Characters

Epic Completionist #2 for 2015!

So, I’ve really got to stop spoiling the “big news” of a given post with the title.  In case you haven’t guessed already, Tholgrin Stoneforge finally finished out his final Epic life before scoring Epic Completionist!  And it was before U29 launched, to boot!  So that makes two Epic Completionists earned during the 2015 Goal Period.

Woo-hoo!  Take that, expectations!

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Back in K-Town, now fully-vested in Heroic Paladin past lives and Epic Completionism.

So now, his plans include the ER from 28 back to 20 (albeit briefly) followed by the “combo reincarnation” back to 1 immediately afterwards.  After all, he still hasn’t earned his final Paladin past life!  So I’ll be taking him from 1 back up to level cap… as I feel like it.  No rush in that objective, there.

With that out of the way, it completes the multi-expanded Goals List for 2015 for Tholgrin.. and almost everyone else, as well.  Only Bholgrin and his 5,000-Favor-Plus-Complete-Every-Quest-And-Challenge goal remain.  The good news is, that with his recent ER, I’ve actually been working a decent bit on that.. including confirming from first-hand experience that it is possible to solo The Crucible in Gianthold (although I did use a hireling for the maze levers;  not on the wheel puzzle, however, since the Owlbear was half-retarded when it came to operating machinery).  I would swear the wheel puzzle time limit has been extended – or, perhaps, it’s just a bit more generous when you’re alone.  In either case, it’s possible.  (I recall it timing out in approximately 5 seconds on earlier group runs;  this last run, he had enough time to run around the room to all three wheels by his lonesome.  And no, even though Bholgrin is part monk, he’s not that fast.  –Ed.)

The list of his incompleted quests, raids, and challenges is pretty slim, now:

  •         Ascension Chamber
  •         Precious Cargo
  •         The Fall of Truth
  •         The Twilight Forge
  •         The Titan Awakes
  •         The Mark of Death
  •         Temple of the Deathwyrm
  •         Fire on Thunder Peak
  •         Epic Kobold Island:  Short Cuts

And that’s it!  Of course, he’s sitting at 4,934 favor, which means I’ll have to backtrack through some of those quests that he’s already marked a completion on, but on a lower difficulty, and crank those up.  Shoot, even that list is pretty slender;  and that’s with several expansions’ worth of new content adding to the favor total.  I can’t imagine how tight the original 5,000 Favor Reward was – from the looks of the current game, it seems as though you had to Elite/Epic Elite everything and six-star every challenge to barely squeak past.

So it seems I may have to put up some LFMs over the next two weeks in order to get some old favor runs going!  A long time ago, when I first started this particular Goals for 2015 initiative-thingy, I speculated that Bholgrin’s challenge was going to be the hardest one.. and while it may not necessarily be the hardest – it certainly is taking the longest to move.  Mostly because the majority of what’s left is things that don’t see a whole lot of movement on Orien.  (That’s not entirely true – FOTP, TODW, and MOD all see a good bit of traffic on Saturdays, but that’s all EE traffic.  And I’m not stupid enough to try and learn a raid on EE.  –Ed.)

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Totally not suicidal.

My attempts to learn Ascension Chamber solo have been… mixed.  I’ve watched videos where folks have soloed it without many problems;  being perfectly frank, I have a feeling that’s one of the situations where “trying to solo it at 21 your first time ever” qualified as “probably not the best of ideas.”  It’s something I’m continuing to try as the whims come, usually with no expectations of survival, but I figure, what the heck, personal experience in the environments is never a bad thing.

So for anyone else hunting for obscure favor bits and bobs on the Orien server, keep an eye out – you might just see an LFM with Bholgrin’s name on it.  Or have him request to join your LFM.. you never know.  Fair warning, however – he doesn’t do so well with that whole “sharing” thing when it comes to Tasty Ham.  So if that’s a deal-breaker, I’m not sorry.

As for the plans for the remaining.. uhh.. eighteen toons – well.

Mattok Shalefinder has recently been working his way through a Heroic career as a pure Paladin Vanguard.  His previous life as a 14 FvS / 6 Pal variant of Whall’s build resulted in – way more healing than was ever needed, and a profound lack of function with the shield-based attacks.  As such, he’s reworking himself into a full Vanguard position.  He’s currently at level 7, having just equipped his +3 Etched Longsword of Acid Torrent from the Temple of Elemental Evil… time to give that a few swings and see what’s what.

Tubbho “Uncle Tubbs” Lard is sitting tight at 22 and slowly working his way through some Iconic lives.  I’ll spend some time with him as the schedule allows – he’s still working slowly towards his Heroic Completionist.  Yes, the one I said I wasn’t working towards last year.  Shaddup.  Things change.

And the rest are all at cap!  Well, except Immano of Llawriennal, the perpetually-20 clonk for friendly aid.  He has no intenions of going above 20 (again) in the future.  The remainder of the characters on my login screen are at cap, and honestly, I’m now looking forward to the variety of playing each of them to get up to level 30.

It’s a silly thing, sure, but it feeds back into my alt-itis – with the new levels and XP increase, that equates to roughly two days’ worth of solid questing for each person.  And given the variety of playstyles I have currently stored up, that means I get to play in an entirely different groove every other day!  Woo-hoo!   That part, I’m actually looking forward to.

I must confess, this has been quite a whirlwind of a year as far as game progreses is concerned.  The only thing left to do at this point is to figure out what I’m going to do to one-up the nonsense that made up 2015 – and, of course, actually finish the final goal!

Happy Slaying!

 

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A Raidy Weekend

This past weekend held quite a bit of delightful progress!  And news!  Sort of.  Well, oh, heck, I’ll just get on with it.

First things first – the one and only Thol finished out his Primal karma for his 11th Epic Past Life and is now giddily whalloping his way through the last few XP in his home Destiny, Unyielding Sentinel, where he plans to spend the foreseeable future.  And no, he has no intentions of ever being anything but a pure Paladin Knight of the Chalice.  After all, why mess with what works?  And it would fly completely in the face of Tholgrin’s RP background and P&P history.  There are plenty of alts for that mutli-life stuff.

However – only one life left to live before Epic Completionist!  /cheer!  Oh, and that silly little “third paladin Heroic” past life.  Grr.  At least that isn’t on a crunch to get finished up before U29.. not that it’ll be difficult.  I’ve been stacking up all manner of goodies in expectation for the “final final” life.   Ahh, well.. but I digress!

I’ve begun working on getting Green Steel weapons lined up for the myriad other characters I feel will be the most likely to TR;  I like to have these done beforehand, because once I get the idea in my head to TR somebody, it usually happens within hours and whatever preparation hasn’t been done yet isn’t going to be.  (Here’s looking at you, Mattok!)  So I hopped in a few Shroud runs early Saturday to get things started and then later on to fatten up the ol’ crafting reserves.

The other major challenge that has yet to be completed lies with Tholgrin’s very-slightly younger brother (in the role-play sense, at least), Bholgrin.  Good ol’ dwarven “original” family names, that.  At first it was just a teaching run hosted by our very own @DDOMicki over at Micki’s Delirium of Defiler of the Just, which I had yet to run.  So, of course, I jumped over to Bhol and promptly proceeded to fly completely under the radar with an utterly unnoteworthy performance.  Which, as a raid virgin, I consider to be a complete success – after all, the first phase of learning a raid (on my own bloody scale!) is called “don’t be a liability and don’t die.”  Looking at it that way…

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Hop back to Tholgrin, and what do I see later on, but an EH run of Defiler queueing up?  Sweet!  Armed with the experience from Micki’s expert tutelage, I went in with Tholgrin (who is far, far [fart] more of a brute than his little bro) and proceeded to wreck shop right alongside the vets.. although the whole crew got skunked on loot.  While I haven’t stepped into Epic Elite on the raid, yet, the following things struck me:

  •         Once you know what you’re doing, the raid is pretty simple
  •         This is going to be darn near impossible to solo except for the penultimate badass players
  •         That final boss was a joke, as in”liek srsly, u ded alreddy bro ??“-level facerolling
  •         What do you mean, we’re done this quickly?

