Tholgrin’s Intro Guide to Epic

Having walked many players through their first forays into Epic careers, I’ve heard the same questions and confusions popping up over and over again.  It seems these are the type of questions that players new to Epic content aren’t sure how to ask, or can’t find clearly stated answers on the wiki.  As such, I thought I’d put this article out there to provide a simple, plain-terms explanation of how the “Epic thing” works.

Those of you who are already familiar and have several ERs under your belt can probably skip this entire post, since this is aimed at the “first-timer” to learn exactly how the gears turn.

First things first, let’s take a look at the three (3) types of experience earned in Epic levels, as opposed to the one (1) kind earned in Heroic play (measured by the blue bar).

Epic Character Experience  (purple bar, no ‘bubbles’)

As far as your character “build” is concerned, leveling ends at 20.  You cannot gain any more levels in a “class” beyond the total that capped out your Heroic career;  for example, there is no such thing as a 20 Fighter/8 Favored Soul.  With the exception of feats being selected, every character receives the exact same growth in terms of Hit Points, Spell Points, Skill Points, and Base Attack Bonus from levels 21 through 30;  only the feat selections make these levels differ from one character to the next.  Epic Character Experience is earned no matter what you do, and caps at level 30 (as of the time of this writing).  Once you hit cap, you cease earning Epic Character Experience.  Unlike Heroic experience, the epic Character Experience does not have a “bubble system” of display, as there are no ranks segmenting a given level.  Fill it up once, and you’re at the next level.

Epic Destiny Experience  (yellow bar, with ‘bubbles’)

First things first:  if you have not yet purchased Epic Destinies (or acquired them with a bundle purchase, previously) then you should note that Epic Character Experience does not apply retroactively to your Epic Destinies.  This means, should you play for a few days and earn, say, 500,000 Character Experience before you purchase Destinies for your account, you will start with 0 XP for your Destinies and work up from there.  This may help make an important decision if you don’t have them yet – you may want to put your brand-newly Epic toon on pause until you can acquire the Destinies.  Or not, your choice, really, just make your decision informed and don’t get caught blindsided.

Anyhoo… once you switch over from Heroic to Epic play, the XP Bar at the bottom will automatically switch from the blue bar (Heroic XP) to the purple bar (Epic Character XP) automatically.  You can click the “rotating circle of arrows” near the Main Menu button to toggle between many different views – personally, I prefer the one which has the Purple Bar visible in the background, with a smaller Yellow Bar overlaid in front of it while leveling Destinies; this way, I can see the progress of both Destiny Experience and Character Experience at a glance.

Having said that, let’s explain why they’re different.  Epic Character Experience functions largely the same way Heroic Experience worked – you gain it, level up, and move along.  Epic Destiny Experience is earned in tandem with Character XP in the sense that every point you earn for your character is earned in copy for the currently active Destiny.  (Yes, this means you have to level each Destiny up independently of the others.)  Destiny Points – the Epic Destiny version of Action Points – earned in one Destiny only apply to that Destiny.  This means you cannot earn points in Exalted Angel and spend them in Unyielding Sentinel, no matter how hard you try.

On the other hand, unlike Epic Character Experience, Epic Destiny Experience is permanent.  This means that, once you “cap out” a Destiny and it states “Maximum Epic XP Earned” in the yellow bar, that whichever destiny you have just capped will remain so forever.  If you earn only four (4) XP in a Destiny, you will forever have those four XP in that Destiny, until you add more to it.  You never, ever lose experience in an Epic Destiny, no matter how many times you Epic Reincarnate;  once you cap out all twelve Destinies, you can turn the Epic Destiny Experience meter (yellow bar) off, forever, for that toon.  (Because it’ll always say the same thing – “yes, I’m still capped.”)  As you level up a given Destiny, you will unlock adjacent ones on the Destiny Map – it takes three levels to unlock a Destiny within the same Sphere, and four levels for the “bridge Destinies” to cross over into an adjacent Sphere.

Which is completely different from..

Epic Destiny Sphere “Karma” (really, it’s experience, it just doesn’t have a bar)

You earn karma – commonly referred to as “Sphere XP,” by being active in a Destiny which corresponds to a particular sphere.  While this may sound complicated, they’re pretty logically grouped together, and make quite a bit of sense, once you think about it.  Just because a Destiny was structured with a specific class in mind has absolutely nothing to do with what class you are, currently.  (In fact, some of the most effective Epic builds criss-cross the lines and cherry pick from all over, not just their “official” Destiny.)

