Last night, Felldar made it into Epic play.
Those who follow the blog regularly might (might) recall his origins as Felldar Bloodbeaerd, dwarven roguificer, whom I was lamenting greatly about his lack of self-sufficiency and utterly painful saving throws. In his former incarnation, he was my first-ever multi-classed toon, my second into Epics, first to twenty-five, and first to make a hell of a lot of mistakes on.
Which is probably why he gets pretty much zero (0) play time any more. After the write-up I gave Orsyn Burr’s heroic Palificer Artadin life, one of the commenters suggested that I give it a shot as a Bladeforged. While the Bladeforged build wouldn’t receive the additional melee damage given by a dwarf stacking racial axe training and Throw Your Weight Around, the 25-spell-point Reconstruct SLA and inherent defenses were just too tempting to pass up.
As such, I was presented with a choice: reincarnate Orsyn Burr into a Bladeforged (and who can take a ‘forged named Orsyn seriously?) where the Paladin past life wouldn’t help too much, or reincarnate another one of my toons.. one who hadn’t seen much play time and I wouldn’t miss.. that hopefully has some artificer gear already on-hand.. like, say, a former roguificer whom the idea of playing as-is made my hair follicles hurt.
A few minutes later, Felldar Bloodbeard was reborn as Felldar, Bladeforged Palificer Artadin. He dropped the last name the same way Madonna did.
I passed some bastard swords and docents over that were still hanging around in Aapex Predator’s TR Cache (after all, he was a melee artificer in his first life) and got underway.
Some Differences Between Felldar & Orsyn
Taking into account some of the issues from Orsyn Burr’s life, I tweaked a few things. Skill-wise, I didn’t skimp on Open Lock as I had on Orsyn, and made it a point to get his mecha-mitts on a set of Bracers of Twisting Shade at the first possible second. At the first few levels, I didn’t focus as much on using Lay On Hands for heals, instead focusing on the Reconstruct SLA – which, by the way, was phenomenally effective. As early as level fifteen rank two, Felldar was Reconstructing for over a hundred more hit points than he even had in total, with crits well into the 900’s. The points that otherwise went into Dwarven Weapon Training instead went into Bladeforged racial abilities, most notably the Power of the Forge action boost. Mixing Power of the Forge with Haste Boost is absurd. Mixing Power of the Forge with Haste Boost and Bladesworn Transformation is simply straight-up retardankulous. I also took Single Weapon Fighting and kept a melee alacrity item on to maximize his melee DPS.
Holy. Cow. Sauce. I’m not missing that extra dwarven base melee damage at all. The self-sufficiency of this modification is off the bloody charts right from the get-go, and skyrockets through the roof starting at 16 with the Templar’s Docent and Templar’s Retribution thrown in the mix. Crossbow-wise, I juggled between a Silver Slinger, a Doublecross Bow, and a Cormyrean Heavy Repeater as the case changed. The attack speed bonuses with Single Weapon Fighting, combined with Haste Boost and Power of the Forge (and occasionally, an unnecessary Reconstruct for Speed of Reconstruction, because, unicorns) made for an absolutely ridiculous onslaught. Throw in some Exalted Smite Evils and rune arm blasts and whoa. That Power of the Forge for an extra 20% damage and +10 AC/PRR is borderline cheating when stacked up with everything else. Orsyn Burr’s already impressive offensive blitzkrieg, consider yourself trumped in spades.
Defensively, this guy was up there in the “very solid” range for AC and PRR, considering it’s a no-shield build. I never once stomped my foot or whined about how squishy he was – if there was a big wham, it was because a) I wasn’t paying attention, b) he ate a shot in the face from a big boss I could have avoided, or c) a monster champion bypassed his 240% fortification and had Adrenaline too… because that’s always a brutal combo. The Reconstruct SLA is a total game-changer for the palificer, turning the build from “self-healing isn’t quite up to par” to “I Got Dis” with the Lay On Hands serving as patch heals instead of the main gun. I saved most of my Lay On Hands for others, when I was partying with him; although, as I haven’t been feeling particularly well this past week, I’ve been admittedly pretty anti-social. (Sorry, guys! You know who you are! “He’s got the whole world…” –Ed.)