I was all raring and ready to go for some spectacularly brutal Shroud EX+alpha mess, but it’s pretty much only a few rooms.  To that regard, sad face.  Being able to learn it in one run, happy face.  Adding it to my list of “I’mma go run that!” raids, priceless.

And, as usual, more digressions…

So after that particular splash of happy, I just-so-happened to check the LFM panel to find – guess what? – MOAR RAIDS!  A whole stack of them, all bunched up in one pretty little happy entry, two of which were ones Bholgrin needed for his 2015 Goals.  So back to Bhol it was, and off we went for a flurry of frenzied fun.

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One of the many “stuff is happening” moments in eChrono.

One right after another, we hit Epic Elite versions of The Chronoscope, The Vault of Night and The Plane of Night,  Against the Demon Queen and Zawabi’s Revenge, after which we lost a number of folks and dropped down to Heroic for a run of The Lord of Blades and The Master Artificer.  But wait, there’s more!  Afterwards, we scooted over to the Subterrane and did a Vision of Destruction run.  Bholgrin was particularly excited about the VoD run due to the chance of getting a Divine Vengeance, but it didn’t show its face.  Jerk.

I had to call it a night before the rest of the group headed over to Hound of Xoriat, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  After all, he’d already finished VOD and HOX previously, so those were just fun/loot runs.. and fun, they were.

Of course, while this was all going on, I was wrestling with a thought that has been nagging me:  Why don’t I just ER Bholgrin and iron out some of the little quirks that have been bugging me?  I don’t really have a good reason why I haven’t – after all, ERing doesn’t reset any favor accumulations in the slightest, and he could really use some fine-tuning.  An older part of me is scared I would forget something and inadvertently make it worse;  I don’t think that’s the problem so much, any more.

I’ve been going through his gear, and he’s got a pretty decent assortment for low-level Epics that he already had on-hand.  He’s got his Green Steel blanks and plenty of Shards lined up if I should decide to TR him on a whim – might not have enough for a full pair of double-imbued longswords, but at least one double-imbued and a Tier 3.  I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to put on them, but as I’m only dabbling with the idea of an ER, that’s not a huge problem.

I’ve taken to telling myself that once Tholgrin hits level 28 and is “officially” on his final Epic life before EC, and is “officially” underway in his final Divine life, that I’ll give his little brother some wings.  Plus, I can’t help but shake the feeling it would be much more enjoyable going through and replaying some of his earlier Epics on higher difficulties when I’m actually in the level range and earning XP towards it, rather than just Heart Seeds.. not that Heart Seeds are bad, though.  You get my meaning, I’m sure.

Overall, the weekend was quite productive.  It was fun grouping with a fellow member of the DDO Blogging Community, even if it was a pretty quiet group.  In retrospect, that’s probably a good thing, as it means I didn’t manage to put my foot in my mouth all the way to the elbow.  (This happens far more often than I’d like, and is the reason I stick pretty much exclusively to text chat until I get to know folks.  It’s a lot easier to censor text than it is speech on +80% Lip Movement Speed.  –Ed.)

Oh, and while I’ve had a Facebook page for DDO for quite some time (just search the ever-original “Tholgrin Stoneforge” on it, and it should pop up), I’ve only just recently – as in, within the past 16 hours of this being posted to Teh Interwebz – started doing “that Twitter thing.”  I’m on there as @TholgrinDDO, because, apparently someone already had @Tholgrin.  Shoot, it might even be me, I’m not even sure…. after all, my WordPress account is listed as @Tholgrin.  Yay, social media noobiness…. ugh.  Why do I do these things to myself?

So I think I’m learning how to use it.  Not really.  I’m probably doing the entire thing wrong.  So if I retweet your reply to a hashtag with a Hindenberg and forget to add #fauxpas, then you can officially call me a #twit.  Yeah, I went there.  Anyhoo, I suppose if you’re interested, you can go do.. uhh, whatever it is people do on Twitbook and Faceter.

 

Anyhoo… happy Monday, and stuff!

 

Stuff

So, once again, it’s been quite a long while since I’ve written anything for this blog.  For that, I’m sorry.  The one (1) reader of this blog can consider themselves the recipient of my sincerest, most heartfelt apologies.

Or some stuff.

On the other hand, things have been quite hopping on the virtual front.  Just last night, on the final quest of the evening, I was able to squee with delight as Mattok Shalefinder, the (still confused) Cleric-Turned-Favored-Paladin Vanguard-turned-sword-and-board-Knight-of-the-Chalice dinged to 28.  Woo!

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Mattok looking angsty in the rain.

With that project squared away, that means I can finally return to the shocking task of playing my main-main, Tholgrin Stoneforge.  He’s seen quite a bit of play time since the last time I made an update, and now has two Divine sphere Epic Past Lives along with two Primals and a Martial.  Having just reset back to 20, Thol’s about to embark on the Arcane sphere.  I recall with Uncle Tubbs that the Arcane sphere was quite painful – but I’m not terribly concerned when it comes to Tholgrin.  After all, he has a habit of making warlocks sweat on the kill counts, even in off Destinies.

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Tholgrin Stoneforge, founder of Full Moon Fury, standing in front of a Full Moon during Night Revels. #meta

On a semi-related note – I finally caved in to the nagging “but I want it!” pressure and sent in my order to Hero Forge (www.heroforge.com) where I designed a copy of Tholgrin Stoneforge as well as Tubbho Lard in mini-format.  Thol’s been my dwarven paladin namesake ever since dwarf was a class back in First Edition (yeah, yeah, he wasn’t a paladin then, that came in 2nd edition), so that comes with a pretty heavy dose of gamer gravity.  I fell in love with the look I made for him on DDO – after all, it looks far better than my spastic scribbled attempts at drawings – and was able to build a pretty darn close representation on Hero Forge.  I was even able to put the eyepatch on the correct eye!  And the greataxe available looks an awful lot like Cleaver, Hewer of Suffering for extra woo-woo points.

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Thol’s mini about to wreck shop.

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Uncle Tubbs with a cocky “come at me, bro” pose.

Of course, I’ll now have to paint them and then actually find a tabletop group to use them, or I suppose they could just provide moral support from my desk.  Either works.  It’s still pretty darned cool to have a customized mini built around your character.  In my book, that qualifies as bad-ass… because none of the pre-made minis really capture everything properly.

But I digress!  (That part hasn’t changed, at least.  –Ed.)

So now that Tholgrin’s chomping at the bit on his sixth Epic Past Life (almost halfway to Epic Completionist!), Tubbs has started… evolving.  I say that because in his past three lives, he hasn’t looked right.  Not only has he been forced to deviate from the trademark Tubbho Special build that’s built him a reputation, but he’s also not a dwarf.  Gasp!  Shock!  Forsooth!  Some of you may recall, from the depths of your memory, that I had previously written (in passing, of course) about Tubbs’ first Iconic foray as a cleric-heavy Morninglord variant of the Tubbho Special to get both a Morninglord Iconic Past Life as well as his second Cleric Heroic Past Life.  Well, I did.  And promptly turned him into a confused monk/artificer, followed by an Occult Slayer barbarian (that was fun, with Wolverine-like regeneration in Heroics!  I darn near took that one all the way through to 28) to score some more Heroic Past Lives.  If it seems like I’m slowly working my way towards a Heroic Completionist, in spite of my stating on multiple occasions that I had zero interest in doing exactly that, then the seem would seem to be correct.   I suppose I’ll have to amend my official statement to say “I have no interest, at this time, in achieving Triple Heroic Completionist.”  To keep things efficient, his next life was a Charisma-based Purple Dragon Knight Bard.. who was actually kind of fun.  So much so, in fact, that within minutes of him ding-ing 28, he was reborn as a Bladeforged Pally-lock.  Because, reasons.