Primal Sphere

  •         Fury of the Wild – the “barbarian destiny”
  •         Primal Avatar – the “druid destiny”
  •         Shiradi Champion – the “ranger destiny” officially, although one of the blurrier lines in practice

Martial Sphere

  •         Legendary Dreadnought – the “fighter destiny”
  •         Grandmaster of Flowers – the “monk destiny” (don’t let the name fool you)
  •         Shadowdancer – the “rogue destiny”

Arcane Sphere

  •         Fatesinger – the “bard destiny”
  •         Draconic Incarnation – the “sorcerer destiny”
  •         Magister – the “wizard destiny”

Divine Sphere

  •         Unyielding Sentinel – the “paladin destiny”
  •         Exalted Angel – the “favored soul destiny”
  •         Divine Crusader – the “cleric destiny”

In order to be eligible to Epic Reincarnate and earn an Epic Past Life, one needs to have a total of 6,000,000 Karma in a given Sphere, which will allow you to pick one of three Epic Past Life feats related to that given Sphere.  In other words, you cannot spend your entire epic career in Shadowdancer and earn an Arcane Epic Past Life feat;  if you want a given Epic Past Life, you’ll have to be in the correct Sphere.  (Unless, however, you already had your six million sphere XP earned on a previous Epic career.)

Having said all that, it does not mean that you must earn the six million Sphere XP before you cap out your Epic Character Experience – and, frequently, on the first life, it does not happen that way.  For example, if you are playing a Fighter who selected Legendary Dreadnought (Martial sphere) and wish to earn an Epic Past Life Feat: Fast Healing (Primal), one would need to level Legendary Dreadnought up to level four (as it’s a “bridge Destiny” that connects with Shiradi Champion in Primal), then switch over to a Destiny in the Primal Sphere and begin earning Karma in that sphere.  All of the experience earned in Legendary Dreadnought stays there forever – and the Sphere XP earned stays there until it is spent to ER at a later date.  However, upon reaching level cap, the player may have to do a little bit more adventuring to “make up” the Sphere XP left behind in Martial during the process of unlocking the Primal Sphere.

ScreenShot01176

The Map View of Orsyn Burr’s Epic Destinies, showing a number of things:  1) Unyielding Sentinel is at level 5, which “unlocks” the two other Destinies in the Divine Sphere (Divine Crusader and Exalted Angel);  since Unyielding is a “bridge destiny” and is above level 4 (note the four “stars” forming a line between Divine and Martial) he can unlock Grandmaster of Flowers;  Shadowdancer and Legendary Dreadnaught will both unlock when Grandmaster hits level 3, or can be unlocked with the purchase of a Key of Destiny (hence the coin symbol on them);  the Divine sphere has 162,287 Sphere XP (Karma) towards an Epic Past Life, and none of the other Spheres have any progress whatsoever.

Confused, yet?  Don’t panic!  None of your progress is ever lost.  All Destiny XP earned is retained forever, and all Sphere XP is retained until it is spent during the specific Epic Reincarnation process for that specific sphere in exchange for an Epic Past Life Feat.  (In the example above, all Sphere XP earned while leveling up Dreadnought will hang around until used to purchase a Martial Epic Past Life Feat while ERing… even if the player does a dozen or more ERs in other Spheres, first.)

Because of this, however, many veteran players tend to keep a given Epic career focused within a specific Sphere;  in the example above, Epic Life #1 would probably remain in the Martial Sphere, and Epic Life #2 would start and stay in the Primal Sphere (to maximize efficiency).  This doesn’t mean that a player must remain in a given Destiny, however – it’s not uncommon for a player’s first Epic Life in a given Sphere to be spent “filling out” all three Destinies present, since that’s a “one-and-done” deal and never needs to be done again.  Ever.  It also works out quite nicely that capping out each Destiny (1.98M per Destiny x 3 Destinies per Sphere = 5.94M) fits in beautifully with the six million Sphere XP needed to score an Epic Past Life for said Sphere.

ScreenShot01051

Tholgrin’s Destiny chart, showing every destiny “Done” and capped out.  At this point, Destiny XP becomes a non-issue (as everything is at maximum).

To summarize, any time you earn experience while playing DDO with a toon level 20 or above, you can benefit in up to three places:

  •         Epic Character Experience (from level 20 up to level 30), and
  •         Epic Destiny Experience for the active Destiny (until the Destiny is capped at 1.98M), and
  •         Epic Destiny Karma for the active Destiny’s Sphere (up to 6M).