The offensive playstyle was much the same as with Orsyn – take tactical control of the battlefield with flash-bangs, select a target, and execute with impunity and blinding speed. With Bladesworn Transformation on, Haste Boost and Power of the Forge, even the biggest bosses fell in mere seconds to the hail of blows that will remind you very much of anime-style sword multi-stab attacks from Sword Art Online. As before, switching targets from melee to ranged distance has close to zero impact on your tsunami of aggression – it simply switches from stab-slash-slit-shank to bangbangbangbangbang.
(Off Topic: Try saying “stab slash slit shank” out loud without letting an expletive slip.)
To be honest, this build already had a whole lot of pros going for it in the original incarnation, and this variation just took it to an entirely new level of wikkid fun.
Wait, what? Oh, right, I had been rambling about the good stuff on the build for so long, I forgot I had to write about negatives. That might be a lot easier if I could actually think of any negatives, so I’ll address this section a little differently than the former.
For those wondering, the (absolutely retarded –Ed.) stacks to melee damage and attack speed more than make up for the difference in base weapon damage for dual-wielding or two-handed fighting. I can’t say with factual backing if one of the three is superior to any other from a strictly numerical standpoint, but I’ve played all three many times over, and I’ve never seen Karas drop that fast on Elite before. (The duel with Karas took just over five seconds.)
The self-healing issue from Orsyn’s life is so completely washed out with a Bladeforged palificer, it’s barely even worth mentioning, other than to say “a Bladeforged palificer can self-heal just as well as a pure Cleric can self-heal.” Done and done.
Trapping was only a minor issue in certain quests – but once again, this was a “me and my toon” thing. Felldar had all three of the core skills (Search, Disable, and Open Lock) maxed out at every single level and +15 gear on the entire time. The Rogue past life didn’t do him any favors; I thought it would, but I got it mixed up with the Artificer past life. A few more build points (this is his 2nd life) and some actually useful past lives would make this a non-issue… or a few Greater Heroism pots. Problem solved. To put it in perspective, at level 20, he trapped Epic Hard Jungles of Khyber and succeded on a 1, with a critical success on a 6. Considering that trapping is the “icing on the cake” for this build, and not the primary focus, I’m not going to dock any points for it.
Oh, and unicorns. The build has no unicorns in it. I’m only bringing this up because I don’t want the Cons segment to get jealous that the Pros section had more text in it. Which it still does, even though I’m rambling for filler, and it appears that Cons will just have to get over it. Because I’ve completely run out of negative things to say.
I was hesitant to bring Orsyn into Epics at full steam ahead, primarily due to his self-healing being less than stellar. As it stood with Felldar, even in a brand-new destiny (he has Shadowdancer capped from his previous life, but I slid him over to Unyielding Sentinel for this one), I had nothing whatsoever holding me back from charging straight into Epic Hard fresh out of the gate. Even without optimized gear – the only pieces of level 20 equipment he had at the time were an Archaic Device and a level 20 Cormyrean Bastard Sword (Holy, Disintegration, and Maladroit) – he was right on the front lines the entire time. Through the course of the evening, he pulled an Ancient Gemstone and Socks passed over a Slaver’s Hand Crossbow to make things a little sweeter.
I may have had some misgivings about Orsyn’s Epic future, but with Felldar, I foresee a blitz all the way to 28 and a Thunder-Forged Bastard Sword in his hands. There’s an Epic Chill of Winter waiting for him in a few levels, and who knows – maybe there will be a Nightmare, the Fallen Moon in his near future? He’s currently level 21 (halfway to 22) and is already two-thirds of the way flagged for Caught in the Web.
And My Only Complaint.. Which Is Mostly Unrelated
I learned the hard way you can’t make a cosmetic rune arm with the Mirror of Glamering. Which makes me sad, because I would have totally copied a Glorious Obscenity to go alongside his glamered Nightmare with Shadow Aura on. You might say I have a thing for divine good guys who look completely evil. Please, devs? Pretty please? With sugar on top?