Mattok

32 Raids in 24 Hours

This past weekend was a holiday one in the United States, and I would like to think I took good advantage of that fact.  Let’s start at the end and go backwards.  Why?  Because I can.

The final thing that happened before I logged off was the acquisition of the one and only Hellpuppy, the Monster Manual creature companion for slaughtering a metric butt-ton of Hellhounds.  When shrunken down to such small dimensions, he kind of looks more like a disfigured chihuahua, but I suppose that adds to the charm in its own way.

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Ain’t he adorable?  I named him Roger.  Because, reasons.

Immediately prior to that was the completion of a completely berserk number of raids in a single day.  Because of course I couldn’t just leave last years’ 20 Shrouds in 24 Hours stunt alone, now, could I?  Of course not.  That would be silly, and while I am silly, I don’t do silly things.  Often.  I’m lying.  Frequently.  But that’s all beside the point.

Let’s take a quick gander at what transpired on Holiday Monday alone:

  •         Twenty runs (in a row!) of Fire on Thunder Peak (resulting in the Dragon Masque for Whong Fei-Hung the Halfling Shuricannon and Mini-Pimp, which trumps his previously meh helmet (that offered almost nothing), adding Negative Energy each star (which he throws at the rate of 1.2 billion per millisecond), adding Deception (yet another per-star proc), Insightful Sneak Attack (to a Ninja Spy’s already per-star sneak attack), and Deadly XI.  Okay, the Deadly XI is already on the Epic Dawnbringer, but now it’s not star-specific.)  Oh, and (((excessive parentheses))).  I may or may not have proposed marriage to Tharaxata the Dragon while we were having alone time.  Folks that were present in the raid may or may not have heard me bellowing “Why won’t you love me?!?” while flinging my halfling monk at her chest.  It was the bouquet of flowers in his off-hand she was so enamored with, I’m positive of it.  None of that makes sense.  But, then again, none of the whole day made sense.
  •         Three runs of Legendary Shroud, on various toons (Wally the Ghost Archer, Whong the Shuricannon, and Orsyn the Ghost Mechanic).  Lots of materials for Legendary Green Steel, which puts me that much closer to finishing off Tholgrin’s LGS Great Axe.  Also started up an LGS Great Crossbow for Orsyn, and an LGS Shuriken for Fei-Hung.
  •         Two runs of Legendary Hound of Xoriat (two successful, that is, there were actually four, but the puppies glitched out on two runs and had to be restarted) on Fei-Hung and Orsyn.
  •         Four runs of Legendary Tempest’s Spine which resulted in not a single set of the Leathers of the Celestial Archer which Orsyn has been drooling over since they came out.  At least they can be purchased for Xorian Runes, once I acquire enough of them – which in no way led to me running LHoX.  Where the Leathers also have a chance to drop.  Nope, not related at all.  For honests.  I’m lying.  It seems I’m doing that a lot, today.
  •         One run of The Mark of Death on Bholgrin Stoneforge the Romunkadin Favormaster (12 Pal/7 Mnk/1 Rog) which resulted in everybody getting skunked (except for Masterwork Tapestry Shreds).  Sadface.
  •         Two runs of Defiler of the Just on my primary Paladins, Tholgrin Stoneforge (Knight of the Chalice brute) and Mattok Shalefinder (Vanguard hate-tank), which resulted in someone getting lucky and pulling the Boots of Blessed Travels and Mattok still not having a Fellblade. Meh.  I can’t get too greedy, though, as Mat pulled Ultimatum on Friday.  Woohoo!

For those of you keeping track at home, that is thirty-two raids in a single day, with a lot of toon-switching and a lot of bypass timers.  Well, a lot more than is demonstrated above, because as we go back in time, the weekend was still rolling.

Okay, not rolling nearly as quickly as the weekend ended, that’s for sure.  Monday was off-the-wall insane.  There were a number of raids pulled from Friday through Sunday, though, which I’m sure was bolstered by the +5% per-party-member Buddy Weekend Bonus.  (After all, a full raid party then nets +55% XP.)  I won’t bore you with the details of the other three days, as they’re nothing compared to what you just read.

As for an update on the rest of the toons – Uncle Tubbs is now sitting tight at 28 on his “rogue” life, wherein he’s essentially a carbon copy of Orsyn Burr’s build, just with a wizard level that I couldn’t be arsed to Lesser Reincarnate out.  The goal being to rack up Tubbs’ first Deep Gnome past life, as well as score a Heroic Rogue past life, as well.  After that, it’s only Fighter and Ranger left to strike up a Heroic Completionist.