If you should decide to Heroic TR early – by that, I mean after 20 but before 30 (sometimes called “chickening out” –Ed.) – all of your Destiny XP and Sphere XP are still hanging around until next time.  You’ll have to re-acquire your Epic Character XP, of course.

The other reason for filling out all of the Destinies in a Sphere is to earn..

Twist of Fate and Fate Points

Destiny abilities, while wonderful, are only active while you currently have the Destiny active.  In other words, if you cap out Grandmaster of Flowers and then move to Shadowdancer, all of the benefits you earned in Grandmaster of Flowers are “suspended” until you return to that Destiny.  That rule, however, can be bent from somewhat (with only a few Twist of Fate points) to an extreme degree (a large number of Twist of Fate points).  The primary source of earning Fate Points is by leveling up the Epic Destinies themselves – every three Destiny levels (total, across all Destinies) is worth an additional fate point.  (You can also earn a Fate Point every 4th ER and by purchasing Tomes of Fate from the DDO store.  –Ed.)

This means if you have Fatesinger at level 4, Shadowdancer at 3, and Dreadnought at 2, for a total of 9 levels, you have a total of three Fate Points.  If you were to level Dreadnought to 3 and make it 10 levels, you’d… still have three Fate Points.  They only increase in count on whole divisions.

For an easy way to think of it – capping an entire Sphere is three Destinies at five levels each, for a total of fifteen levels.  In other words, each capped Sphere is worth 5 Fate Points;  capping out all four Spheres alone is worth twenty Fate Points.

These Fate Points are used to unlock and upgrade Twist of Fate slots.  These slots allow you to “twist” in abilities from other Destinies which are not presently active – however, you cannot twist “Core” abilities, which are listed as Innate on the abilities list.  Using Fate Points, you can unlock a slot, which automatically allows a Tier 1 ability to be used in that slot – and then spend additional points to upgrade the slot to hold up to a Tier 4 ability.  As one can imagine, the further you upgrade a slot, and more slots you unlock, the more expensive they become in terms of Fate Points.  More specifics are available on the wiki as far as point costs for various combinations.

I won’t go into the possibilities of various combinations of Destinies and Twists, which run the gamut from absurd (pure Fighter in Magister with Endless Turning twisted in) to downright deadly (hehehehe – I said I wouldn’t go into it!  -Ed.) and beyond.  What I will point out are a few common pitfalls I have seen others try:

  •         If you’re twisting in an enhancement to another Destiny ability, you must have the prerequisite ability as well in order to take advantage of it.  Example:  You cannot twist Rainbow in from Shiradi Champion without having Prism to activate it.  (Well, you can, but it won’t do anything at all.)  It’s possible to twist in Double Rainbow to another Destiny, just expensive (both in Fate Points and slots).
  •         Many abilities are also contingent upon class abilities – twisting them in without having the relevant class ability will offer no benefit.  Example:  As mentioned above, a pure Fighter getting Endless Turning from Divine Crusader, when the Fighter class has no ability to Turn Undead in the first place.

o    On the other hand, the Fighter in question could twist in Turn Undead from the same tree, as well as Endless Turning, to further bend and confuse that rule.  However, without the backing of an actual Paladin or Cleric build, the logic of this decision may be pretty questionable.

  •         Similar to the above, some abilities may not require class abilities, but are otherwise unusable without being active in the Destiny itself.  For example, Reign from the Fatesinger tree enhances the character’s weapons with lightning strikes on vorpal;  it counts as a Spontaneous Song, which isn’t a problem while the player is in Fatesinger, even without a single Bard level, as the Destiny itself provides songs.  On the other hand, twisting it into a class which has zero songs means the ability is now null-and-void since it cannot be activated while in a Destiny which does not provide songs innately.
  •         Tier 5 and 6 abilities cannot be twisted in, at all, and neither can Innate (“core”) abilities.  Make sure you check that before you try and twist in Adrenaline (innate, Fury of the Wild) and Leap of Faith (tier 5, Exalted Angel) to your Dreadnought.
  •         Purchasing slots with your Fate Points is not permanent, and you do not have to ER in order to reset your slot purchases.  Simply visit a Fatespinner (one in the Marketplace and one in Eveningstar) to have her reset your Fate Points for free.
  •         You can get a 4th Twist of Fate slot upon attaining Epic Completionist (three Epic Past Life Feats total in each Sphere;  note they do not have to be three different Past Life Feats, you can simply get three stacks of one you like).  However, it’s not free, and still costs Fate Points to unlock/upgrade.  

