR’d him into a Morninglord. And have played around with him for a few days now with mixed result.

I do miss the wings and my little lit up lazor globe. But otherwise there are some few noteworthy differences.

Favored soul and Cleric share one enhancement tree and the ‘basic’ difference of comparing Wizards and Sorcerers. Favored souls (and sorcerers) get fewer spells but more bang (and the SP pool to go with it). In turn Wiz and cleric gets less SP but more spell like abilities. Altho the comparison seems wonky you’ll be more busy using more abilities with Wiz and cleric than with Sorc and FvS. And you’ll be less intimidated in using lots of stuff that blows up when playing sorc and FvS compared to Wiz and Cleric, mostly because of the much smaller SP pool.

And it’s difference I can appreciate. The basics of clerics is either a specialization of healing or one of doing lots of light damage. Radiant servant offers lots of forms of removal of negative effects and ways to heal including both a ‘healing’ aura and bursts. Where as Divine Disciple offers spell like abilities, either negative or positive energy and even universal which helps fire based spells (and of course the untyped blade barrier). Ontop of that Divine Disciple also adds several core enhancements that adds specific spells to the spell book – these are not spell like abilities but they’re definitely ‘juiced up’ in respect in addition to the spell like abilities.

I’m not saying something new here of course but it is an interesting parallel to the arcane sphere, where the ones that have the diversity of spells also have the least resources and the ones who have the least diversity of spells get the most SP to fire it off with.

To my end I’m blessed with the fact that I have since the very beginning collected lots of stuff, such as many different greensteel items. From bracers with extra spell points and heavy fortification to gloves with healing properties, HP and con op to a scepter with heal amp and more con op. Add to that the heroic torc, another great item for gaining spell points.

This comes mostly from back when 20 was it and I liked to run out through Vale and Shavarath completely solo. This was rough country for a caster only type and especially before the enhancement pass and spell like abilities (not that Favored Souls have that many). Back then blade barriers were not considered kinetic and impulse for crits and lore so there was no good way to boost the damage (or for that matter cometfall) without use of maximize and Empower on all the time.

So I figured that if I wanted to do some stuff without using a shrine or for that matter being able to make it to the next shrine I needed some way of ‘dynamo’ up. I’ve mentioned this before but it was a long time ago.

It seems to me however that all 3 are required for a sustainable effect, in fact it’s ‘doable’ or useful with only the torc. With torc and 2 con op you get a SP income that is reliable. With only 1 item or only the 2 con op it’s almost not worth it. Now it’s hard to explain ‘not worth it’ when something is always better than nothing, but in the land of gear slots and combinations, having one item take up a gear slot for the off chance of a trickle of SP (say taking 10 hits for 20-30 SP after wasting hundreds in the same time period) isn’t a good trade off. And that’s typical of what Epic is so fundamentally different from Heroic. Not only are you dealing with HP bloat but also greater damage. The SP needed to deal with that – either to heal or destroy is much greater.

So for gear purposes adding an item that can do one of those functions better (add to healing or destruction) will certainly be more important then a dribble of SP here and there. In Heroic the trade off is less of an issue. Critters are appropriately ‘frail’ for the investment in SP. The benefit of say the GS con op item, be it as my gloves – more HP or my scepter, lots of heal amp – is worth the gear slot. Partly because the only items I need is radiance for light damage, combustion for fire damage and devotion for healing. Kinetic is nice to have, but kiting creatures through BB is ‘worth’ not using a super boosted item in heroics since hitting for 100+ in damage takes about as much time to destroy heroic critters as a boosted 300-400 in damage does for Epics.

The nice thing about the Morninglord is that it comes with those items for fire, devotion and light damage. You’re already ahead of the game. Combine that with saved GS items that adds gobs more SP and HP and even ways to ‘get back SP’ and you’re off to a golden start.

Now comparing one style against another is always awkward. Because ultimately it comes down to how you like your eggs done. But one thing that should be said about divines is that it’ll always cost a divine a little bit more to accomplish what arcanes does so much better.

Here’s the thing; on one extreme you have sorc and dps. The cost of adding destruction – with sorcs getting twice as much SP (like FvS) from items and generally has a larger pool of SP and many ways to boost primary elements makes the DPS per SP a much more ‘economical’ expenditure. In other words; you can afford to splurge and the splurging pays dividents. Wiz is a little different, but wizards also have an array of crowd control along with spell like abilities that provides a much better use of SP and carnage.

Divines don’t have CC – they have for most part raw power on a singular level and a few medium AOEs. Not even when using draconic with energy bursts and dragon breath can they truly compete with a sorc using the same destiny. And that becomes clear when you start using a cleric and that unlike the FvS that has a few spells and a greater room to boost those with Maximize and Empower, doing the same with a cleric usually leaves you dry in no time.

It’s the wiz dilemma, but with an even worse SP to destruction ratio. And that is why boosting your one shot abilities are so important. Such as destruction and implosion. Arcanes have a lot more insta killing stuff – like DoD, WoB and PF. For outsiders they can banish using several spells. In addition they have lots of firepower, from the raw to the subtle with several dots.

Divines get 1 dot, the get the ability to banish and they 2 specific insta kill stuff. Destruction and implosion – implosion being perhaps the singularly most awesome spell in their arsenal. Not only because it can destroy up to 6 creatures (1 every second I do believe), but because it can be used against a lot more different creatures than say the arcanes WoB. Such as undead. The cleric, to me at least, gets the better straw here.

FvS have to divide their ability points between more sources than clerics. In essence, Charisma for spell points, Wisdom for DC and of course constitution for HP. Those are the essential abilities. And if you’re into melee then you need to add strength as well. Clerics, and the spell casting one, only need Wis and Con. Wis for spell points (fewer but still) and DC.