Aapex Predator the Paladin pulled his Jack Jibbers’ blade over the weekend, and Khail Ironfist the Shintao Monk finished his Green Steel Weave Boots, getting both of them marked off the Checklist.  In addition, even though he was “excluded” from the ‘List for Ioun Stones, I went ahead and unsuppressed his.  Now that’s the 20th Unsuppressed Ioun Stone on this account, and I can finally put the Dreaming Dark to rest.  For good.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my pure Artificer, Madfinger Runewarden, is currently a hot bloody mess.  Note I am not stating the class is a mess, just that toon – I did several runs with him whilst trying to get his Jack’s blade, and each one made me feel the need to ingest the contents of a box of dishwasher detergent.  Rather than finish up his farming amidst screaming fits of hateful pseudo-teenage angst, I have decided that Bholgrin’s quest for Epic Completionist (that’d be EC #3 for the account) will be delayed by one Epic Career, during which point I will repurpose Madfinger into a hybrid melee-ranged artificer in much the same theory as made the Palificer Artadin a delight to play.  The only further inquiry is whether to go Bastard Sword or Dwarven Axe for the melee part – there are still a few minor details to iron out.

Hopefully, that will make the rotund engineer more enjoyable to play.  Plus, his skills currently are shot, and “repairing” his build at this point would require a reincarnation to begin with.  Might as well check him off for “wings” and get an Epic Past Life in the process, right?  Right.

Anyhoo, I’m out of time for this lunch break update.  More to come in the future.

Oh, and P.S. – I had no less than eight random people inform me that I probably need to seek professional help.  I also may or may not have been having debates with myself in three different voices at the time.  (It takes a special kind of “speshul” to lose your own argument with yourself. –Ed.)  Oh, well…

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!

 

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!

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!!

Thol’s Goals for 2015, Progress Report #2

So it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything, and for that, I apologize.  I haven’t been away from the game, though, just away from blogging – mostly since my standard writing time (lunch breaks at work) have been taken up with other things.  Namely, actually eating.

Anyhoo, let’s take a moment and see just where we stand on the Goals for 2015.. along with some updates to the “Optional Epic Challenge” I’ve presented myself of getting every Epic-ready toon to level cap!

“Mains”

Tholgrin Stoneforgelevel 24 dwarf paladin

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Thol having some fun in EDA at the beginning of this Epic life.

His Original Goal for 2015 was to “get back into Epics,” as he was only level 14 at the time it was written.  Since then, he’s hit 20, slid over to Primal, capped those destinies, scored himself a Past Life regeneration feat, and is working his way back up.  While he is technically not currently sitting at 28, I’m still calling the Optional Epic Goal a completion, since he did hit 28 after it was written, and scored his past life.  So there.  Plus, he’ll probably make 28 again, anyway.  Off to a good start!

Aapex Predatorlevel 28 Bladeforged paladin

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Ensuring the safety of Eveningstar’s rooftops since 2014.

Aapex.. well, there’s not much to be said here.  He was already capped at 28, and didn’t have any discernible goals (other than “be less pointy,” apparently), so here he sits.  Alone.  Luckily, he’s a Bladeforged paladin, so the only feelings he has are to kill all fleshlings, because otherwise, that might get somewhat awkward and lonesome.  Hold on… we might need to talk about that whole “kill all fleshlings” thing, again…..

Tubbho “Uncle Tubbs” Lardlevel 27 dwarf monkleric

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Uncle Tubbs checking out the Creation Forge.  Hey, that’s where Aapex was born!  Oh, I probably shouldn’t tell him Tubbs is on the way to kick the snot out of his deity, huh?

Uncle Tubbs is within spitting distance of his 2nd Divine sphere life, with only one remaining until Epic Completionist!  Every sphere is capped (although Exalted Angel was a bit like pulling teeth on a melee-centric monk), he’s finished up getting his Alchemical Handwraps to Tier 2 (may of the runs solo), and I even put some forethought out and purchased the Sun Elf Morninglord Iconic race in anticipation for where his build is going to go after Epic Completionist.  (For the record, he’s not switching over to the Iconic race, but rather getting the Iconic Past Life feats, and possibly, two more Cleric Heroic Past Lives in the process.)  In short, things are going well for the King of Corpulence, with less than 7 million XP to earn by the end of the year to have met his goal.