So now that you’ve gotten your character up to level 30, what happens then?

Reincarnation

In Heroic play, there’s not a whole lot of intricacies when it comes to reincarnation.  You simply make it to level 20, acquire your Heart of Wood however you see fit, and then trot over to the Reincarnation Grove.  That’s it!  Of course, there are a few more… intricacies.. with Epic than there are with Heroic play.  But, then again, that’s part of the addiction, once you figure them out!

There are four general ways to go about your reincarnation business, once you make it to Epic:

  •         Heroic True Reincarnation (TR) – cutting one’s Epic career short, for whatever reason, and returning to level 1.  This provides a Heroic Past Life feat and is not available as an option for Iconic characters.  All Epic Character XP* is forfeited with no benefit.  Doesn’t differ from traditional Heroic TR’ing in any meaningful way.  (*Note this is not your Destiny XP or Sphere XP being forfeited.  –Ed.)
  •         Epic Reincarnation (ER) –  Upon reaching level 30 and accumulating a total of six million Sphere XP (“Karma”) in a chosen Sphere, the character is able to select which Epic Past Life feat from their chosen Sphere and return to level 20.  In the process, the character will be “rebuilt” from level 1 to 20, allowing new feat selections and point/skill allocations;  think of this step as a Lesser Reincarnation performed at level 20.  You cannot change classes, races, genders, or the like during this part.  Epic Reincarnation does not build a TR Cache the same way Heroic True Reincarnation does – what’s in your bank, stays in your bank.  Iconic characters can ER back to 20 the same way other characters can.
  •         Double Reincarnation (or ER/TR) – a common practice of performing an Epic Reincarnation, followed immediately by a Heroic True Reincarnation.  Yes, you can do that!  The only thing which may makes this step somewhat more complicated is lining up both Hearts of Wood back-to-back.  Iconic characters cannot perform double reincarnations as they are ineligible for Heroic True Reincarnation.
  •         Iconic Reincarnation (IR) –  Only available for Iconic races (currently Bladeforged, Morninglord, Purple Dragon Knight, and Shadar-Kai, regardless of chosen classes), an Iconic character who decides to return to level 1 must perform an Iconic Reincarnation.  They must be at level cap and get a special Heart of Wood (shockingly called an Iconic Heart of Wood), at which point they will receive two past life feats, much like a Heroic race would if they were performing a Double Reincarnation.  However, instead of an Epic Past Life Feat, the Iconic reincarnation provides the character with an Iconic Past Life Feat and the Heroic Past Life Feat for their primary class.  This can be performed regardless of current Sphere XP;  in other words, you don’t have to rack up and/or spend any Sphere XP to perform an Iconic Reincarnation.  Your character will be sent right back to 1, where just like with a Heroic Reincarnation, there’s nothing preventing him from selecting another Iconic race and jumping right back up to 15.

So hopefully, this little article will provide some clarity on questions you might have had about “how that whole Epic thing works.”  If you have any more questions regarding “that Epic thing” that you can’t seem to find a straight answer on, leave it in the comments section below, and I’ll try and find one for you!

ScreenShot01045

And here is a close-up of Tholgrin’s butt, because, reasons.

Happy slaying!

 

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11 comments

  1. I’ve never done any reincarnations, so this was super helpful to read. No one had ever explained to me that that you need 6 million xp in >one< sphere to Epic Reincarnate — the Destinies on my lvl 29 character are all over the map so that kind of sucks. I'm also surprised and disheartened by the fact that you lose all your Destiny sphere XP when you Epic Reincarnate. I had no idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You lose your sphere XP for the sphere you reincarnate in, yes.. But what powers each Destiny is it’s own XP pool, so you don’t lose power. Also, any sphere which you didn’t reincarnate in stays cool.. So if you have, say, 4M in Martial, Divine, and Arcane, and spend 6M in Primal to ER, you retain the 4M in Martial, Primal, and Arcane until they’re spent at a later date.

      Like

  2. If only this had been available to me when i first hit epics..and my first time…or 2…reincarnating. I still have the iconic heart of wood in a cashe somewhere, waiting for an iconic life on a heroic toon. GREAT guide!

    Liked by 1 person

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