I hit 30 Saturday, turned around and reincarnated to a Warlock human life – did some Khortos Island quests and ate an Otto’s rock and hit 18. Then spent a few hours Sunday doing all Vale quests for the 20th.
I’m back to Warlock after 3 lives with 2 Gnome Wiz and one Gnome Arti. That finishes off my 3 Wiz lives and 1 Arti (for 3 Iconic Gnome). All in all more spell pen and +3 illusion DC with +15 Acid Spell power.
My hope is a more robust upper level spell pen if not I’m hitting FvS for 3 lives just to eek out more of it. At some point however it’s either do or bust because there’s nothing worse than playing upper level arcane without accomplishing much.
I must say that the Iconic Gnome Wiz was a pleasant experience. It’s hard to argue against dual PKs and the second time around it was even better.
And despite not having the best rune arm or best repeater, the Arti Gnome was pretty darn good. I had the grace of good BTA gear and such and even with a light repeater and the Gnomes light weapon specialist, it worked out quite nicely. So much so that I definitely going to reinc one of my Arti’s (my human) that have plenty of rune arms and repeaters. Even the good one; needle.
It’s odd to be back in Warlock but it’s familiar territory and now I even have a good PK for Epic Hard. I never used it before. But with 2 FOD (one SLA and one spell), one PK, one Devour the soul, One Power Word Kill, Circle of Death and WOB, there are plenty of insta killing features in his arsenal.
And of course a host of cheap average and SP free main attacks with a few other CC stuff such as tentacles and Web. I’d love a dancing ball, but then I have to try a different pact and I’m good with the acid one. Particularly since I have so many acid based items already.
I debated for a while if I would do another iconic and spare my Otto’s. I’d do a Purple Knight and was ready to blow away the one fighter level just to go pure (I like devour the soul so I don’t mind going pure). That would be perfect if I wanted to do some ES just for melee/caster combo. But I sorta wanted to use one of the new hair cuts and facial hears that both Gnome and Human gets.
I hope all races gets that treatment. New facial stuff just to diverse even more.
I used to have more pure fighters, but most of them are now the 2’s and such mixed in for effect. The only pure one I have is my vanguard, but I do have a 18/2 (pally) Bladeforged one. I mention this because of the Kensei pass and to see if there are any good reasons to invest deeper into the Kensei tree unlike before. And for sure it does.
At first blush Turbine have removed some of the monkish features that took up a huge portion of the tree. There are still some features there, but now it’s more of a general fighter with functional overtures to Monk – than strictly Monk based on being centered. Clearly a much better use of the tree overall.
The easiest way to describe the changes is that where Barbarian have survivability through temporary HP and often massive spike damage, Kensei is the type of tree that provide solid above average DPS deeply anchored in sustainability and tactics. And it still remains one of the most splashable classes and trees around.
Particularly now with stronger core features. Making the tree itself an easy 6 splash in many skirmish and DPS builds.
But Update 31 isn’t all about Kensei, eventho it’s a main class change – there are also 3 new F2P quests – both as heroics and Legendary. I mentioned 2 of them previously so I’m very curious about the third one. Hopefully it is as long and entertaining as the other two.
I hit 21 finishing off the demon in the pit in the final red fen quest. Up until that point the combination of acid rune arm and epic double crossbow worked.
Then comes red named bosses and things were not entirely up to code. The issue with the combo isn’t lack of okay DPS, it’s that arti’s don’t have that one thing. The big nuke. The sustained nuke. But they do have basic cc (tactical detonation), maybe a half okay boom (acid energy burst – twisted) and an array of simple things.
Heck, even PK works (Gnome iconic race feature) as long as you don’t run EE. And okay that it works situationally. In fact in combo with double crossbows neg level ability PK can go off more than enough. And if you manage to fit an okay illusion item into the mix you might even be half okay with it.
On EH it’s one of those 60-70 percent chance which is good enough.
Back in the day, before Epic levels, there was Shavaraths battlefield. The highest level quests with the top level wilderness. And I cut my teeth soloing there first with my FVS and later on my ranger and other toons. I had the path pat down. I hit all the explorer using a familiar loop and even did all the slayer at some point.
But since Eveningstar and all the new content I have not visited the area, unless the new Shavarath quests counts – but then you never have to run the wilderness to do them.
I had 1 bubble left and I had done most of the Eveningstar ones. To tell you the truth I was tired of doing the same harper stuff to eek out the final few levels. I’d done enough the past week to make me feel exhausted. Mostly because I don’t find them inspiring at all. And after hitting Wheelon and such the harper ones are dreary.
So I figured I try something else. And out to Shavarath wilderness I went – a perfect place to raid with an Arti because of the Li 2 GS repeater and the ability to add silver to the damage through Arti buffs.
I vaguely remembered how I normally did things but once you start running muscle memory took over and soon enough I had hit all the vital spots, done 4 rare out of 12, all 14 explorer and tallied up almost 600 slayer. And as I did the final pit fiend – the devil that can snare you with chains (see image) I hit 20 and after looting the chest I was out of there.
It was fun to reminisce over things that were. It was fun doing the whole run and how different the experience was from those early days when I feared some of the red/orange named. And it was interesting how hitting some areas I could remember past adventures – from entering quests to good runs.
So much of that is lost due to more content and more efficient ways of getting stuff done. That’s not a bad thing – adding more content is good. But it is also digging into so many years of fun. We’re fewer now.
I remember times when the guild ship was overrun by people buffing. Every public area had dozen of people running around. Now when I enter these old areas I don’t really see anyone. It’s like having the universe for yourself.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately playing other games like World of Tanks. Not because I’ve given up on DDO – on the contrary – but because the events that conspired that turned DDO into slower than molasses sorta sucked all the fun out of it.
It’s not entirely out of the weeds yet; at times there will be lag but not crippling. And I haven’t tried raids yet so I don’t know if everything is somewhat similar – not crippling but sorta annoying.
That killed my entire mood for the 10th Anniversary. I made some stuff, but not nearly as much as I wanted. I just didn’t feel like doing any of it. The irony of then jumping into WOT and experience the feral children and a game in crisis with a server population that is crumbling and worsening balance issues seems quaint compared to DDOs problems. But for all the frustration the servers function. I’m not lagging out and while some days are just horrible with teams that crumble within minutes because of the tremendous problems, it’s still functional. And it’s a breather of sort.
But I’m still playing DDO. And I’m inching towards 20.
What you come to miss doing Arti compared to an arcane caster is reliable insta killing and CC. Sure, Arti got some but it’s not as good or as destructive as dancing balls and arcane nukes.
It takes quite a little longer to destroy mobs using rune arms and crossbows. And considering how deep the investment into the gnome racial tree goes – it also removes some of the investments into Arti SLAs – some of which works nicely. The trade off is a stronger repeater with better crit range – making casting weaker in turn. This is clear when I compare my regular Arti and this build. Blast Rod for example is an excellent and useful SLA providing close to 1k in damage with an AOE/Cone shaped short ranged attack. But useful in combination with tactical detonation. That is also true in some respect with lighting sphere. Altho lightning sphere is slower and a little bit more situational, it is a good cheap spell to use in combination with everything else.
But that’s alright. I’m not trying to build another Arti – I’m just running up the third Iconic Gnome life and then most likely back to Warlock.