Alts

Bholgrin Stoneforgelevel 28 dwarf romunkadin

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Tower of Despair: Check!

I’ve been steadily plodding along on Bholgrin’s list of quests-to-do.  His Original Goal was to score 5,000 favor, then supplement it with get five gold stars on every challenge.  Whew!  Nothing like a small order!  I’ve narrowed it down to only six (6!!!) quests left to complete.. of course, there’s also 10 raids.  But then, that’s it!  That’s everything!  Totally doable!  I just can’t mark it off as completed, yet.

Cupcaque Glitter Sprinkleslevel 12 half-orc ranger/rogue

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These swords are super-stealthy! The label told me so!

After having some brilliant success with Wally the Ranger (see below) in his Epic career, I couldn’t help but think how much altering Cupcaque’s play style to incorporate stealth would benefit him.  See, Cupcaque has been a bit of a glass cannon – he can lay down some serious pain, but takes it like a hemophiliac schoolgirl.  (My apologies to any hemophiliac female students.  -Ed.)  Even if he can’t ghost to quite the same extent that Wally can, the few seconds of surprise advantage that sneaking in gives you lends Total Encounter Control – I pick who dies first, while the other enemies are coming to their senses and only beginning to react as their comrade’s corpse hits the ground.  Thus, saving him quite a bit of pain and anguish in the process.  The above shot was taken before Socks and I took on Diplomatic Impunity and strolled out with seven kills.  What a rush!  However, he hasn’t finished his Original Goal for 2015, which is to complete his Heroic career – it’s something I’ll have to get back to work on.

Felldar, level 28 Bladeforged palificer artadin

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I believe your interior decorator might be somewhat obsessed with the color purple..

The revamp of the Palificer Artadin build, Felldar was a blast to play right out of the gate.  He screamed through Heroics and nuked his way through Epics, shattering his Original Goal (make it to 20) and the Optional Epic Goal (cap at 28) without much hassle at all.  Truth be told, I’m ranking it as one of my better multiclass builds (second only to the “Tubbho Special“) and is one I recommend to anyone with the Bladeforged Iconic race pack.  Oh, and he finished up both of his goals for the year, so.. awesome!

Gorruk Bouldertonguelevel 21 dwarf fighter

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Grr! I’m a fighter! I’m intimidating! Roar! How does this go?

Gorruk didn’t have any Original Goals for 2015, so in that sense, he’s good as gravy.  However, he isn’t excluded from the Optional Epic Goal, mostly because he isn’t a caster and is otherwise capable.  In that sense, he’s still a ways off, since he’s only level 21, and has a bit of a road ahead.  Should be interesting, what without any real means of self-healing at this point in time..!

Immano of Llawriennal, perpetually level 20 elf clonk

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“So that’s what goes on in the Inspired Quarter behind closed doors,” he says, trying to justify peeping into windows from the rooftops.

I should mark Immano as “excluded” from the Optional Epic Goal of “getting every Epic-ready toon to 28.”  The reason for this is Immano is used exclusively at level 20 to help other players on that Last Push to 20 or to provide introductory Epic Level help (without completely flattening the opposition;  that first step into Epic territory on a toon’s life can be pretty traumatic, but they’re lessons that need to be learned, not steamrolled past).  As such, he probably won’t ever see 21.  He is, however, still supposed to meet his Original Goal for 2015, which was to finish Unyielding Sentinel… which he has not done.  He’s just stepped into level 4, and has a bit of a ways to go.  So that’s one that isn’t finished yet.

Kiljoen Lorebringerlevel 22 dwarf sorcerer

Kiljoen Lorebringer

Okay, so I re-used an image. Sue me!

The original “Not A Pyromaniac,” Kiljoen did have a goal for 2015:  reach 23, so he can not equip Twilight, Element of Magic (from a Raider’s Reward box, of course).  Yes, I know, that makes no sense, whatsoever.  He hasn’t seen a whole lot of play time – although, I have logged him on a few times (and played in Epic!) just so that it cannot be said I “haven’t played him at all.”  Just not much.  Although there was this one Epic Elite Lords of Dust run…. yeah, thanks for that one, Esh.  Remind me not to let you pick the difficulty when I’m playing my gimpy flamethrower, next time.  In any case, he’s excluded from the current Optional Epic Goal of 2015 (alongside Uldwin, Varjek, and Loghainn*), so is only a little ways away from meeting his requirements for the year, as he’s partway done with 22.