The importance here is therefor to maximize the impact of implosion and destruction, because this also means better use of SP. I decided therefore to invest enough into one tree to be able to do radiant bursts – using turn undeads (and later on twisting in the crusader tier 1 that provides ‘unlimited’ ones with a 30% quicker regeneration), for burst healing. It’s quicker and more effective than using ‘slower’ mass heals. Plus it also, like heals, gets rid of stat damage. On the offensive side I invested heavily in light and universal damage with lots of spell like abilities. Unfortunately I’m not entirely too happy with that.

If you have ever played a sorc, or for that matter a Wiz, you get a sense of good power to investment ratio using the spell like abilities. Spells FEEL appropriately destructive. It is fully possible for example to do 1k damage hits with an acid burst with a reasonable cooldown period in between. And it’ll hit several creatures too.

Using the light or fire based cleric spell like abilities doesn’t. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but firing off say searing light, even fully boosted just feels ‘puny’. Sure, you get a good 300 light damage hit, but for the same expenditure you’d double that with a sorc. So that makes it feel like the best ‘source’ for destructibility are implosions. And the sad part of course is that if you play hard or elite (heroic) most of the champions will have death ward – and that’s very frustrating when a tiny little champion rat or spider takes a third of your HP in turn and you can’t even use implosions to rid yourself of them and instead have to gnaw HP bloat with dinky nimbus light spell like abilities.

That’s not to say that clerics are bad; to me the implosion and destruction feels like a better investment with clerics. The enhancement points and the feats you chose to make those spells great or for that matter ability points, feels appropriately ‘direct’. Add some suitable gear and every point you add towards them seem to matter. That was never true with FvS. There investing in DPS seemed like a better investment with maybe implosion and destruction secondary. And now hitting level 23 with 24 not far away I can start using EGH gear with good augment slots. Making it easier to add investments in specific focus as well as finding even random scepters and such that provides a good boost to impulse, combustion and radiance. I even have some old saved rings with spell power. Those are great. And that’s not to mention the many sources of ability boosts, be it insightful for wisdom or just plain wisdom on rings, bracers, cloaks etc and awesome armor like Blue dragon or even the many lower level MOTU items without augment slots.

And around 26 you can start using tier 2 thunderholm sticks, combining excellent focus and spell power with things like the ring out of haunted halls, or even the orb/book. All in all provided a constant boost to the clerics ability to continue keeping implosion and destruction together with lightbased spells sharp.

It’s going to be truly interesting to see how the cleric feels at 28 compared to the many years I’ve played my FvS. And it is an interesting ‘difference’ so far.

For the longest time I’ve been using the cap stone effect of ‘free cure light’. If you boost that one you can easily hit 70-170 HP. But now I use ‘bursts’. I start out with 24 and they regenerate, so there’s only been a few times when I ‘ran out’. Those hits for mid 100’s and all the way up to 300 per burst. Plus it damages undead and has a small AOE for healing allies. It’s been so useful that I seldom need heals or any other type of healing. With the Fvs I was constantly hitting myself with heals and such between cooldown.

I’m also curious about going ‘full’ or making a heavier investment in the healing tree. Especially with those auras that heals over time. Now that means a much heavier investment in that over the DPS one. And now you enter more of an healbot territory than DPS – sure – I bet you can still get some milage out of both trees but it seems like the cleric has more hard choices to make between their trees then some other classes I’ve played. One is almost entirely exclusive investment compared to the other. And that’s fine.

So we’ll see. I’m not at 28 yet and once I ER I might try the other for kicks, keep investing in implosions and perhaps even heavier in universal spell power and blade barriers and a solid heal aura.

Make the Mimic hunt permanent

Turbine have added many different events over the year. The first, and before my time was the devils invasion of the Marketplace and that later on was made into a raid via ‘time travel’. There was also some kind of climbing event in the asian server (vaguely remembering so I might be wrong).

The first event that I remember was Risia. Second Mabar. Later on when Eveningstar was added through MOTU we got Eveningstar winter games (or whatever it’s named) which is a different public spectacle unlike Risia but rolls out at the same time. Then we have Crystal Cove. Crystal Cove eventually lead to the Cannith challenges and also inspired Eveningstar challenges. Most of them with a similar theme.

The Mimic hunt comes as a result of Mabar adding so much lag to the servers (but lately Turbine have talked about bringing Mabar back in some way). The Mimic hunt is also a mix of the 8th anniversary system, mixing 2 random cards together for a reward, by turning in motes (a late addition to Mabar before they had to shut the event down).

So basically, when you look at all the events you realize how one part inspired the other and while some events comes and goes, parts of it is still a permanent staple of the DDO gameworld.

Now my suggestions is simply to keep the Mimic hunt. Maybe turn out the frenzy part off and just add a nice reward table based on Motes alone and not cards. No need to make the process convoluted in the long run. The reason is simple – it feels right. Running into Mimics is fun and surprising, and a far more eventful surprise than a bunch of black pudding champions. It feels like a reward; not only can chests that normally only hold keys and such be Mimics but anything – even end chests. Like the EH spinner that I did, where both chests at the end were part of a Mimic Frenzy going on. There I was, freshly done beating the Spinner and suddenly I had to deal with some Mimics.

Every time is a joy and in the long run I have the Motes to show for it. Just make that into a nice turn in.

Another event that can be made permanent is Crystal Cove. It’s separate from the public sphere and it’s more like a challenge anyways. I’d do it every life if I could and it would provide me with the opportunity to work up some of the gear but on my time table and not Turbines. I like the event; it just never runs when I feel like I have the interest or the time.