The Best Bug Ever

So I’ve been making many, many runs into “Good Intentions” to get the Legendary Magewright’s Toolkit (+4 Quality DEX) with Pynthetica.

For those not familiar with this quest, this revisit to the Saltire District (formerly trashed and haunted by Xoriat creatures and creations in the quest “Missing”) has you searching for three ingredient items for a Gnome that (as Gnomes do) didn’t consider that if something could be done, it doesn’t mean that it should be done.

Two of the items are in relatively fixed locations. The third is a pet of Dirk the Deranged (a busy man for a crazy person, who’s part of this and two other quests (“Palace of Stone”, “Dirk’s Got A Secret”).

His name is Nibbles.

He’s a squirrel.

He’s adorable.

And I couldn’t find the little bugger in one of the three spots he’s supposed to be digging for nuts.

I’m searching and using the item select all over the place. Then I caught his scent, but not his presence.

Disbelieving, I stared at the canal that intersects the district.

ScubaSquirrel

Apparently, Nibbles has borrowed Aquaman’s superpowers.

That’s one small swim for squirrels, one giant stroke for rodent-kind.

Dirk’s pet, indeed. It’s just as crazy as he is.

A Final Review of My Builds

So, all three of the builds I created are sufficiently leveled and geared. I can now update the Monk guide with guidelines on what to expect as you start and level them.

Thanks so much for your suggestions, criticisms and patience as I’ve played through each one. I hope you will find them (or variants you design from them) useful and fun.

I don’t think I’ve made a post where I’ve spoken of them all in-depth. To avoid cluttering up the guide with such subjective drivel, I’ll post it here.

The Zen Archer

build1a

Purpose: High miss-chance, high Ranged Power Elven defensive sniper. 20 Monk (Harper Agent/Ninja Spy)

Best environments:

  • Attacking enemies using missiles or magic, as they have a very hard time making a successful hit against the build due to its high Concealment, Incorporeality, Dodge, Improved Evasion, PRR, AC and Spell Resistance
  • Quests where stealth can be used to allow sniping from a distance. Enemies often never reach this build before she kills them with Deception, Epic Destiny abilities, and Tendon Slice effects.

Worst environment:

  • Legendary raids, where the enemy CR is sufficient to bypass most of the build’s layered defenses
  • Raids with mostly Red-named enemies (such as “Defiler of the Just”), where the build’s DPS and single-target enemy controls to slow or stop enemies is neutralized

Strengths and Weaknesses:

  • High sustained ranged DPS, second only to Zen Bowmaster, thanks to higher Ranged Power from Harper Agent
  • Fast takedown with higher innate Ranged Power and Deception effects that add Sneak Attack damage
  • Useful 33% standing Doubleshot with EDs and gear
  • Strongest stealth skills, but slower movement speed in stealth
  • Miss-chance effects, spell resistance and PRR allow sustained DPS even when attacked by several enemies at once
  • Using Harper Agent and Elf Dragonmark enhancements, can gain 6-minute Displacement
  • Can use Ten Thousand Stars and Manyshot, works well with “Furyshot.”
  • High Diplomacy, useful in several instances
  • Damage dependent on DEX, bow quality and arrows
  • Has best fortification-bypass options; can land 100+ hits against Legendary Shroud planar gateways with 55% fortification bypass thanks to Epic Destiny abilities and Thunder-Forged longbow
  • Easy build to train other EDs, once Pin and Otto’s Whistler are available in Twist of Fate slots
  • Uses Precise Shot only to build up damage bonuses and limit Threat generation
  • As a stationary fighter, generates the best sustained damage against toughest enemies

The Zen Archer was discussed on the forums, and you can find more build information in the Monk guide.

The Zen Bowmaster

build2b.jpg

Purpose: High-DPS offensive ranged attacker. 20 Monk (Arcane Archer)

Best environment: Enemies with low Will saves.