Khail Ironfistlevel 28 dwarf monk

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They always did say the sky was the limit..

Khail’s Original Goal was merely to reach level 23, equip Antipode, oh and cap out Grandmaster of Flowers.  He did that, and Unyielding, finished his Sun Soul Set, lesser reincarnated, rebuilt himself from the ground up, and then skidded into level cap sideways and out of breath.  That’s pretty tricky for a monk, being out of breath, I mean.  In short, both of his Original and Optional goals were met, without even breaking stride.  I may consider ER/TRing him later down the road, but we’ll see.  After all, he plays like a carbon copy of Uncle Tubbs, and I don’t want to burn out on my Shintao fun!

Loghainn Goldstrumlevel 28 dwarf bard

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Dwarf, check. Bard outfit, check. Balizarde, check. Orb of Golden Death, check. Elemental Victory, check.

If you’d asked me two months ago if I’d ever log Loghainn on with the intent of doing anything more than embarrass myself, I’d have laughed.  Quite heartily.  As it turns out, that sort of bothered me, that I couldn’t “find his groove” as a character.  So I did what any logical person would do – no, not reroll him – figure out what wasn’t working and experiment repeatedly (along with some advice from forums and the like) until I found it.  And oh, when I found it, it was awesome.  With a bit of re-gearing and re-speccing, he screamed to 28 without so much as blinking.  This, from the bard I’d previously loathed to play… who now has a Temple of Elemental Evil Tier 2 rapier waiting for level 7, followed by a double-imbued Green Steel rapier for level 12… suddenly having an interest in a possible Heroic re-run to wipe the pain of my original leveling process to 20.  Plus, there’s always something fun about filling your screen with helpless people… but I digress.  Since he, as with a few other toons, didn’t even have an Original Goal for 2015, he met that, as well as the Optional Challenge – oh, wait!  Loghainn was excluded from the Optional Challenge, because I couldn’t stomach the idea of playing him in Epics.  So not just a single, not just a double, but a TRIPLE whammy.  Take that!

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Nobody move!

Madfinger Runewardenlevel 24 dwarf artificer

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My original artificer, Madfinger’s Original Goal – which I was “going to get to sometime in the fall,” was taken care of back in February (equip Needle, Quill-Slinger after attaining 23).  He’s sitting pretty at 24 right now, quite happily tinkering and playing with his mecha-doggy, Fritz.  I have a feeling that he’ll take over my new “rear line” position, since Fei-Hung the Shuricannon and Wally the Ghost Ranger are both capped out… and he still needs to make it to 28 for his Optional Epic Goal for the year, anyhow!

Mattok Shalefinderlevel 12 dwarf favored soul/paladin

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“To combat evil, you must come to know evil…”

Mat’s Original Goal for 2015 was to merely make it to Epics.  Well, he did that, and kinda sorta got TR’ed alongside one of Socks’ side projects.  I had originally designed Mat to be a carbon copy of Whall’s lunatic defense favored-soul-pretending-to-be-a-Sacred-Defender build, but kind of got sidetracked halfway along, and decided to splash in a little bit of Paladin Vanguard… because, why not?  Free Heavy Armor Proficiency, shield rushes, enhanced shield capabilities, immunities, Lay on Hands…. you get the idea.  Granted, that will drop down the number of Spell Points available, but… frankly, who cares?  Whall never got below 80% Spell Points anyway, and thus far, Mat’s appearing to be quite the same.  Now, technically, his Optional Epic Goal hasn’t been met, since he never went all the way to 28… so I suppose he’s now backtracked and needs to make it to 20 and 28 to re-achieve goal completion.  Or I could mark him as exempt.  After all, Loghainn did finish out to 28 while technically exempt… bah, I’ll just play him.  That’s more fun, anyways.

Orsyn Burrlevel 24 dwarf palificer artadin

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Finally, a shot of Orsyn with the axe he carries 80% of the time, instead of a repeater!

The Original Palificer Artadin, Orsyn is still plagued by the fact his successor, Felldar, has completely demolished his successes.  That doesn’t mean Orsyn is a bad toon by any stretch of the imagination.. he’s just… not Felldar.  And that makes me sad, because I really want Orsyn to succeed.  As it is, he’s sitting tight at 24, having achieved his Original Goal for 2015 of capping out Unyielding Sentinel, and awaiting the moment when I can get back around to him for the Optional Epic Goal of capping him at 28.  So that’s another one to chalk up as halfway done.

