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.


4 thoughts on “Re-growing up Iconic

  1. Tholgrin

    I feel your pain.. I recently TR’ed a cleric I dubbed as “confused” because it seemed like you were either a healbot OR damage-dealer.. and the healing investment is huge by comparison. Now he’s a favored soul melee and I feel much more comfortable in his shoes.

    1. patang01 Post author

      You are so right; with FvS I never felt like I had to put everything in one bucket, but in reality the one main spell casting tree works beautifully for the needs. With Cleric you sorta want to be ‘both’ because no one wants to be pure healbot, but adding enough DPS to matter or adding the type of heals that makes it strong is a all or nothing deal. The tough choice it felt was a matter of being competent in something as suppose to diverse in a role.

      1. Tholgrin

        That, and I’m not sure why, but flavored poles never seem to be hurting for melee DPS the same way clerics do. Or maybe that’s just mine.. I’m not sure. But even built the same way up the Warpriest line, my clerics never hit quite as hard. It’s sad, really. :-/

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