Worst environment:

  • Quests or raids against some special Red-named enemies or enemies with higher Will saves (enemy Clerics, Paladin/Blackguards, shamans) that resist attack DCs
  • Quest or raids where the build generates too much aggro; the build has the lowest overall defenses

Strengths and Weaknesses:

  • Very high DPS. Bow damage combines with Ranged Power and arrow imbues augmented by spell power from the AA tree.
  • Uses both Ten Thousand Stars and Manyshot for highest burst Doubleshot while in Divine Crusader ED – up to 240%
  • Highest standing Doubleshot on first life (75% with feats, ED, AA and gear)
  • Versatile attack options from the AA tree (blunt/piercing/slash/Doubleshot) and elemental, force, paralyzing, banishing and smiting effects
  • AA imbues are based on WIS modifier. As a Monk, build can greatly boost WIS to use as to-hit modifier (Zen Archery feat), generating extra AC, and creating DCs for arrow effects that operate even in Legendary Elite raids, especially paralyzing
  • Fair fortification bypass
  • Useful, but not superior miss-chance effects
  • Sustained damage lower than Zen Archer but imbued spell power attacks compensate often for increased damage per attack for some enemies over Zen Archer
  • Not as weapon-dependent as Zen Archer unless enemy resists AA attacks due to higher fortification
  • Uses Improved Precise Shot, which often causes great Threat generation

You’ll find the fundamental build information in the Monk guide.

The Poison Master Ninja

build3a

Purpose: High-DPS offensive melee Drow. 20 Monk (Ninja Spy)

Best environment: Enemies with low Fortitude saves.

Worst environment:

  • Quests or raids where enemies can resist special attacks that cause Helplessness, Nausea, or Blindness
  • Quest or raids where enemies are immune from Negative Energy or Poison

DPS and Weaknesses:

  • Medium High to Very High DPS, depending on whether Helplessness can be used
  • Second-best stealth skills (second to Zen Archer), fastest movement speed while Sneaking
  • Best instant-kill power against isolated enemies, using finishing moves or Quivering Palm attack
  • Ninja Spy training augments stealth, defense, movement speed, Dexterity to-hit and to-Damage with shortswords and shuriken, Sneak Attack damage and Ninja Poison, a powerful DoT effect that cannot be resisted except by Poison-immune enemies
  • Drow racial feats and enhancements add Shuriken and Shortsword prowess as well as additional Poison damage
  • Optional Epic Destiny Feat choices can add greater Doublestrike, Doubleshot and bonuses to Dodge and Dodge cap (to 34%)
  • Some Ninja Spy Monk finishing moves cause Helplessness, allowing No Mercy enhancement (and, in Epic, stacking with Fury of the Wild’s Sense Weakness) to generate 30 to 60% additional damage on Helpless enemies
  • As a melee fighter without a shield, defenses are limited to WIS (AC bonus), Combat Expertise, high miss-chance effects, and movement speed

Detailed information can be found in the Monk guide.

The Wisdom to Stop Time

ScreenShot01991

Lolth picked a fight with the wrong adventurers.

I’m sorry for being way-off my 2 per month post goals. Lots of real-life stuff, particularly losing my job. Hated the place anyway and had been on the market for several weeks prior. Prospects are good, however, so at present, when I’m not job searching each day, I’m getting a lot of play time.

Each of the three builds I’ve made turned out to have a certain “schtick”–a fortunate bonus to its design for which I didn’t originally plan.

For Pynthetica the Zen Archer, the high-DEX also makes her very difficult to kill, even against the party-wiping AoE from the end-boss of “Defiler of the Just” or the electro-bombs from the Stormreaver in “Fall of Truth.” She just upgraded her Thunder-Forged Longbow to tier 3 with Mortal Fear and life is very, very good. After she completes leveling Fury of the Wild, I plan to make her my first Epic TR character, going Primal for more Doubleshot through Epic Past Lives.