Uldwin Skyreaverlevel 20 dwarf druid

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His Original Goal for 2015 was to hibernate.  His Optional Epic Goal for 2015 was “be excluded.”  I think he’s finished both of them, quite admirably.. although, I may get a bug in my ear later on in the year to revisit him.  Who knows?

Uldwena Skyreaverlevel 28 dwarf barbarianess

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“This camp fire blue. That one over there red. Wut?”

When last we visited Uldwena, her Original Goal was to “get three points into Fast Healing.”  Well, she did that, and completed her Optional Epic Goal of getting to 28, too, without so much as batting an eye.  Must’ve been those sexy dwarven hips!  Through it all, she even found time to write some poetry.  In short, done and done!

Varjek Lorebringerlevel 20 dwarf wizard

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“I look dark, brooding, and ominous. That isn’t enough for you?”

Ahh, Varjek… son of Kiljoen, necromancer, crappy arcane.  Well, of course he’s a crappy arcane, he’s one of my arcanes.  Ergo, he is crappy.  As such, he was excluded from the 2015 Optional Epic Goal to reach level cap, and didn’t even have a goal to begin with for the year, other than playing poker with Skelly and a Wight Priest and maybe drawing a moustache on the Black Abbott’s statue on-board the airship.  There was a brief moment where I danced with the idea of TRing him into an Eldritch Knight, but luckily, I was quickly able to squash it with a Brussell’s sprout to the head.

Walreign Aggronlevel 28 dwarf ranger

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Walreign is in this photo. He’s the Splinter Cell-looking shadow in the center. Look for the glowing green eyes.

Previously, Wally’s only goal was to get to 23 and to equip Pinion, Cloud-Piercer.  In a twisted course of events that involved not posting until after I played, he managed to make that goal before the post even graced Teh Interwebz.  Oh, well.  Part of his charm has always been his ability to “ghost” out of combat – and so, I decided to take him into a full-time role as a ghost.  Modeled visually (and playstyle-wise) after the Splinter Cell games and armed with a three-digit Hide skill (not shabby for a first-lifer), nobody saw him do anything.  Seriously.  The only time he ever got caught was when I accidentally bumped someone or mis-timed a jump and landed on their shoulder while trying to bypass them in a tiny corridor.  This is the fool that did a Temple of Elemental Evil run with only 18 kills (almost all of which are required if you don’t have Dimension Door).  His goal having already been met, he landed the optional of “get to 28,” and I had so much fun ghosting with this guy, he’s already begun lining up gear for a Heroic career as someone who doesn’t exist.

Splinter Wally

You never saw it coming.

Whalllevel 28 dwarf favored soul imitating a Sacred Defender

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Yeah…. ’nuff said. No caption necessary.

He had already been capped at 28.  His original goal was just to cap out Unyielding Sentinel… yeah, did that, too.  So both of the goals, the original, and Optional Epic Goal, have been met.  But, of course, that wasn’t enough, was it?  No, I had to go and get him to “epic retarded” capacity on a first lifer.  See, it turns out AC isn’t completely useless in Epic Elite.  Nope, sure isn’t.  You just have to get it psychotically high enough to where folks start going cross-eyed.  I don’t have any current plans with Whall, other than to keep him around for farming purposes.  I might ER him, I might TR him.. who knows?  But I have a few other toons that have snagged my attention, as of late.. most notably, the “surprise out of left field” Loghainn, and Wally, the “I don’t exist” ranger.

Whong Fei-Hung, level 28 halfling monk Shuricannon

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From left to right: Von, Fei-Hung, and Socks.

So my “accidental” Shuricannon has proven his worth time and time again.  He’s now one of my more favorite toons to run, and the evidence is logged in him having capped out his third Primal life, merely awaiting a whim to earn his third stack of passive regeneration and venture back into the world.  I’m kind of leaning towards doing an ER/TR combo to see how it works in Heroics… while friggin’ regenerating, of course!  Seeing as how he didn’t even have any goals when I first established them for 2015, he’s blown that requirement completely out of the water, and then blown the “get all Epic-ready toons to level cap,” as well.  Three times over.

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One more shot for Fei-Hung, because he’s awesome, to show off his off-hand Bouquet of Flowers, and his rust monster Pympin’s fly top hat. Because, pimp is as pimp does, yo.

