It’s rather a contradictory term: “solo raiding.”
Raid (n.) - a sudden attack on an enemy by troops, aircraft or other armed forces in warfare.
Note the plural. To enter a raid (a high-difficulty adventure designed for up to 12 party members) as the only party member, makes the ultimate boast of being a one-man army.
Not that this contradiction or wild claims have stopped anyone from trying–and sometimes succeeding.
I’ve been reading quite a few posts in the Achievements subforum on soloing “The Shroud” and “Zawabi’s Revenge” (ADQ2) and it got me to try a few out myself.
Solo raiding at-level is almost unheard of. Raids often require many skills and resource-intensive fighting that no one character can typically meet the requirements. So higher-level solo raids are often done by characters that are significantly over the raid’s level, and on Normal difficulty.
I’ve completed only two solo raids prior to this bout of insanity: “Tempest’s Spine” and “The Chronoscope,” levels 10 and 6, respectively. Both adventurers were Shintao Monks for their durability and self-healing. Of these, only one has Epic levels, and I’ve sent in Lynncletica successfully on Epic Hard. I know that neither of these raids have remarkably tough challenges for solo players with good self-sufficiency.
Last week, I added a new character to the table: The star-thrower Szyncletica against the Demon Queen. After that, I tried a solo run in The Shroud with Lynncletica the tanker.
Advantages and Challenges for Szyncletica
Szyncletica rapidly leveled to 26 in her first life. Her sustained DPS is the best in my dojo with many random effects going off from Shiradi Champion, off-hand passive effects, as well as the spelltouched shurikens she uses.
I’ve tried Heroic ADQ2 on Lynncletica before, perhaps shortly after Update 14 and Epic Destinies. The gnolls perched atop the pillars ate her alive, despite her powerful defenses. I tried keeping a ranged option handy to remove them but it was too slow.
Szyn, on the other hand, uses only stars to attack.
I imagined that her DPS should knock most of the tower gnolls quickly away between their respawns, particularly using an Improved Paralyzing star she owns. She can attack the marilith at any stage and, through strafing and Improved Precise Shot, attack any effreeti and the marilith at once. In one video from an old 2007 player, it looks like the Monk archer there just plain ignores the gnolls above. But the raid’s likely changed since this video.
Szyn’s greatest challenge was crisis healing. She had potions but that was it, aside from Shiradi’s Healing Spring. It was touch and go on how well this would work as Szyn stays well out of melee range and attempts to use many miss-chance abilities to slow down incoming damage. ADQ2 is all-fight: no rest, no respite. Using Wholeness of Body is not an option.
I bit my reluctance to switch Destinies, activated Primal Avatar and entered a Epic Hard “Jungles of Khyber” run recently. I completed that run with an immediate 4 Destiny Points and activated Rejuvenation Cocoon in full.
That’s a nice ability. It simply throws out a nice healing boost and some temporary HP with spell points. Combined with Devotion and healing amplification, the results would be sufficient to keep Szyn healed in battle.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I got Cocoon trained after my attempts at the Demon Queen. More on that in a sec.
Thankfully, the loot gods have been good to me. I just received a level 24 Cold Iron spelltouched star with Wounding and the occasional Disintegrate. Kicking on the Stay Good stance should make that star effective enough to bust the Queen’s DR.
The DQ Solo Attempts
I armed Szyn with her L20 Icy Burst of Improved Paralyzing and removed the effreti and elementals without issue.
After a few words with the Demon Queen, the fight was on. I removed the gnolls very quickly to the point where they were a non-factor.
I did what I could to concentrate all my attacks only on the marilith, no matter where she was, letting Improved Precise Shot weed out any effreti that got in the way.
But I was having a hard time keeping healed from the glancing damage that Lailat managed to get on me.
She was down to virtually no HP at all when I took one hit too many myself and expired. And then I saw something odd.
Beginner’s luck, it turned out. I tried another run on eN and got curbstomped faster, before Lailat had lost half of her HP.
Determined to get something done, I ran through once more, on Heroic Elite.
Funny: Lailat in eN is around Level 26. On Heroic Elite, she’s CR28 and felt a bit harder to hit.
But I held my own and the marilith fell. It was my first solo raid victory on a non-Light Monk, characters that have all the healing toys compared to their Dark brethren. No vampirism. No Healing Ki. No Cleric dilettante. Just a throwing star, a weak battle healing option and sheer sustained damage per second.
But perhaps, before I TR, I will try an eNormal once more, armed now with Cocoon since those first runs, and with a stronger resolve.
Going Solo in the Shroud
The barbarian that completed a Shroud run solo had to fiddle a few things and was incredibly overgeared to ensure some success. First off, he was level 28–that’s a capped character. Lynncletica sits at 25 now. Next, he multiclassed a couple of Fighter levels to go with his Barbarian. Looks like he used the Fury of the Wild Epic Destiny with some Primal Avatar things mixed in, perhaps some Legendary Dreadnought.
I decided to go in with Grandmaster of Flowers but with Twists from Legendary Dreadnought and Unyielding Sentinel that boosted fortification, PRR, and DCs.
The damage that the Barb could do was quite remarkable, sometimes making 3,0oo point critical hits. I was thinking too far ahead, on what to do in Part 4 against Harry and his recharging gnolls.
So, armed for bear, I took Lynn into a Normal run.
You might guess what happened. Lynn loses in part 1. Her DPS is sufficient to take down the portals but far too slowly. The portal keepers arrive and lock up the Shroud with Shavarath, sealing my fate.
A post-mortem made me recall an old contest that I had planned to write about: A DPS contest where players were asked to enter Aussircaex’s Valley and test how fast they could remove a planar gateway that resided there.
This is the same type of portal seen in the Shroud. It never changes and has a fixed set of stats, is always 12,000 HP, is immune from most elemental damage and has 100% fortification. So it’s a perfect way to test out any character’s DPS.
The original contest set some weapon limits, but going in a raid, you’ve got to remove that thing fast and by any means necessary.
I did take Szyn in there and took that portal down in about 1 minute and 16 seconds, but I can’t remember if that was with my newer and Shroud-designed Holy of Greater Construct Bane star or using an older Aligned of Construct Bane one.
If I can add some Armor-Piercing properties in my off-hand, I’m sure I can whittle that thing down in under a minute. Time to study again. Looks like I could trade out the Celestia blade with my Envenomed Blade’s 10% armor piercing, but then I’d also lose the light damage that the epic shortsword can do. I’d have to test it.
And it looks like armor-piercing effects stack. So, in a perfect, beautiful world, wearing a regular or Flawless Black Dragonscale Robe and its armor piercing would stack with off-hand effects. I could farm for Black scales. I took Szyn into a few Heroic Tor runs and beat two of the three dragons on Elite but it was the black dragon’s acid damage that threw me off. (This was, again, before I got Cocoon trained up.) Some Black Dragonscale would be a good tactical alternative.
Lynn should do better, but I’m not sure. I’ve become a bit dependent on Grandmaster of Flowers. I needed the speed and critical hit power of Legendary Dreadnought, if just for part 1 alone. My concern remained on getting to Part 4. Harry wouldn’t be the issue; it would be my ability to remove the gnolls in later rounds before they recharge him faster than I could damage him. I wouldn’t have the Rage effects of a Barbarian nor as many Action Boosts. Without GMoF, there’s no ability to use Everything is Nothing to remove the gnolls very quickly.
But then, without LD, getting through Part 1 is likely impossible.
So, back to the drawing board.