For Ryncletica the Poison-master, her Drow heritage not only adds to her poison skills but also made her just as deadly with shuriken, a type of “Shuricannon“-lite. She’s my “on-timer” character right now when the archers are on raid timers.

In the case of Paracleta the Zen Bowmaster, my desire for a build with a very high Doubleshot has found serendipity from her core abilities as an Arcane Archer.

Before the recent updates to the AA tree, Paralyzing Shot showed this pitiful quality to this and many of its special non-elemental arrow imbues:

oldAAparalysis

Those arrows were fine until you hit Epic levels, where a DC of 26 gained you slightly better than “Improved Paralyzing” weapon effects. In other words, you weren’t likely to freeze anything except on a low enemy save.

Now, AAs have WIS modifiers combined with any Enchantment focus DCs as your modifier.

newAAparalysis

The changes in the AP for the tree helped free up some points for defense from Ninja Spy, as well.

Now, the classes that tend to use WIS offensively are few. Clerics and Rangers and Paladins use it to get more spell points or qualify for certain spells. Favored Souls use WIS for their offensive DCs. Monks use WIS to influence their level of ki, calculate the DCs for Stunning Fist, and gain an AC bonus based on the modifier.

But they also use WIS as the to-hit modifier for bows when the Zen Archery feat is used.

For a Ranger AA to appreciate the AA DC change, they’d have to give up something important: STR (damage rolls) or DEX (to-hit) to raise WIS more than the usual 14 points that the class requires to use all of their small cache of spells.

Monkchers also will sacrifice decent DCs since they, too, will want to add more to STR. Their benefits from Zen Archery simply come from being centered with the bow. They can’t add more WIS if they want to follow their high-DPS damage track.

This is where Paracleta shines. She has only two central stats that form her offensive joy: WIS and DEX. Unlike Pyncletica, however, things are turned around in importance. WIS applies a higher AC bonus and ki management while also giving the to-hit. All I need to do is add a bit more DEX for the Elven DEX-to-damage. And as an AA, spell power really brings out extra damage that doesn’t require me to go nuts with DEX (although I’m still adding effects where I can). I can deal over 100 points of Fire damage to go with the 100 physical damage of one arrow.

So I’ve pumped WIS as high as I can go.

How high? You’re invited to view a spreadsheet with the estimates.

I filled in what I could expect in the best scenario in the row on level 30. Let me summarize.

By level 30, Par has a 58 minimum WIS, no matter the destiny, now that she’s read a +6 WIS tome. That’s only with the base, tomes, Ocean Stance, an Insightful WIS +6 item, a +15 WIS item, a +2 Festive WIS augment. With the +2 untyped bonuses of the Yugoloth and DDO elixirs, it’s 62 minimum.

Now add in up to +6 WIS from either the Primal Avatar or Divine Crusader destinies. If I go Primal Avatar, the Spirit Boon ability gives another +2 WIS for as long as I have Spirit to supply it. Better and more flexible: I can Twist the Fury of the Wild’s tier 2 ability Acute Instincts for a +2 WIS with just a Rage potion.

House Deneith potions can give up to +3 Alchemical bonus to WIS for about 1 minute or two.

The last item I needed to find that stacks is the Legendary Earthen Mantle, the only game item with Quality WIS, +4 in this case. That’s in “Search and Rescue,” with a long fight through the Underdark optional. Thanks to some great guildmates, I have that item, and helped them score some sought-after gear of their own afterward.

As a bonus for spell power, in “Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener” is an incredible spell power-boosting tiara, the Legendary Pansophic Circlet, that will be good for special occasions.

I could also Twist at least +1 WIS from any other destiny, but at the compromise of ki (Enlightenment from GMoF) or extra fortification (Brace for Impact from Unyielding Sentinel).

Finally, in a party with a good Bard, Inspire Excellence gives a +2 Competence to WIS. The Fatesinger destiny could add a +2 additional WIS and a boost to already-hasted attack speed but gives no other WIS bonus.