And a Recap

So what’s left on the agenda for 2015?  Here’s where I stand with who and what, for both goals lists – because who wants to settle for an easy challenge?

  • Tholgrin Stoneforge – reattain 28 (currently 24), purely for bonus points!
  • Tubbho Lard – attain 28 (in less than 800K), ER, reattain 28, ER again for Epic Completionist, kick the Lord of Blades in the nuts a few more times to finish the Tier 3 Alchemicals
  • Bholgrin Stoneforge – six quests, 10 raids, a bunch of challenges left to complete
  • Cupcaque Glitter Sprinkles – attain 20 (currently 12)
  • Gorruk Bouldertongue – attain 28 (currently 21)
  • Immano of Llawriennal – finish out Unyielding Sentinel (currently 4)
  • Madfinger Runewarden – attain 28 (currently 24)
  • Mattok Shalefinder – attain 20, then 28, but purely for bonus points on both counts!
  • Orsyn Burr – attain 28 (currently 24)

So, there you have it, folks.  The first list of “lol ur never gonna do this in a year” was mocked, challenged, and raised to “lol no wey bro” levels.  And even that raised-up goal is looking like it’s about to topple… Sweet!  And there’s still half the year left to go!

I might need to reach a little deeper into thin air to come up with some more madness.  We’ll see!

Better Late than Never

Ramblings, Updates, and Editorial Diarrhea

The New Kid In Town

So I rolled this toon up a while ago, shortly after Part Two of “The Seven-Life Itch” was published.  Alas, he has not seen much playtime, mostly due to Uncle Tubbs and Whall demanding attention, as my war-divines are wont to do.

But, as the title says, it’s better late than never.  So, please say a big, warm hello for Cupcaque Glitter Sprinkles, the half-orc Tempest Ranger/Rogue.

His name is Cupcaque.  Don't call him "Sugar," he doesn't like it very much.

His name is Cupcaque. Don’t call him “Sugar,” he doesn’t like it very much.

At first, you might be wondering, “Why would you name a melee ‘Cupcaque?'”  Well, that’s actually pretty straightforward.  Some other player, who probably hasn’t logged on in four years, got to the idea before me and already had the name Cupcake reserved.  I will refrain from calling any names, lest that individual actually lay eyes on this blog (which they probably won’t, statistically speaking).  No sense in tempting fate, though.. right?

The whole idea behind Cupcaque’s generation was to do something “new.”  I tried that, I honestly did, equipping him with the best scimitars I could find in early loot runs and on the Auction House.  I may still return to that later – particularly when Cruel Nobility becomes available – but I had to fall back to dual-weilding my favorite middle-level longswords, Retribution.  That brought his melee DPS well up to an acceptable level that wasn’t being met with the dual-scimis… which makes me sad, because the scimitars looked so much more evil.

As much as it seemed – and still seems – crazy, I rolled up Cupcaque as a primary melee toon without taking any of the Power Attack/Cleave/Great Cleave line.  None of them.. because almost all of my other melees have them.  Instead, I’m focusing more on tactical feats, which I’ve never previously paid a terrible amount of mind to (not counting the Mass Trip from stick-builds).  It’s taking some getting used to, but overall, I’m enjoying the revamp to how I approach combat.

It’s by no means a perfect build in any way, shape, or form, however.  During the conceptual portion of the build, I was expecting to see more of a paladin’s level of self-healing;  It wasn’t until around level 10 when It registered that I was still packing an un-amplified Cure Light Wounds.  Even with Devotion 60 slotted, he’s hitting himself for between 9 and 14 hit points.. which is effective for little more than an occasional Band-Aid.  His Cure Serious pots hit for 3-4 times the healing power, and even those leave much to be desired for.  As such, a couple of the other concept builds that Cupcaque has been running with typically share a hireling between the group.

Editorial Diarrhea

  •         DM:  You’re up, Thol.
  •         Tholgrin (to DM):  I summon a hireling.  Also, I feel shame as a minor action.

Of course, lately I’ve been thinking about my knee-jerk reaction to have a bad taste in my mouth about confessing to using hirelings.  Why does every toon have to be an all-in-one superbuild?  Sure, I have several of those capped in the Epics (and also one whose entire job is to assist others with the dreaded Final Push to Twenty that never levels past 20).  But does every toon have to be that way?  A bit of running with some buddies recently has me scratching my head at this thought.