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Uncle Tubbs the… toaster?

As I scroll back through some previous posts, it comes to my attention that a few of the things I thought I had written about since the last update, I haven’t.  Whoops!  Abandoned posts, oh my!  Oh, well.

One of my “tangent goals” for the year was to have Immano of Llawriennal, my perpetually-20 elf clonk, finish out Unyielding Sentinel.  When I last wrote about him, I claimed he’d been at Unyielding level 4 – lies!  All lies!  He was barely (4 XP, to be precise) into US2.  And he was painful.  Very, very painful.

While glancing through his gear and build, the first thing I decided was that he needed to abandon the wraps.  With only three levels of Monk in him, they were doing pitiful damage, even with a set of Elite Level 19 Thunder & Lightning on his mitts.  Half of the damage from wraps comes from the Monk levels themselves – so they had to go.  I popped one point over into Ninja Spy and set him up to dual-wield shortswords, instead.

And then, immediately noticed he didn’t have any of the Two-Weapon Fighting feats.  What was I thinking??  Oh, well, I’ll just LR him and set him straight… wait, I have to take those two Epic levels that are banked?  But what if I don’t wanna?  Sigh… fine, I’ll just not take them when I rebuild him.

…great, I have to do that, too.  So, it turns out you can’t bank Epic levels when LRing… although, for the most part, I can’t imagine why you’d want to, save for doing something completely bizarre like I was doing with Immano, trying to keep him specifically at 20.  The only solution, then, since he was now 22 after a Lesser Reincarnation, was to keep on plowing through to 28 and wrap back around.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to spend the time needed to gear him up for “proper” Epic play.  He was supposed to stay at 20.  So, of course, I did what any sane person would do.

I decided that I wouldn’t gear him up at all.  He would go from 20 to 28 using only level 20 gear.

Now, I know that might sound completely nuts.  And it was.  But there was logic behind it – namely, that by the time he finished out an Epic career, that level 20 kit was going to be bulletproof.  And it is.  Having finished his challenge, Immano is now the proud owner of a new set of threads (that doesn’t look quite so ‘twinkle-toes’ as his previous outfit), a pair of Stars of Day, and looks like a ninja Jedi.  All of which are wins.  Oh, and he doesn’t suck any more.  Also a win.

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Immano trying out for the next Star Wars movie.

Oh, and after feeling guilty about ignoring him for so long, I took Aapex Predator out for a spin, as well.  Now I’m going to feel guilty about reducing the entire thing to a footnote paragraph in passing.  “Oh, yeah, and Aapex was a disgusting death machine again.  Here’s Tom with the weather.”  I promise to try to maybe perhaps attempt to be less dismissive in the future, Aapex.  Please don’t slaughter my entire family.

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Aapex Predator enjoying the lighting and scenery in Meridia.

As you can see, even if I haven’t been writing about it (shame on me), I’ve still been quite busy on that delightful Orien server.

And, last but not least, to wrap up this rambly post – an update on where Thol’s Goals for 2015 stand.  Don’t panic, I’m not going to do one of those needlessly long per-character rambles that all say “done” over and over again.  Just the facts, that’s all we’re after.

Here’s what was left outstanding as of my last update:

  •         Tubbho Lard was to get back to 28 on his Morninglord life for bonus points.  Well, that’s done, two Heroic lives, and an Iconic life stacked on top of that.  Currently a Bladeforged Pallylock at 15, and he’s many lives past his triple-extended goals.  Done!
  •         Whong Fei-Hung was to get back to 28 for bonus points.  Done!  And now he has a cosmetic love letter to go with his cosmetic bouquet of flowers… so he’s now a mini-pimp deliverer of romantic sonnets of death.  Awww, yeahhh.
  •         Bholgrin Stoneforge still has four quests and ten raids to do.  It’s an improvement over his previous predicament, but he’s mostly been “maintaining” by completing the new packs.   Right now, Bhol is my biggest concern about being completed before the end of the year.
  •         Immano of Llawriennal was to finish Unyielding Sentinel.  He did that, made a few levels in Grandmaster of Flowers and Divine Crusader for twists, went to 28 using only 20 gear, and wrapped back around.  Ohh, yeah, he’s definitely qualified as “done plus.”
  •         Khail Ironfist only had to finish out the karma in Divine – that’s done.
  •         Mattok Shalefinder had to finish getting from 16 to 20 first, then have a complete Epic career, which he did, and finished up last night in proper fashion (watching a glacier explode).  Done!
  •         Varjek Lorebringer is missing some karma in his Primal sphere to get his 6M.  That’s.. not done.

So, in review, all that’s left is… wait, really?  All that’s left is Bholgrin’s missing quests and racking up some post-cap XP on Varjek?  Holy cow sauce, there’s still two months left of the year.  I can’t be done that early.  Two weeks, sure, but not two months.

What’s a player left to do?  Expand the goals once again!!! (This is getting nuts.  Why not just play quests on elite eight levels under?  Oh, right.  Nevermind.  –Ed.)

Since Tholgrin is trying to get his Epic Completionist out of the way before Level 30 drops.. let’s make that happen before the end of the year.  He’s a fresh 20 starting on his sixth life – five down, seven to go – so that’s only adding 46.2M experience points to earn in 59 days.  Shoot, that’s only 783K per day.  That’s totally doable.  Hardly a challenge at all… except stacked on top of Varjek missing another million-and-change and however long it takes for Bholgrin to finish his challenge.

Now things are getting interesting – and the clock is ticking!

And next – the fruits of a lot of research into low-level Epic Weaponry!

Druid Drama

Author’s Note:  By the time this gets posted, it will have been two days, but since I’m writing it now, I’m going to keep referring to the events as happening “yesterday.”  Deal with it!

So.. last night, I had a little nagging bug in my brain which took me quite by surprise.  I had launched DDO (while, apparently, I was as-yet unaffected by the login issues which plagued a bunch of folks) and was staring at my Character Selection screen when one of them caught my eye and practically demanded to be logged in.

Uldwin Skyreaver, Level 20 Druid.

Mind you, I haven’t logged into him for anything more than an occasional screenshot in probably over a year.  My original plan of action was to log on as Fei-Hung, the freshly reincarnated Shuricannon, to rack up some experience points before Socks got on and we may or may not bounce back to one of our Heroic toons.  That would have been a very efficient use of time, but I hesitated.

I shouldn’t have hesitated.  In retrospect, I should have just yelled at the fake orchids on the dining room table which is presently serving as my Temporary Battle Desk, logged in as Fei-Hung, and gone about my business throwing more shuriken than a full game of Shinobi every quest.  But I didn’t.  I logged Uldwin on.

I wrote a post a while back, called OMGWWITitis, which I had defined as “the agonizing pain of looking at a build which you have not played in a lengthy period of time, while moaning ‘oh my god, what was I thinking?‘ repeatedly and clutching your soul in abject misery.”  Or something to that effect.  Perhaps that was just the expanded scale of the case of OMGWWITitis inflicted upon my by my formerly beloved dire bear.