That’s at least a possible, but brief, 76-80 WIS, or a 53 minimum Will DC to stop many things cold. WIS 72 is sustainable for 1 to 15 minutes. Add in a +5 Enchantment item and that’s a 61 DC, with Insightful and Enhancement bonuses added for a few more DC points, including this lovely gem that dropped for me for use very recently. Other Enchantment DC boosts are Equipment or untyped bonuses, so yay for me.

Topaz of Gr Enchantment

 

I might have mentioned this before. So why am I excited?

To start, several weeks ago, I completed a level 32 Epic Elite “Grim and Barrett” and paralyzed hordes of CR 50ish Abishi very reliably at only 53 WIS, or a 41 DC. I’ve also kept great control of trash in a “Caught in the Web” EH run a couple of weekends back.

Later, the team entered a Legendary Tempest’s Spine on Elite. It was grueling, but we made it. I made a video of it, which you can find here. Sadly, a glitch in my sound settings left the video silent with no audio at all.

Just for giggles as a comparison to Szyncletica’s effort, I decided to run a solo Heroic Shroud with Paracleta on Normal. I was proud of Szyn’s effort but she was nowhere close to what an AA can do. In Shiradi mode, Par’s DPS blew away the portals and I got a good set of lieutenants to mow down in part 2. I did part 3 deliberately slow to avoid colliding into the prismatic wall with 7 rooms left to fill with water, bypassing the puzzle solving. I took down Harry in one round in part 4 and bested him again in part 5 to conclude the raid in about 45 minutes.

But the real adventure, a very, very grueling one, was with the cool kids in our meta-guild with Legendary Shroud on Hard. With fatal one-shot sneak-attacks from Troglodyte Assassins on part 1 and deadly ghost kittehs in part 2, it was challenging from the beginning. The great news was that Paracleta was able to stop just about everything to slow down the attacks on the party. But there were more trials, especially in part 4 where we had to work out a plan when we couldn’t kill Harry in one go. The team devised one idea to help against the hyper-healing gnolls, and that involved Paracleta’s bow.

The video is captioned and there is lots of sound except from my own mic. (Lousy voice, anyway). It took us 2 hours and we were slightly short-manned to boot, but it was a success. The video is not edited so here are the timestamps for each part:

  • Part 1: Start
  • Part 2: 27 min 56 sec
  • Part 3: 1 hour 10 min 31 sec
  • Part 4: 1 hour 21 min
  • Part 5: 1 hour 47 min 55 sec

Paracleta seems to find that 70 WIS is the magic number for reliability in raids where paralysis can work. The most practical configuration will be any destiny with +6 WIS and the Legendary Earthen Mantle with all stacking items, or 72-74 WIS. There are no other items with stacking WIS that I can find except perhaps some Exceptional WIS +1 item, but this matters little if the ability score is even to make the modifier. There’s a remote chance of finding a WIS 16 item.

Paracleta can still be a tad squishy, though far less than a Ranger that aggros as much as she does.Thankfully, with enough WIS to stop things cold, they have to reach me first. The downside, for now, in paralysis mode, is that I’m dependent on killing damage from the bow alone. Even with spell power boosts and the Thunder-Forged bow, the time it takes to remove a hardy CR 53 enemy can take too long alone. It’ll take the tier 3 upgrade with Mortal Fear to help more here–though not on Legendary raids, where Mortal Fear is deliberately nerfed, although its extra Force damage will work nicely with the Legendary Earthen Mantle’s Impulse spell power boost.

So, we’ll see, sometime, if Legendary Elite (is that “Reaper?”) enemies can be stopped by Paracleta’s paralysis.

Now with an Epic Dynamistic Quiver and Shadow Arrows kicked on, Paracleta has a standing 78% Doubleshot. Whatever attacks isn’t going to do it for long, especially when I switch to Divine Crusader and kick on Zeal of the Righteous for that 50 Doubleshot buff and Ranged Power boost, combined with either of the many-shot feats: 220 to 240%.

