Tholgrin’s Guide to Great Crossbows

Orsyn Burr has had a rough life.

Well, it didn’t start off that way.  At first, he was my initial delving into the Palificer Artadin build, which was later shattered by the Palificer Artadin 2.0.   Go figure.  Since then, he’s been largely ignored.

It was around the time I had logged Orsyn back on after the nudge to level cap got raised, where I realized something awful:  I have had one of every “main class” – wizards and sorcerers excluded – in my roster since shortly after I started playing;  with Felldar, my former “rogue” going, well, rogue, and taking over Orsyn’s spot, it’s only fair for Orsyn to turn the tables and, well, go rogue.

So he did.

He’s now sitting pretty in Epics, a level 22 “Master Mechanic and Ghost Extraordinaire,” but I learned a few lessons while bringing him up to snuff.  Yes, there’s a purpose to this infuriatingly long and rambling introduction, and that is that there are very, very few named Great Crossbows available.

So here are all of them.  Yes, all of them.  It’s not as scary as it sounds.   

Author’s Note:  One advantage to Great Crossbows over Heavy Crossbows is that any vorpal hit from a proficient user will create an automatic, no-save knockdown effect on non-red-named enemies.  While it’s not frequent enough to be used as a primary crowd control source, it is a nice benefit.  Oh, in addition to the fact that Great Crossbows hit with the impact of an anti-materiel rifle.


 

Tholgrin’s Guide to Every Named Great Crossbow in the Game

Oladren’s Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 1

+0 Great Crossbow, 1[2d8] base damage, Cold Touch (+1 cold damage on hit), Keen I (expanded crit range without feat).  Enhanced critical range of 15-20.

Item Found In:  The Collaborator end turn-in reward, guaranteed pop.

Personal Notes:  Playing a mechanic at low level, particularly solo, is rather tough.  This bow makes things a little easier with the enhanced critical range, which makes seemingly every other shot an explosive crit.  While it doesn’t necessarily hold up all the way to the next named great crossbow, it’s certainly one you can pack heat with for a few levels.  Useless against undead, though.


 

Temple of Elemental Evil Great Crossbow (Weapon Version)

Minimum Level 7

+3 Great Crossbow, 1.5[2d8] base damage, 1% Elemental Vulnerability (specific to weapon type);  can be upgraded to include Seeker +4, Crippling (-50% enemy movement speed on critical), Elemental Blast (+1d10 elemental damage specific to weapon type on crit, additional 4d6 elemental on vorpal), Purple Augment Slot, and either a +2 or +4 mythic weapon boost with super-rare mushrooms.

Item Found In:  Temple of Elemental Evil Part One, Part Two, or End Rewards.

Required for Above Upgrades:  200 Rusty Gilled Mushrooms from ToEE Part One, 50 Yellow Parisol mushrooms from ToEE Part Two, 50 of the appropriate elemental mushrooms from ToEE Part Two, and optionally a Red Cage or Octopus Stinkhorn mushroom (although the return on investment for anything beyond Tier 2 is debatable).

Personal Notes:   When it comes to Great Crossbows, one could consider it their “thing” to have massive critical damage.  Some weapons that are less “crit-killer-ey” don’t get quite the same punch as a ToEE weapon, but for crit-heavy weapons, they can be delightful.  Just make sure to farm the Heroic mushrooms on an Epic-level character, or be prepared for a seriously long haul.


 

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Leverage

Minimum Level 7

+3 Great Crossbow, 1.5[2d8] base damage, Lesser Human Bane (+1d6 bane to humans), Heartseeker I (+3d6 untyped damage on crit), Frostbite (+1% vulnerability on hit), Insightful Sneak Attack Bonus +2, Purple Augment Slot, Mythic Weapon Boost +2, Mythic Shield Boost +2

Item Found In:  Temple of Elemental Evil rare chests, end chests, extremely low drop rate

Personal Notes:  If nothing else, this is one sexy-looking great crossbow!  I glamered this almost immediately and haven’t looked back.  I also found myself leaning towards Leverage over the ToEE Great Crossbow I had made, mostly due to the versatility wherein Frostbite (in spite of its name) causes 1% damage vulnerability to all damage types, not just the element in question on the ToEE Great Crossbow with the same minimum level.  On the other hand, Leverage does have a pretty rough drop rate – I’ve pulled one out of over a hundred runs of both parts of the Temple and countless chests on each run – so in its absence, the ToEE weapon is a solid alternative.  But not nearly as centerfold-worthy.