Disclaimer:  Yes, I’m aware that to fully optimize a melee druid, you must blah blah blah, and blah blah, and all that other crap.  This was a fun flavor build, a dwarven dire bear hate-tank full of bearquakes and halitosis.  I know bears aren’t optimized.   

I knew, when I logged him in, that I wasn’t expecting melee ferocity of the kind displayed by many of my other toons.  What I was expecting was “moderate to acceptable DPS, with acceptable survivability via Stoneskin, Nature’s Warrior PRR enhancements, bear benefits, and somewhat decent self-healing that could solo a low-level Epic Normal quest and/or wilderness area.”  All in all, not exactly high expectations.  In fact, that level of performance these days is what results in a character sticking at 20 and being first on my “to-be TR’ed” list.

Of course, those are for builds I’ve done before.  “That monk didn’t cut it?  Repurpose him or start over.”  I’ve only taken one (1) druid to level 20, who is primarily a melee toon (not being an arcane doesn’t change the fact I still make lousy casters), and he’s been gathering dust ever since he finished his Heroic career.

So I had to ask myself – why?  I have plenty of fond memories of being the snarling, two-ton slobber factory getting (and keeping) hostile attention with a flurry of bearquakes (Earthquake, Tremor, Alpha Strike, Great Cleave, and Cleave all mean the earth is always a-tremble when he’s around, even if the latter three are purely cosmetic).   I loved the constant bellows and roars and grunts, the demonic-sounding “rumble from beyond” whenever he cast a spell with more than a quick casting time.  These were great times, weren’t they?

I named his wolf pup after the most awesomest-er-est wolf/dog/? in video game history, Repede, from Tales of Vesperia.  There had been a few times where Repede had earned an MVP for diving straight into a hot zone, grabbing everyone’s soul stones, and hauling us all back to a shrine before the aggro could re-establish on him too much.  That was pretty awesome, wasn’t it?  I still adhere to the notion that the wolf pup AI trumps the mecha-doggy AI any day of the week, based on strings events similar to that, even though I haven’t played one in ages.  That’s still the case, isn’t it?

All of these thoughts flashed through my head, mostly subconsciously at the time, before I finally hovered my mouse over Uldwin’s name and double-clicked.

The first thing that caught my eye was that it had been so long since I’d played Uldwin seriously, that I hadn’t even established a UserChat window.  I’ve been employing UserChats on every character I play since – as close as I can tell – June of 2014.  (Or at least, that’s around the time they started showing up in my screenshots that still have the UI visible.)  So at least 14 months since I’ve seriously played him.  That makes Uldwin my oldest and most-ignored toon of my entire account.  That makes me somewhat sad.. perhaps that’s why I wound up logging him on against my better judgement.

I say that, because that lack of UserChats also acted as a bit of a harbinger of what was to come.  I say that, because as with most players, there were a few distinct “phases” of my playing evolution.. and UserChats happened long after I was rolling around in the hay with Elite difficulty.

You can get away with a lot of stuff on Hard that you can’t get away with on Elite.  You can get away with even more stuff on Normal than you can on Hard.  Uldwin was also my fourth toon ever… the math was not leaning in my favor.

After setting up my UserChats, I took a gander at his inventory window, and promptly got up from the table and walked away.  Granted, that was for a couple of pieces of Extra Sharp Cheddar, but that’s beside the point, it sounded better with the dramatic impact before I ruined it.  (Smooth job. –Ed.)  The truth of the matter remains, however, that I really did want to get up and walk away.  It was atrocious.

There were a few* saving graces, though.  Namely, a pair of Deadly VI Goggles of Accuracy IV with Masterful Craftsmanship.  Can’t ever go wrong with Deadly or Seeker on a melee, and the Accuracy helps make up for the moderately lousy BAB of +15.  A Wall of Wood in the shield slot, again, can’t really go wrong with that on a front-line druid that’ll need some self-healing.

Oh, wait.  It takes three to qualify as “a few.”  Two is “a couple.”  I suppose I should go back and edit the statement above to read “a couple of” saving graces in the equipment.  The rest could pretty much have been tossed into the vendor.

While I was in the middle of this, Socks logged on with one of his bank toons who never sees any real play time, looking for some wandering pieces of his Abishai Set for a recent TR project.  With only a small amount of whining, cajoling, and promises of doughnuts, we both set foot in Demon Assault in an attempt to score the new druid cloak, the Hide of the Fallen.  No, the Heroic one.  Because that’d have been an improvement.  No, I’m not kidding. And yes, I know now that the cloak doesn’t even drop there, but rather at the end of The Devil’s Details.

This is extra, extra eyeball-twitch-inducing due to the humiliating fact that we both died multiple times in the waves of demons, and had a bit of a hiccup during the boss fight that led to an… unorthodox completion.  Socks’ character has an excuse – he was on a bank toon.  Uldwin was, at one point, a “main” of mine.  Granted, that was back when I only had four toons, total, and none of them had ever hit twenty yet, but all of that is beside the point.

Also granted, Shavarath is known for being unforgiving and brutal.  I know that.  But.. you weren’t there.

It was bad, yo.  Bad.

At one point, Socks said, “I’m too embarrassed to even try.”  At least he wasn’t on a “real” toon!  (This point is debatable for Uldwin.  –Ed.)

Of course, it is after the fact that I remember a few things – most notably, the cloak doesn’t even drop in this quest.  (After four rerolls’ worth of Shards….. at least I got the Pendant of Quiet Movements, so it wasn’t a total wash.)  Also, all of the new loot is Bind to Account on Acquire, which means I could go and farm the cloak to my heart’s content on another toon, and pass it over.

Which is precisely what I did for a Fang of Siberys, later on.  (I was too peeved at The Cloak Incident to try that one again right away.)  Armed with that, I scoured the King’s Forest a few times, in the hopes of grinding up some faction commendations to get (at minimum) the PDK gauntlets – which would serve the whammy triple-purpose of upgrading his current (pathetic) Strength gloves, adding some Insightful Con, and (most importantly) healing amplification.

In the process, he managed to pull together approximately 70K XP, which bought him two ranks of Fast Healing.  In the process of doing that, I learned that Celerity + Action Boost: Doublestrike + Adrenaline + Alpha Strike = ZOMG I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THIS WITH ADRENALINE OVERLOAD.  Even with his pathetically meager equipment and infantile Epic Destiny, Uldwin was hitting whole crowds for 700+ damage, triggering Reaving Roars (enhancement) and Cloudbursts (Fang of Siberys) everywhere.  That… okay, I freely admit, that reminds me of the snarling bearquake of fun I remember having what seems like ages ago.

As it turns out, a bunch of my buddies were having difficulty logging on last night, which, as it turns out, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I have been known to get a teeny tiny bit obsessive (read:  over the top fanatic with tunnel vision) when I get a target in mind, and my target had suddenly shifted from “goof off with low-level Heroics and/or lay waste with a Shuricannon in Epics” to “drop everything until this overweight SUV-sized furball is geared to at least meet your minimum acceptable performance levels.”

It took two tries in the Reign of Madness arc (once on Khail and once on Madfinger, because, both of them already had Acute Delirium already completed but hadn’t finished the arc) to get the Fang of Siberys.  If you’re unfamiliar with that particular scimitar, it’s pretty much a Sireth Junior in scimi format for Heroic levels.  And that Cloudburst ability procs very frequently from when I was using it with bearquakes – at least one or two fired off for every pack of mobs, and on several occasions, three or more triggered back-to-back in the same AOE attack.  Delightful!  And pretty.  Pretty snarly.  Bear make things go boom.  Roar!

As for the rest of the gear – except the Hide of the Fallen, which I am definitely farming for – I’m halfway tempted to just tag along with “pity PUGs” or friends and just gear up along the way with things that drop.   