Bowmaster Ascendant

Paracleta22Skipping low-reward chains to reach level 20 and beyond, the Bowmaster Paracleta is remarkably adept at controlling trash and even some minibosses as she wins Elite quests.

Gear, especially bows, is important but not as critical as leveling and flagging for raids that can yield greater rewards than plodding through the usual chains repeatedly.

One important point I neglected to account from the original build (and a change in the enhancement tree with a recent update) is that the Arcane Archer tree is cheaper to work up to 40 action points. This left me with enough remaining to fully complete the core Elven racial enhancements and add Shadow Veil from Ninja Spy into the fold, reserving 2 AP for the last AA cores. I previously noted how the use of WIS modifiers for the DCs of several imbues are what give this Zen build its characteristic flavor. Thanks to a reader that noted that they were able to accommodate Shadow Veil in a variant of this build.

Another matter involves Doubleshot. At level 20, I have 30% and can’t account for the sources. I’ve got the 5% effect of Shadow Arrows now at level 22, the 10% bonus on capping the AA core to come at level 25, and but Epic Destiny Doubleshot feat until level 27. But who am I to complain? I’m sure I can trace it, but time is a bit limited.

She’s working her way through the Devil Battlefield now for Yugoloth favor and the +2 ability potions, but low bow damage made it hard going. At level 21, she has the Combat Archery feat for extra weapon damage and completed the Eveningstar Drow quests, holding my experience levels so that destiny levels are completed. Starting from Grandmaster of Flowers to the primal tree to get Rejuvenation Cocoon and Shiradi Champion’s Pin and Otto’s Whistler and fill all destinies to get Twists unlocked and filled. I’d like to have Shiradi running by the time Paracleta enters her first “Caught in the Web.”

There’s so much going on as this character grows swiftly that I’m worried I will miss out on some XP opportunity. But that’s why raid flagging and the support I can get there might make a difference. I’m using sagas more and more on this. Paracleta is raid-designed. Hopefully she can keep substantial amounts of trash too afraid to fight in “Fire on Thunder Peak” and “Caught in the Web” or help in the DPS in other raids. I so want to get this girl into the weekend raid parties that remain the awesome group they’ve always been for fun raids, even in failure.

A comment or two in the last post from Teacher Jammond reminded me that AA imbues get damage bonuses from spell power. So destinies in the Arcane tree could be just as nasty as others. I’ve began study of adding Equipment bonuses of Magnetism (for great Electric imbue boosts against pit fiends), Combustion (icy enemies), and Impulse (Force damage) to have an enhanced DPS solution on hand against certain bosses. Still using my Unwavering Ardency bow in the Storm Horns, that bow with the Fire Arrows imbue, boosted with the Improved enhancement, really fry fire-sensitive enemies.

At level 22 now, Pynthetica granted her sister a Tier 0 Thunder-Forged longbow. Pyn’s early advantages in Harper Agent Ranged Power helps in damage as Paracleta’s damage is less than Pyn’s at the same level—the difference caused by the Ranged Power variation as well as slightly lower DEX. All this superb crowd control isn’t useful if Paracleta can’t slay bosses before they slay her, or if it takes too long to rid herself of a held mob before one enemy gets in a lucky strike. Going Shiradi will help, as will Epic Power as she levels a bit more.

Paracleta will hold her level at 23 as she pumps XP only into as many Epic Destinies, particularly Primal, for healing, fate points, and of course boosts to abilities and damage. As with Pynthetica and Mericletica, getting Pin as a Twisted ability is helpful. I wonder if Pin works with Improved Precise Shot, affecting all in the line of that arrow’s fire. If so, my, my. Same for Otto’s Whistler. I want to take significant Epic Destiny feats when I’m eligible.

A guildmate donated what I needed for a Seal of the Black Abbot to unlock my Unwavering Ardency bow’s Blinding power and requested a video. Time is short to get one in on this post, but perhaps I can work one in next time, on Heroic Elite, with one of my favorite quests, “What Goes Up.” That will also illustrate Paracleta’s near-perfect paralysis crowd control. Only enemy Clerics and a few Champions resist my AA Paralysis to be a serious threat.