 

Green Steel Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 12

+5 Great Crossbow, 1.5[2d8] base damage, evil damage bypass, various effects

Base Item Found In:  Created from various ingredients in the Vale of Twilight and upgraded with ingredients found in The Shroud raid and/or Epic Devil Assault

Personal Notes:   The big problem with “grading” Green Steel as a generic is that there are far too many permutations to summarize in a single sentence.  One might be a bloody demon-killer while another might struggle to plink kobolds in the Harbor.  As such, I’m going to leave this here as a “your mileage may vary,” and keep it at that.  On the other hand, considering what becomes available next level with Divine Artillery, even the best Green Steel great crossbows are up for some serious competition.  However, it should be noted that Green Steel has Evil damage bypass, which thanks to The Archon’s Trial and specifically Rhi’enne the Planetar’s singlehanded efforts (read: absolutely retarded Evil-aligned DR in Epic), is greatly in vogue as of late.


 

Divine Artillery

Minimum Level 13

+5 Great Crossbow, 2[2d8] base damage, Deception III (5% chance to bluff enemies on hit, +3 sneak attack, +6 sneak attack damage), Eldritch III (+3d4 Force damage on-hit), Vorpal (auto-kill on natural 20 if 1,000 HP or less; otherwise, 100 untyped damage), Stealth Strike (-15% ranged threat), Flametouched Iron (bypass Good DR), Purple Augment Slot

Item Found In:  The Devil’s Details,  end chest

Personal Notes:  Don’t let the fact this thing’s appearance is akin to a toy manufactured by NERF and Fischer-Price fool you, the Divine Artillery is the Noisy Cricket of great crossbows.  This thing hits like a freight train and grows to retarded damage ratings with the top tier of the Mechanic tree filled in.  As in, I feel fully comfortable saying “this weapon will carry you from 13 to 20.”  That kind of stupid damage.  However, get a cosmetic… because nobody will take you seriously with that golden shiny pew-pew  toy in your hand.


 

Alchemical Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 12 (blank), 16 (Tier 1), 18 (Tier 2), or 20 (Tier 3)

+5 Great Crossbow, 2[2d8] base damage, various effects

Base Item Found In:  The Master Artificer end chests

Personal Notes:  Technically, the “blank” should be filed with the blank Green Steel, since they’re both ML12.  However, Green Steel stays ML12 while the Alchemical skyrockets as you add effects to it.. and granted, some of them are pretty tasty.  On the other hand, in order to see much of any effect at all, the weapon needs to be at Tier One,  where it automatically jumps to ML16.  That, in my opinion, causes it to be filed above the rest.  As with Green Steel, you’ll pretty much have to already be a higher level to get the materials needed to craft it, as they drop only from level 20+ raids.  Having personally cranked out the effort to create one of these Alchemical Bad Boys, I’ll summarize it with the following:  “Sure, go ahead and make one if you already happen to have the ingredients, or are going to run the raids for fun anyway.  But have to recommend against farming explicitly for Alchemical weapons – there are better alternatives with less effort available.”


 

Did anyone else notice this humongous jump in levels, or was it just me?

Thunder-Forged Alloy Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 22 (blank), 24 (Tier 1), 26 (Tier 2), or 28 (Tier 3)

+9 to +12 Great Crossbow, 3.5[2d8] to 4.5[2d8] base damage, metalline, various effects

Base Item Found In:  Created at the Magma Forge in the Ruins of Thunderholme for 20 Thunder-Forged Dwarven Ingots and 15 Commendations of Valor

Personal Notes:  I have long been quoted as saying, “If you’re going to be taken seriously in Epic, go T-forged or go home.”  Thunder-Forged weapons are some of the most ridiculously powerful in the game, and the raw damage alone can even make blanks more viable than other alternatives.  Great Crossbows are no exception to the rule.  They’re sexy.  Farming the ingredients for a Tier One (grand total of 80 Ingots and 60 Coms) isn’t a terribly agonizing ordeal, either.  “Make one,” says Tholgrin – at least a Tier 1/level 24, since there are alternatives at 26 if you don’t feel like farming too many materials.  Seriously, though.  Make one.