I’m not sure yet.  But I’m not quite ready to give up on the Dire Bear Freight Train, just yet… after all, Wally and Loghainn both came screaming out of left field and proved me very, very wrong before.  Here’s hoping!

Thol’s Goals for 2015, Progress Report #3

So once again, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything here.  Not that I’ve been away from playing DDO, just writing.  Because of reasons.  (Including a move that I’d been putting off for almost eight months that finally came to a head and required attention.)  But I digress.

Since the last time I’ve written, the Trials of the Archons quest pack has been released, and some delightfully tasty loot came with it.  Sadly, I’ve not completed the raid yet – I’ve been focused on other priorities, mostly – but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

I promise some “actual” content in the next few posts, honest.  Maybe.  In the meantime, here’s a bit of a catch-up on the progress towards Thol’s Wickedly Absurd And Ever-Expanding Goals List for 2015:

My apologies in advance if I re-used a picture for one of the toons.  Some I haven’t played in a while and I frankly don’t feel like scouring through thousands* of screenshots to get a “cool” one.

*literally

Mains

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Just hangin’ out in Snowy Gianthold… wait a minute…

Tholgrin Stoneforge, level 28 dwarf paladin

I have once again been reminded why I consider Thol to be my “main main” in spite of Uncle Tubbs having nearly four times the number of lives – Thol still knocks off into the stratosphere like a finishing move from Super Smash Bros. Melee.  He’s back at cap now, waiting to get his first Divine Sphere Epic Past Life, and the serious amount of fun I’ve had playing him makes me toy with the idea of getting Thol an Epic Completionist, as well.  Obviously, without the “rush to finish” that I did with Tubbs – which, at times, compromised my enjoyment of the game – but as an eventually goal.  Since he’s officially met his original goal (get back into Epics) and the optional goal (make 28), of course I had to add more to it.  I’ve decided he’s not allowed to ER until he has a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers in his back pocket.

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Nana-nana, nana-nana, nana-nana, nana-nana, BAT-PIMP!

Whong Fei-Hung, level 20 halfling shuricannon

When last we visited Fei-Hung the Mini-Pimp, he was sitting pretty at level cap with his flashy new shuriken, the Epic Dawnbringer, and doing…. not much of anything.  Well, I got bit by a bug the other night to play him again, for various reasons.  The “official” one is that I wanted him to have his final stack of Epic Past Life Fast Healing so he can then work towards getting his Doubleshot EPL’s from the same sphere.  (Yes, I’m aware they don’t stack and are mutually exclusive, but I like the versatility.)  The other reason is that I wanted to play something a little more… squishy than my typical divine war machine.  Plus, it’s always fun watching the pages and pages of numbers scream by the screen when playing a Shuricannon.  In any regards, he’s now back at 20 – and I’m going to be a jerk to myself and say he has to make it back to level cap, again, by the end of the year.  Because.   Oh, yes, and Fei-Hung has been promoted to a Main status!  Congratulations be to the fabulously fly four-foot* flinger!

*Fei-Hung is only 3’6″.

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Uncle Tubbs having a wilderness barbecue with some of the local Storm Horns wildlife.

Tubbho Lard, level 27 Morninglord monkleric

Since the last progress report, Uncle Tubbs has since hit his Epic Completionist (ding!) and has climbed his way to level 27 on a wonky hybrid of the Tubbho Special build engine with intent to score a second Cleric past life in addition to the Morninglord one.  At the moment, he’s 9 Monk/11 Cleric, and it’s…. different.  I still play him exactly as if he were in the tried-and-true 16 Monk/4 Cleric variant, I forget that I have “spells” now (well, more than Nightshield and Rejuvenation Cocoon, at least), and sorely miss the Abundant Step feat.  Oh, yeah, and he’s an elf.  Blech.  (Sorry, elf players, this writer is #stumpy4life.)  He’s only one solid push away from level cap, but I’ve been questioning whether I want to go for another Iconic Past Life, branch out into Heroic Completionist, or just settle back into the “final” life… I’m not sure.  Thankfully, that’s not a decision I have to make right this second, since he’s only a few hundred thousand XP away from making (and breaking) every retarded goal and challenge set in front of him thus far.

Alts

Aapex Predator, still level 28 Bladeforged paladin

Nothing new to report here, other than the fact he’s been demoted to Alt status… because I haven’t played him seriously in probably close to four months.  There really isn’t a reason why I haven’t played him – he doesn’t stink, his gear’s solid (not best-in-slot, but more than enough to hold his own), and his build is one I’ve sent through the wringer on more than one occasion to come out shining on the other side.  I think I’m reluctant to ER him more because other projects are keeping my attention than any other reason.  You’ll get your time in the limelight again, Aapex, I promise.

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Bholgrin taking in the new sights.

Bholgrin Stoneforge, level 28 dwarf romunkadin and official favor-farmer

Bholgrin, paladin-monk-rogue hybrid, favor farmer.  Off on what is proving to be my hardest challenge – or, at the very least, the slowest to progress – scoring 5,000 favor, a completion on every quest, and completion on every challenge.  Ideally, those will be Epic Elite or six-star completions, but given the progress he’s made (or moderate lack thereof), I think I’ll only enforce the “completion” aspect once he hits his five thousand favor mark.  The list is dwindling!  In fact, it’s so short, now, that here’s the complete list of all that’s left (in order of how likely I believe getting it finished will be):

  •         Quests:
  •         The Shipwrecked Spy  (I just haven’t done it yet)
  •         The Crucible  (same)
  •         Tomb of the Tormented   (because I’m not a masochist)
  •         The Cursed Crypt  (requirese the Tomb of the Sadists)
  •         Precious Cargo  (major pain to solo..  gotta get friends in on this)
  •         Raids:
  •         The Master Artificer
  •         Litany of the Dead  (need to put together a sigil)
  •         Ascension Chamber  (still need that sigil)
  •         The Fall of Truth
  •         Fire on Thunder Peak
  •         The Lord of Blades  (seems folks are still more scared of Bladesy than dragons)
  •         The Mark of Death
  •         Temple of the Deathwyrm
  •         The Twilight Forge
  •         The Titan Awakes  (is this still even in the LFM queue list??)

Savvy readers may notice that, as of the last progress report, Bholgrin had six quests and ten raids left.  Well, that has improved, if only slightly, to be five quests and ten raids left (not counting the new pack).  On the other hand, he did flag for Defiler of the Just and has his completions on all three of the new quests, so it only looks like he’s barely moved.  Oh, wait, no, he has… sigh.

Cupcaque Glitter Sprinkles (MHRIP), ex-level 12 half-orc ranger/rogue

Just this past weekend, I gave in to the temptation of something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while.  That’s right, I rerolled Cupcaque.  No, not a Lesser Reincarnation, a full-scale “remove everything BtA from character, strip all good gear and cosmetics, drop unbound items in guild chest, and head to the graveyard” reroll.  Why?  Frankly, I just couldn’t get into the build.  For those that are new to the blog, I’ve done my fair share of grinding builds out I didn’t like – I’ve got the time in the trenches, there – so for a less-than-serious, part-time character, I didn’t want it to be a grind.  (What, you took a character named Cupcaque Glitter Sprinkles seriously?)  So he’s been scrapped, and already his replacement – another half-orc, I did like Cupcaque’s look, after all – is level 4 and having a blast of silly fun.  Sorry, Cupcaque, you just didn’t cut it.  (Disclaimer:  I’m not saying ranger/rogues are bad.  What I am saying is that in the attempt to do “something new” – see the posts leading up to Cupcaque’s creation – the deviation from established successful patterns wound up being too much to hang in Elite content.  He whalloped on Hard, but the lack of Elite survivability led to mass frustration, which, in turn, led to being “not fun” and his eventual deletion.)