In getting Mattok Shalefinder (dwarf cleric 19) up to his current spot, I spent some time running with a more “traditional” party:  one pure fighter, one pure cleric, and one pure sorcerer.  And you know what?  We all fell back into classic roles so seamlessly, I wasn’t even aware we had shifted our tactics until Von pointed out “now this is old-school D&D!” in the middle of a quest.

He’s right.  It was.  And you know what?  It felt great.

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Mattok looking far more imposing than he actually is.

Dungeons & Dragons is – without question – if not technically the first pen & paper RPG, by far the great-granddaddy of every subsequent game, and has a very significant debt owed to it by such famous household names as The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy.  Without D&D backing it, one could make a very convincing case that video gaming as we know it today would be a vastly different landscape.  And what made D&D so great?  The traditional roles that everyone played, the cameraderie, and the teamwork.  Oh, yeah, and epic adventure.

If everyone is a super-toon, some of that feeling is gone.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun being the penultimate badass on the block that can do everything, channel both arcane and divine, trap, shoot, kill, and bomb with impunity.  But returning back to the roots – there was something inherently elegant about the straightforward tactics and simple efficiency with the fighter up front, cleric roving from the middle to the front as needed, and the spellthrower in back lobbing death into the fray that just felt right.

Perhaps, in a way, reverting to Mattok has fulfilled some of my “something new” itch.  As much as I have tried to repurpose him into a more solo-able cleric without turning into a carbon copy of Whall’s Divine Healtank build, he’s still pretty lousy in the DPS arena.  I could tell you the spin story in that I’ve increased his average melee damage by 314%, but three times crap is still poop.  It’s just less crappy.  The fighter and sorcerer are relieved since they have an actual, honest-to-goodness, real-life human backing their healbot (who only stands in traps occasionally, and purely for his own amusement, rather than complete idiocy) where they would otherwise have had to lug around a braindead AI.  It was different.. and not bad different.  Good different.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to go repurpose my super-toons into pure-role characters, but it made for an interesting vacation from the constant quest for the pinnacle of self-sufficiency.

Awkward Build Ideas

I’ve mentioned already that I LR’ed Mattok.  Originally, he was a pre-Shadowfell Conspiracy flavor build, a “pacifist human healbot.”  The origins of the toon were to have him 100% dedicated to heals, buffs, and defense to allow the rest of the party to focus on the “everything else.”  That worked great until the static group I’d been running him with dissolved and left him un-soloable at level 15 in a PUG world that didn’t want healbots any more.  Back when he was first rolled, I couldn’t be outside of a party for more than a few minutes before getting tells asking if I wanted to help out in XYZ quest or ABC raid.  By the time he hit fifteen, nuffin’ but silence.

So a few weeks ago, I LR’ed him and specifically tried to get him a little more punch.  Primarily fixing things like a heavy armor + tower shield user having a Strength of eight (8).  Yes, that was what the original pacifist build had, amongst other things.  I shuffled around his build points and feats, and wound up with.. well, pretty much the same thing.

Except now he can actually hit things and cause moderate damage.  Oh, sure, whatever he’s attacking will fall over at some point;  but this is a game of Hare and the Tortoise where everyone else is going zero to sixty in two point six seconds, and Mattok is registered with his zero to sixty time as “eventually.”

I was anxious when he hit level 18, for I had a Blazing Sun waiting for him in the bank.  In a fit of (partially intoxicated) whimsy, I opted to give him Single Weapon Fighting as a feat;  this negates all of his Shield Mastery abilities while the Blazing Sun is equipped, but has a few other, more interesting effects..

Mattok in "Orb Mode"

Mattok in “Orb Mode”

Right now, Mat’s a little bipolar.  Having different equipment sets is nothing new.  Having different equipment sets activate different sets of feats isn’t even something new – think Power Attack & Cleave with swords swapping to Rapid Shot and Point Blank Shot with a bow.  On the other hand – at least to me – having two different melee sets activate different aspects of melee combat is something new.

When things hit the fan and he’s in full-on healtank mode, he’s packing a Templar’s Bulwark and Forgotten Light.   The rest of the time, however, he’s sporting the Blazing Sun with a Cormyrean Longsword from Eveningstar that boasts Acid Burst, Crushing Wave, and Improved Paralyzing.  (If you’re wondering why there’s no link for the Cormyrean, they’re from the challenge traders in Eveningstar and each one is randomly rolled; the number of possibilities is pretty bloody staggering.  –Ed.)  While I can hear the screams of agony from here – and sure, some of those were my own – I’m still not one hundred percent convinced the idea was a bad one.