 

Epic Temple of Elemental Evil Great Crossbow (Weapon Version) 

Minimum Level 26

+7 Great Crossbow, 5[2d8] base damage, 1% Elemental Vulnerability (specific to weapon type);  can be upgraded to include Exceptional Seeker +5, Crippling (-50% enemy movement speed on critical), Greater Elemental Blast (+4d10 elemental damage specific to weapon type on crit, additional 6d6 elemental on vorpal), Purple Augment Slot, and either a +2 or +4 mythic weapon boost with super-rare mushrooms.  Also becomes part of the Epic Elemental Evil set with a set of armor, providing a +20 Quality bonus to Melee and Ranged Power as well as Universal Spell Power while both are equipped.

Item Found In:  Epic Temple of Elemental Evil Part One, Part Two, or End Rewards.

Required for Above Upgrades:  200 Epic Rusty Gilled Mushrooms from Epic ToEE Part One, 50 Epic Yellow Parisol mushrooms from Epic ToEE Part Two, 50 of the appropriate Epic elemental mushrooms from Epic ToEE Part Two, and optionally a Red Cage or Octopus Stinkhorn mushroom (although the return on investment for anything beyond Tier 2 is debatable).

Personal Notes:   I struggle to get excited about the Epic ToEE Great Crossbow.  In Heroics, your options are very limited at that point;  in Epics, one can easily farm T-Forged Ingots at a much faster rate for an arguably better end product (for one point, the difference in base damage of the 26 versions – 1[2d8] – must immediately compete with the +7 [ToEE] vs. +11 [T-forged] enhancement bonuses difference).   Now I’m not saying that the Epic ToEE Great Crossbow is inherently bad, but  the return on investment when directly compared with a T-forged makes it a rough comparison to lean in favor of directly.  Your mileage may vary, particularly if the Epic Elemental Evil Set Bonus is incorporated.


 

Epic Leverage

Minimum Level 26

+7 Great Crossbow, 5[2d8] base damage, Greater Human Bane (+3d6 bane to humans), Heartseeker VI (+13d6 untyped damage on crit), Frostbite (+1% vulnerability on hit), Insightful Sneak Attack Bonus +6, Purple Augment Slot, Mythic Weapon Boost +2, Mythic Shield Boost +2

Item Found In:  Epic Temple of Elemental Evil rare chests, end chests, extremely low drop rate

Personal Notes:  Honestly, I can’t have any real-world comments on the actual play-effectiveness of the Epic version of Leverage, since I haven’t found it yet.  However, given the many parallels between the Heroic and Epic pair of Leverage vs. ToEE Great Crossbow, I’d have to wager money on Epic Leverage being the winner… if you’re lucky enough to have one.  I’m not.  Sadface.


 

Legendary Green Steel Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 26

+14 Great Crossbow, 5[2d8] base damage, various effects

Base Item Made From:  Legendary level 30 content ingredients

Personal Notes:  This is going to be extra thin.. mostly because their modular nature makes the new Legendary Green Steel weapons highly customizable.  As such, their combat effectiveness can range from “amazing” to “meh” and everywhere in between – your mileage may vary.


 

Epic Divine Artillery

Minimum Level 28

+12 Great Crossbow, 5.5[2d8] base damage, Deception IX (5% chance to bluff enemies on hit, +9 sneak attack, +18 sneak attack damage), Eldritch VI (+6d4 Force damage on-hit), Sovereign Vorpal (auto-kill on natural 20 if 3,000 HP or less; otherwise, 300 untyped damage), Stealth Strike (-15% ranged threat), Flametouched Iron (bypass Good DR), Orange Augment Slot

Item Found In:  Epic The Devil’s Details, end chest

Personal Notes:  Much like its Heroic counterpart, this thing hits like a weapon out of a.. a… a something epic and awesome that hits really, really hard.  In the hands of a Mechanic with the bonus Sneak Attack damage built up, this can punch holes through enemy heads at an alarming rate.. and that’s a good thing!  Just make sure, as before, to wear a cosmetic… because who wants to show up to fight Legendary Malicia with a NERF crossbow?


 

And there you have it!  While it’s not the most red-headed of the red-headed stepchildren (that poor distinction goes to darts), it’s definitely a weapon category that has only a few players in it.  Of course, they are players that hit like an artillery barrage, but that’s beside the point.

I hope this little dose of Tholgrin’s Patented Research Made Easy® has helped in some way, shape, or form!

Happy Slaying!

P.S.  Have a request for a future post or “Tholgrin’s Guide?”  Leave it in the comments below!

 

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