Felldar, level 28 Bladeforged palificer artadin

In all truth, I’m pretty sure the only time I’ve logged Felldar on since the last progress report was to pass an Epic Arm of the Archons over.  So…. inadvertently dusty.  Don’t worry, Fell, you’ll get back on the front lines again, soon.

Gorruk Bouldertongue, level 28 dwarf fighter

Dear lord, this was an exercise in patience!  As Gorruk is a pure fighter, he has no intrinsic self-healing, and is 100% reliant upon external sources.  Or was, until I brute-force mashed his way from Legendary Dreadnought over to Fury of the Wild – while the Fast Healing wasn’t in any way enough to be a main source of healing, it worked out great to keep hit point attrition from adding up too quickly.  In addition, twisting in Momentum Swing from LD made for a tasty axe-whirling wall-o-death, particularly with splashes of Adrenaline Overload and Fury Eternal running.  In short, I have no complaints about the offensive prowess of the build – if you’re one who is used to running with hires and/or a dedicated healer, then the CON-based stumpy great-axe Kensei with Throw Your Weight Around will probably be quite fun.  But considering I can achieve comparatively identical results (and, situationally, superior) with a near-invincible Knight of the Chalice paladin, I’ll spend my time over there.  As it is, Gorruk’s hit cap, found out the Epic Riftmaker is bugged (the Force Burst damage on-hit doesn’t work, but the on-crit does) and is back to the airship to await orders.

Immano of Llawriennal, perpetually level 20 elf clonk

I know, earlier I used “monkleric” to describe Uncle Tubbs, but that’s because he’s traditionally monk-primary with cleric splashed in, while Immano is the exact opposite at 17 Cleric/3 Monk.  His original goal for 2015 was to finally cap out Unyielding Sentinel (as you can continue to earn Destiny XP even while your banked XP is capped), and he was excluded from the optional goal to hit 28, on purpose.  As it is, he hasn’t been on much – mostly due to the fact the handful of friends I run with regularly and semi-regularly have been at offset levels, and he hasn’t been needed.  I’ll probably put his goal off until later, since it’s more of a “minor” goal.

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Kil getting decorating ideas.

Kiljoen Lorebringer, level 28 dwarf Fey warlock (and ex-sorcerer)

After hitting cap with Varjek – Kiljoen’s kiddo in the roleplaying sense – I got the crazy idea to perform an experiment with Kiljoen.  First off, the warlock is a pantload of fun to play, and very much my kind of arcane.  More importantly, I wanted concrete evidence to see what kind of difference pact selection does – and with the Heroic enhancement trees between Varjek and Kiljoen mirroring each other for 78/80 points (Varjek has all three points in Resist Energies, while Kiljoen has only one, and two points in Dwarven Runes instead), the answer is “a bloody lot.”  As of the last progress report, he was stuck in a rut as a level 22 Sorcerer with almost zero play time.. so the decision to TR him was a pretty easy one, and was made in about 34 seconds one afternoon.  More details to come in a later post.  The Heroic experiment completed, I took Kiljoen in a different direction for Epics, as well – Kiljoen is an Unyielding Sentinel primary, while Varjek is a Shiradi Champion, and once again, the differences are night and day.  While Kiljoen doesn’t have Varjek’s unnecessary DPS, he makes up for it in absurd defenses and survivability.  Either way you warlock it, they’re both still a blast… and since Kiljoen’s “official” goal was to hit level 23 so he could not equip Twilight, Element of Magic, he’s made that, and the optional goal he wasn’t even a part of when he was still a sorcerer.  Double ding-burger with cheese!

Khail Ironfist, level 28 dwarf monk

When last we visited Khail, he had already hit level 28 and completed both his Original and Optional goals for the year.  However, it’s bugging me that he’s one of a few characters that can’t ER right away, because his Destiny Sphere Karma is split amongst several spheres.  He was the first to create a “sub-goal,” in that making it to level 28 isn’t enough;  all of the toons must be ready to ER right away, should the notice that Level 30 is impending tomorrow come and they all need to snag their Epic Past Lives while they can.  He’s still roughly two million karma away, which is a bummer, but playing Khail is not.  So it all works out, and I just need to give him some attention here and there while loot-farming, which is precisely what I’ve been doing.  Woot!

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Whoa… cosmic, bro…

Loghainn Goldstrum, level 28 dwarf bard

Soooo.. he hit cap before the last progress report, and hasn’t seen a whole lot of action since then, aside from the occasional Shroud run for Shards.  I guess he’s too busy learning how to play Through the Fire and Flames on his lute in the airship, or something.

Madfinger Runewarden, level 28 dwarf artificer

My first artificer, Madfinger still makes me giggle whenever I play him.  He looks like a complete mad-scientist lunatic with a machine gun, plays pretty much the same way, and things explode everywhere.  It’s more like playing Call of DDO than anything else, and makes for quite a delightful change of pace.  I’ll probably ER/TR him at some point in the future, but that’s down the road – as it is, he’s met his original goal (equip Needle at 23) and the optional to get to cap – he was sitting tight at level 24 during the last progress report.    Ding!

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Demon Hunter Style!

Mattok Shalefinder, level 15 dwarf favored soul/paladin

After getting dragged kicking and screaming to level 20 in a wholly embarrassing pure cleric life, Socks decided he was going to TR one of his toons, and Mat was the natual choice to come along.  He had no promising Epic career as a pacifist healer, any way… but I digress.  Since the last progress report, I’ve added five of the planned six paladin levels (final concept – 14 Favored Soul Warpriest/6 Paladin Vanguard) and am so far pretty pleased with the results.  His DPS isn’t up where a fully offensive build would be, but, that isn’t his intent – he’s more a mashup of defender/healer/hate tank, and is working that job quite well, and his damage output is still pretty solid.  Plus, he looks cool.  And that’s what’s important, right?  Granted, he still has to make it to twenty, and then to level cap in order to qualify as having met his goals, so… after a lengthy string of dings, Mat gets to look bad (again) by breaking the streak.  Sorry, Mat!  I’ll get to you soon!  For honests!

Murq, level 4 half-orc paladin/monk intern

After Cupcaque went off to the Happy Animal Farm in the Sky, I replaced him with Murq.  As his bio states, “Murq, and his brother Hwukk, were both lovingly named after the two primary sounds made when dry-heaving.”  At level 4, the build hasn’t come into its own yet and hasn’t had a chance to shine, but he’s still been having fun in the Harbor Elites wrecking shop.  As of right now, the idea is to go for a dual-longsword 18 Pally KotC/2 Monk, but that is subject to change at any time and without prior notice from the management.  Since I iced Cupcaque before he met his goal, I should probably do the “honest” thing and slide Cupcaque’s slot over to Murq, and have him finish out a Heroic career.  We’ll see.  For the time being, Murq is a no-expectations fun toon.

Orsyn Burr, level 28 dwarf palificer artadin

As of the last progress report, Orsyn was level 24 and not getting much game time.  Honestly, I wasn’t really thrilled with his performance – as I’ve said before, he’s not Felldar, the same exact build but in Bladeforged – and the differences between races in this build make a night-and-day contrast.  What I’m getting around the bush to saying, is that I sat down with a sov pot and ground the hell out of Orsyn until he was 28.  The summary between the two stories is this:  Felldar the Palificer – screamed to level 28 without blinking;  Orsyn the Palificer – limped and dragged his chin on the ground until level 28, with a triumphant “Oh thank GOD that’s done!” at the end.  The Palificer Artadin build is amazingly powerful in the hands of a Bladeforged on both Heroic and Epic;  the dwarven version is still pretty bloody brutal in Heroic, but the jump to Epic was less than smooth.  But, he’s done!  So we’re back on the Ding Machine.