Here’s why:  Mattok plays like two completely separate toons, depending on which “mode” he’s in.

Changing out the tower shield for the orb, and adding in the attack speed for Single Weapon Fighting, makes him more viable as a provider of melee DPS.  (Note that I did not say “good provider.”)  It also makes him faster.  Switching to Orb Mode allows him to not just keep up with his companions, but outrun them as a dwarf heavy.  That’s pretty impressive.  In Tank Mode, he’s lulling behind everyone;  not much, but enough to make me lament my monks.

In Tank Mode, he can block darn near anything.  The additional DR brought on by the tower shield, sprinkled with his Radiant Aura, means he can stay right up in the ugliest of messes available on Heroic Elite.  I want to try his luck in The Weapons Shipment on Elite, but I’m not sure how many of Mat’s companions are keen on the idea.

If it seems as though I need to pick a direction and stick with it, you’re right.  DDO is very much a min/max environment, and part of the power behind pure builds is taking one direction and running with it to absurd magnitudes.  By splitting the focus here, I’m losing out on a bunch of high-end potential;  but to be entirely honest, I haven’t decided yet which one I like better.  Truth be told, I’m having more fun with the Orb Mode;  plus, you don’t see very many dwarven clerics with orbs and swords these days.  Makes for a touch of… hey… something new!

A Clerical Error

I think I might have to break down and do it.

I’ve been putting it off for a while, but it’s becoming a problem.  With the exception of my “main” main, Tholgrin, and my current mix project Orsyn (the “Palificer Artadin”), I only have one other toon that’s under twenty.

Mattok Shalefinder, dwarf cleric.

Mattok Shalefinder

He looks too cool to just leave shelved..

He’s also been gathering dust for (according to the guild status page) four months and three weeks.  Probably longer, if you don’t count just logging in briefly to check for something in his bank.  Truth be told, there’s a very, very high chance that the last time I logged him on was to nick a shield out of his arms collection to pass over to my Favored Soul.

Mattok started out as a flavor build, a pacifist healer that was (at the time) running regularly with a rag-tag bunch of semi-regular players.  At the time, we were playing mostly casually, goofing off and just having fun, playing mostly on Hard or Normal.  Mattok took the role of “brick wall with hjealz” and did it quite well.

Alas, the players have stopped playing, and now he’s starting to irritate me.

I’ve loaded him up before a couple of times, with good intentions.  At least, until I started looking at the build, and the OMGWWITitis flare-ups were bad enough that I couldn’t conceive of a method of making him solo-able without a complete Lesser Reincarnation.  Sure, as a group healer, he’s brilliant.. but nobody wants a human healbot these days.  I certainly don’t want to play the role of “hireling with better AI,” either.  Some folks might enjoy the role of pure support, but I’m somewhat… more direct.

The hitch I keep running into is that I don’t want to do the first thing that slams into my mind (Warpriest splashed Radiant Servant) because that’s pretty darn close to the same thing I did with Whall, my favored soul.  It isn’t that the build wasn’t effective, it was – but then that’s pretty much the exact same thing I did beforehand.

There’s another option with Warpriest-splashed-Divine Disciple tree, but that leans very heavily on caster-ey shtuff.  And we all know how well I do with spellthrowers.  My magic-users are like pitchers at a Tee-Ball game:  sticks in the mud that are largely useless except to get pounded about the head.  (Okay, so that’s a mild exaggeration, but only a mild one.  –Ed.)  After taking a look at the contents of said tree – which may be brilliant in the hands of a more magically-inclined player – I’ll keep looking elsewhere.

Perhaps I’ll make a bit of a compromise, and instead make Mattok a Radiant Servant with a splash of Warpriest instead of the other way around.  That way, he’s still primarily a healer at heart, but isn’t completely useless in a fight (which is where he is, now).  After all, nobody complains about kill counts when there’s a high-powered Positive Energy Aura riding on the front lines.  Come to think of it, that’s probably where I’ll head.  That way, there’s just enough distinction between the two that it won’t feel as though I’m playing a carbon-copy of the other.

Funny how decisions work themselves out on their own, once you start rambling about them!

Thanks for letting me bore you!