To keep that perfect control with paralysis means I’ve got to keep that WIS high. Right now she’s around 40. Good, but not great. I want 50 at minimum and expect that 60 is my Epic Elite minimum for 75% or better DC success. For that, I need to keep an eye on better Insightful Wisdom items, WIS 10 or better items, and get the special Festive bonus when I’m able.

The Irresistable Bowmaster

tauriel

Tauriel from the film of the book, “The Hobbit.” She’s got nothing to do with the post. I just think she’s lovely.

With Pynthetica the Zen Master at 5,000 favor, capped all levels and relevant destinies, and completing raids to gather ingredients and gear to create and improve her Legendary Green Steel and Thunder-Forged bows, it was time to finally dust off Paracleta.

Paracleta, as you might remember, is an experimental build that’s the opposite of the stealthy, high-defense, virtually uninterruptable damage on single-target zen mastery of Pynthetica. The “Zen Bowmaster” build is intended to a swift-moving DPS build that does not stay still.

The challenges I have with Paracleta involve the near-exclusive use of the Elven Arcane Archer tree. Rather than glomming resources from both Ninja Spy and Harper Agent trees, I need to max out the AA tree at 40+ action points so I can have a much-higher inherent Doubleshot than Pyn’s 32%. Paracleta’s base Doubleshot should be nearly 58% by level 25.

Because I haven’t enough action points to spare after adding the required AP for the Elf racial enhancements for Dexterity-to-Damage, Paracleta won’t have a high Incorporeality, losing out on Ninja Spy’s 25% Shadow Veil. Her Dodge won’t be as high (perhaps 27% at Epic). She can still gain Lesser Displacement (25% Blurry) with an item–but even Pyn hasn’t found that item for herself yet. Ranged Power damage will be a bit less, too, with no use of the Harper enhancements.

I could be wrong on the AP as the AA update clearly adjusted ranks and some point requirements. If I can find points for Shadow Veil, I will use it.

But, as with other builds, serendipity often comes from gameplay.

At the end of level 11, I added Terror Arrows to the mix.

Now I’ve played Pynthetica in her first life as a Human Ranger Arcane Archer, so I’m familiar enough with Arcane Archers. But it seems the Arcane Archer’s recent enhancement update has improved the potential effectiveness of Terror Arrows greatly to Paracleta’s benefit. This is the current definition:

On Hit: Target is feared. (Will save vs. DC: 20 + Wisdom Modifier + Enchantment Spell Bonuses)
On Vorpal: Target is subject to a Phantasmal Killer effect.
Passive: +1 bonus to DC of Enchantment Spells

 

So, what’s a Monk known for, in terms of ability stats? Often, a very high WIS.

Pyn’s higher WIS serves for stronger damage and Doubleshot using Ten Thousand Stars, in addition to great Will saves and total available ki. Paracleta will gain greater benefit from the same stat but, since the success of Terror Arrows is based on a high WIS modifier, Paracleta stands to halt more enemies with these arrows than many other builds, including Rangers, who might add 14 base points to WIS to gain their spells but not add much more to the stat. Likewise, monkcher builds, often using STR from their Ranger levels as the bow damage, concentrate on STR with just enough WIS to have enough ki for Ten Thousand Stars.

Therefore, while DEX is the ruling damage stat on both Zen builds, a higher WIS (50 or more) on Paracleta will mean not only that Terror Arrows could be an incredible crowd-controller, but so will all the other specialty arrow imbues, including Paralyzing Arrows, Smiting Arrows and Banishing Arrows, now all using the same definition. Short of red-named immunity, there would be few enemies that will resist a hit.