Uldwin Skyreaver, level 20 dwarf druid

Whooooooo buddy… Uldwin here is going to need his own entire post to express the feelings that washed over me last night, when I decided to toss caution to the wind and log him on.  Originally, he was exempt from all goals for 2015, but… it was bothering me, having a dwarf (of all things!) at level 20 nestled between a veritable list of 28’s on either side.  So I logged him on……. I might still have to keep him exempt.  More coming in the next post.

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Cold weather? Solution: AXE.

Uldwena Skyreaver, level 28 dwarf barbarianess & poet

Uldwin’s younger sister has none of the same compunctions that he does.  She hasn’t seen much action since hitting level cap before the last progress report, aside from picking up an Epic Riftmaker from the shared bank that was set aside for her (yes, I scored two!  Woot!) and to strut about with her new toy for a few minutes.  Since then, she’s been awaiting orders.

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“Hey, doc… listen.. yeah, I know you said my hands would burn for a while, after that weekend in Vegas… but, could you do something about the giant laser beam coming out of my head?”

Varjek Lorebringer, level 28 dwarf Pit Fiend warlock (and ex-wizard)

When the warlock was first released, of course I wanted to try it immediately, if not sooner.  At the time, Kiljoen was still a sorcerer at level 22 with the chance of completing his original goal (hit 23) without having to TR;  Varjek didn’t even have a goal, and as such, he was the natural choice.  And so was Pit Fiend for the first go, because, hello?  Devils?  Killing things?  Fire?  That was a no-brainer.  He went from “having no goals” to TRing to completing a Heroic career at record speeds (“sure, I can hang in Elite Gianthold at level 9”) to quite literally lighting Epic content on fire and watching two worlds burn.  I can’t tell you how many giggles and squees I had playing this build – Pit Fiend pact, Soul Eater primary, Tainted Scholar for chain/pact damage/crit damage, and eight or so points splashed into Enlightened Spirit for Resist Energies and Perma-Shield.  Getting Double Rainbow from Shiradi just made things that much more comical, and his Shiradi procs regularly hit in the 5,600-8,000 range.  Completely.  Unnecessary.  Damage.  On the other hand, the cost for all of that firepower was that he was a touch on the squishy side, but only for things that actually survived long enough to hit him.  Which was less often than one might think.  In short, I’m counting him as a double-ding, since he didn’t even have goals and has since finished out a Heroic and Epic career…… now, only to get the three million and change remaining to cap out the Primal sphere so he can be ER-ready.

Walreign Aggron, level 28 dwarf ranger ghost

Wally had already hit both of his goals – equip Pinion at 23, and the optional to get to cap – before the last progress report had been written.  Since then, nothing much has changed, aside from the occasional sneak through content as a ghost, for the sole purpose of actually pulling it off.  In short, he’s still done and done.

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“Hmm, what’s this do if I poke it? D’aww, it don’t do nuthin’ but tickle..”

Whall, level 28 dwarf favored soul

Still capped, still better-armored than an M1A1 Abrams tank.  And jumpier, too!  Whall finished his goals out long before the first progress report even came out.  As such, he hasn’t done much aside from an occasional BtA loot run here and there.  But, hey, that’s still a completion, right?  Right.

And the Recap!

So what’s left for the intrepid adventurers from Full Moon Fury to accomplish in 2015?  For no other reason than I get to jump up and down and say “Yay, I did it?”  Well, except for the jumping, because that would require effort, and I’m pretty sure the floorboards wouldn’t appreciate it.  Hell, they don’t appreciate me now, as-is, even sans jumping.

Plus, I think my personal Jump skill is somewhere in the negatives.  Alas, I digress.

So here’s how things stand, for :

  •         Tubbho Lard has to do… absolutely nothing at all.  He’s finished every goal laid out for him.  I’d like to get him back to 28 again, but as he’s already partway through 27, that won’t take long, and is purely for bonus points (1.275M, give or take a hundred thousand or so).
  •         Whong Fei-Hung has to do…. absolutely nothing at all, aside from get back from 20 to 28, again, purely for bonus points (roughly 6.5M to go).
  •         Bholgrin Stoneforge appears to have the short end of the stick, requiring completion of five quests, ten raids (not counting Defiler of the Just as it just launched), and a bunch of challenges, as well as finish out the last ~300 or so favor points.  Something tells me I’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the coming months.
  •         Cupcaque Glitter Sprinkles is dead, so, pfft.
  •         Immano of Llawriennal needs to finish the last level of Unyielding Sentinel.  Last time I checked, he had just achieved US level 4, so that’s probably nine ranks (5 to make level 5, then 4 more to cap it; give or take 900K).
  •         Khail Ironfist needs to wrap up the 6,000,000 karma needed for the Divine sphere;  pretty sure it’s approximately 2M left, and just for bonus points.
  •         Mattok Shalefinder still has to get to 20 to finish his Heroic career (currently 15) and then take it to 28.  That’s approximately 7.875M total XP.
  •         Murq is undecided whether or not he’ll enter the fray or not.  If I do, he’ll need to get to 20, first, and then decide things… which is roughly 1.85M XP away.  No big deal!
  •         Varjek Lorebringer, much like Khail, needs to acquire approximately 3.6M XP to finish up the Primal Destiny sphere, even though he’s already at cap, for bonus points.

And that’s it!!  22.15M XP to go in total, with 13.375M of which being for bonus points!  It may sound like a lot, but considering at one point not so very long ago, Uncle Tubbs alone had over 40M XP to detonate, that’s not terribly daunting at all.  Of course, if I include Murq in the list – which I probably should, since Cupcaque was dropped out – then it’s still only 20.4M XP to earn in just over three months.

After the last three progress reports.. twenty-two million XP in three and a half months is reminiscent of RuPaul saying “Gurrrl, Please.”  The only one that I’m moderately worried about is Bholgrin’s challenge – one would think that only a handful of quests and raids wouldn’t be so bad.. and if I actually set my mind to it, it might turn out to be that way.  Who knows?  I’ll keep you posted – but next, DRUID DRAMA!!

My Kind of Arcane

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Try to set my hands on FIRE!! Gotta set the hands on FIRE!!!

So this Sunday, I gave in to the temptation.

While I should have been working on the numerous goals on my agenda – and I still am – there had been a thought, on a number of occasions, to TR Varjek Lorebringer, my dwarf Pale Master necromancer.  Mostly because I wasn’t satisfied with his life as a caster.. big surprise, coming from myself.  However, every time the notion came up, I kept pushing it aside, since he was an “arcane” character and I made lousy arcanes.

But the fact he was sitting there stuck at 20, with no real plans to go anywhere, was bothering me.

Enter the Warlock class.

Socks and I had recently partaken in a “slum night,” whereby we hop to another server (where we both have plenty of character slots) and roll up some crazy toon ideas.  Half of it is to experiment, half of it is to blow off steam, and half of it is to just enjoy the game without any real obligations.  And yes, that’s three halves.  Three halves can make a whole;  clearly you’ve never heard of Manbearpig, if you think otherwise.

It was during this slum night that I decided to goof off with a Warlock.  I’d been enamored with the idea of one, ever since the idea of forming a blood pact with a Pit Fiend became known as an option.  I imagine the conversation between myself and the character generation screen went something like this:

“Now, you must select your pact!  Choose wisely, for this will affect every aspect of your character from here on out, and –”

“Pit fiend.”

“You can choose that, or –”

“Pit fiend.”

“But there are two other – “

“Pit fiend, already!”

“Are you sure….”

“I’m going to stab you if you keep talking.”

“Right, then, definitely pit fiend.. you were in Slytherin, weren’t you?”

“Nope, Hufflepuff.”

“I suppose the Hat can’t always be right..”

In any case, this little Soul Eater/Pit Fiend warlock – with no gear other than the default Morninglord at 15 – went about and decimated everything.  Nothing was left in its wake.  Anything that could have posed a threat was Consumed and Strickened and crumpled to ashen dust in seconds.  And yes, that was on Elite.  Under-leveled, even, with no real gear to speak of.

With that memory nagging on my brain for days, I looked at Varjek on the login screen, was reminded of my sizeable stash of Tokens of the Twelve just waiting in the bank to be used, and minutes later, Varjek was reborn as a Warlock.

Yes, he’s still a dwarf.  DUH.   And yes, he’s still Charisma based.  Because, reasons.  #stumpy4life

A few minutes later, he was flinging Eldritch Blasts and fireballs all over K-town.  With the exception of a few points splashed into Tainted Scholar for Strong Pact (+1d4 Pact Damage Die each), some extra spell points, and the most important part – Eldritch Blast Shape:  Chain – everything else was spent in Soul Eater.  Because there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of LITERALLY EATING YOUR OPPONENT’S SOUL TO HEAL.  Nom nom nom!  I mean, let’s get this straight – I get to 1) debuff you, 2) jack you up, 3) cause a DOT effect, and 4) heal myself, all without costing a single spell point?  Oh me, oh my, this is my kind of arcane.

It’s like they were reading my mind to create the Soul Eater tree.  Straight up my alley, and Varjek’s as well – after all, what better way for a mediocre Necromancer to restart his career as, other than a traitor to every mortal in Eberron, empowered by the Kings of the Devils who wish to murder and enslave everyone?  Check, check, and Czech.  This was a no-brainer, really, as it fit my whims to TR Varjek, the desire to play a Warlock for real, and in fitting with his biographical lore.  So much win!

If you’re still reading my mind, Turbine, get on with making the dwarforged, already!

But I digress, back to the playstyle as a whole.  If you dislike evokers, then the Warlock probably isn’t for you.  Varjek’s build, at least, is a terrifyingly powerful deliverer of mass pain and death;  he streaked all the way through from creation through Waterworks and level 4.1, solo, Elite, no hire, with only a handful of potions to deal with hit point attrition.  The idea of attempting a similar feat with a sorcerer or wizard class makes me want to consider ritual vasectomy.  As it is, he’s standing at 5.2 and waiting with bated breath until I can get home, log on, and lay down some more pain.

As for later levels, I’m not terribly concerned with scaling to higher Heroic content;  as it was, the level 15 Morninglord Warlock, first life, no gear, with whacked-out feats (as it was, I didn’t know what I was doing, and may or may not have been highly inebriated during the creation process) was still gleefully underleveling through level 17 content.

Epic, on the other hand, may be an issue.  There exists a dramatic rift between what you can get away with in Heroic, and what works in Epic.  This becomes exponentially more true with the schism between Epic Hard and Epic Elite.  I honestly have no idea whether the damage scaling will be enough to make a Warlock viable as a DPS machine then;  however, not being tied to a spell point pool as more “traditional” nukers are will be dramatically beneficial – or, at least on paper.

Of course, I still have to get Varjek to 20.  For the most part, the gear he currently has is less than useful, as he was a repository of purely necromantic gear, which won’t come into play in any way, shape, or form until level 12 at the bare minimum (when Finger of Death becomes an SLA [!!!]).   In the meantime, he’s going to have to troll about for things that would be more beneficial.

Some things of note, regarding the class, however:  first and foremost, the Eldritch Blast does not track like Magic Missiles or rune arm blasts.  You aim, you fire, and the blast travels in a somewhat slow speed in the direction you were aiming in.  If the enemy has moved since then, they’ll probably be out of reach, but it can do some “splash damage” (so to speak) as it passes by, even if its not a direct hit.  On the other hand, you can use this to lead shots on, firing them off so the enemy’s pathing takes them straight into it.  It takes some creative maneuvering and a little bit of getting used to, but once you do, is well worth the chaos that ensues.

Also, your pact determines some of the spells that are available to you;  for example, Rage is automatically granted as part of the Fiend pact, as is Command.  I’m not entirely certain whether I’m enamored with this aspect or not, yet, but we’ll see how things go.  Thus far, the low-level Warlock spell selection seems to be more oriented towards debuffs and defense, although I seem to recall a fair number of utility spells available at later levels.  For the most part, this seems to offset the Warlock’s rather skimpy spell point pool, since there really isn’t that much to cast, and most of  your offense is focused on the Eldritch Blast, anyway.

In short, I, for one, am having a bleeding beached whale of a time devastating the masses of Stormreach, and enjoying Varjek’s move from “unplayable character” to “Arriatrikos’ Avatar of Destruction.”  I can’t wait to see what the rest of Heroic brings.

Epic Completionist

Well, it finally happened last night.

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What does the dynamite say? BOOM.

It took a while, sure, but Uncle Tubbs finally scored his Epic Completionist – against my better judgement, I decided to crank out that last level before taking a break on the toon;  luckily, I don’t feel burnt out, just relieved that the challenge is done.  So now he gets to reincarnate into a Morninglord – but also spend some time in Heroics, which will be a welcome change.

Socks’ sorcerer side project, dubbed the “Creepy Uncle” build (because it spams Earthgrabs everywhere for the melees to flatten) still has a ways to go to 28 before it does an Iconic Reincarnation;  as it stands, Madfinger the Artificer is still 25, and Khail the Pure Shintao Monk Who Is Totally Not Trying To Be Uncle Tubbs, Jr. is 28, but due to a bit of stupidity on my part, still requires Karma in a sphere to be able to Epic Reincarnate.

A note to those players who are new to Epics – try and keep each Epic Life focused onto one destiny sphere (Arcane, Divine, Martial, or Primal).  ERing requires 6,000,000 Karma (read:  XP earned while in a sphere) in order to benefit from a past life;  an entire Epic Life is 6,600,000 XP, which means you only have a very small window with which to play in if you’re going to cross spheres.  Doing something like I did with Khail – he started in Grandmaster of Flowers, capped it, then after a short while bounced to Unyielding Sentinel – means your Karma is then cut between two spheres.  Now, congratulations, you’re 28, and still have to grind out more experience to be eligible for an Epic Past Life.  Not very efficient.  Oh, well!  What’s done is done.  Khail will recover, and in the process, bank some Heart Seeds for later use.

So one of the two biggest hurdles for the year is now finished.  That’s quite a nice feeling, I have to admit.  Although, if I’m going to be completely and totally honest, I technically “cheated” and used a Silver Daily Dice roll to wrap up the last splash of XP – you’d have probably done the same! – since when the dust settled on the last quest for the night, I had literally 5,599,996 XP.  Four (4) sodding points away!  FOUR!!  You couldn’t even see the sliver that was missing on the progress bar!  You teasing bastards!  Grr.  Anyway, it is done.

While it isn’t a measure of how long it took Uncle Tubbs, specifically, to accomplish, but rather my account, it took two years, one month, and three days to attain.  The King of Corpulence himself, if my memory serves me correctly, was rolled up about June, 2014.  Give or take.  That’s a pretty loose estimate and could very easily go six months before that;  I’m not entirely honest.  I’d love to know exactly when he was “born,” so to say, just to keep things in perspective.  Who knows, I might just send a note in to Turbine Customer Support to see if they can check it out for me.  I’d love to say that I squeezed out Epic Completionist within a year!  Take that, expectations!  (Of course, I can’t say that, yet…)

Now off to the rest of the plans for the year!