So imagine a single arrow on Improved Precise Shot that paralyses or Fears a mob very reliably. Standard paralysis is only DC 17, while I will have much more, as high as my WIS will go: At 50 WIS, that’s a 40 DC at least. So if spell casters can still charm and do related things at similar modifiers on INT or CHA, I should be able to make do–I hope.

And if I can understand the arcane bonuses from Enchantment bonuses and where and how I can boost those to improve the overall DC of all these arrows, so much the better. Tips are appreciated. I found some named goggles to add a point.

I ran Paracleta through some level 6 quests on Elite to get their XP. On her first life she can just sneeze and gain 100 XP, so leveling up is less a priority than to experiment with what Paracleta can do.

In “Redwillow’s Ruins”, “Taming the Flames” and “Tear of Dakkaan”, Paracleta ruled those places with Terror Arrows, causing all kinds of things that should be hard to Fear to run away. My keyboard controller is set up for me to quickly change targets so I can keep everything Feared while also shooting them dead. My hireling Cleric even survived “Flames”, a place where hirelings quickly die because of spamming fireballs from the fire elementals. But these things can’t spam if they’re too busy running away. Same for the hobgoblins. I kept them at bay, with my Frozen Tunic occasionally entombing enemies, or Vorpal hits activating Phantasmal Killer effects for a quick kill.

With level 15 now banked after a powerful run through the Red Fens and Vault of Night chains, I watched Paracleta nail Fear or Ph.Killer with 98% success in some Demon Sands side quests. The real test comes in the Droaam quests. Those guys have better saves over many other enemies.

But when I tackle them, I’ll have a +2 WIS tome and at least 32 WIS.

I guess I shouldn’t worry too much about Paracleta’s overall defense. It may be no worse than Szyncletica the Shuricannon. With a high DEX (at least 45, I hope, by cap) Paracleta will also have good reflexes, too. Not using Improved Precise Shot on the Zen Archer build to avoid getting attention was the deal there. But with several levels of mob-stopping power available to the Arcane Archer, IPS is not only back on the table, but desired.

After all, the whole purpose of the build is to see how hard you can push the all-Monk build using existing enhancements. Since Monks have a great overall default set of saves, it shouldn’t be impossible to make due with even three-fourths of Pyn’s defense.

At level 15 it’s time to wear more stout armor than the Level 12 Frozen Tunic, so either a stored Icy Raiment or White Dragonscale Robe is due. I have the insane Unwavering Ardency bow from the Anniversary event for equal measure. The modifier for that bow with a Seal of the Black Abbot is making me actually run the Orchard chain and explore the wilderness to get the needed items to get that seal.

With a goal of getting 50+ WIS by level 30, Paracleta should be something interesting to play. Now I can’t wait to go to level 15 and add Improved Precise Shot. That’s where the fun begins.

Paracleta will share one common trait with Pynthetica in that total weapon damage is less important than a secondary benefit from the build. In Pyn’s case, it’s total defense from high Reflex and miss-chance. High weapon damage came along as part of the design and n Epic Destinies and Ranged Power in Epic. In Paracleta’s situation, at this point, it’s the overall DC to speciality imbues for tactical control of a battlefield–and applying that pain to as many targets as possible with as many hits per attack as possible with high Doubleshot and Improved Precise Shot.

The Zen Archery feat also takes hold when WIS is higher than DEX in determining the attack roll. I just need to keep DEX high to keep damage going.

So Paracleta will gain so much from just boosting WIS throughout her lifetime to ensure her specialty arrows do their work no matter what the difficulty. She may end up becoming far more “Zen” than Pyn.

I’ll likely post a video sometime of Paracleta doing her thing in a Droaam quest just to show it off. I might have enough data to post the official build by 20 but want to push her further to find her big weaknesses since every build has one.

FYI: The character’s name (pear-uh-KLEET-uh) fits barely in my typical character naming scheme and is based on another name for the Holy Spirit in Christian theology: “Paraclete” means “the advocate.” She tries to invoke the spirit of the bow.

Pyn Can’t Even

Favor Shame

I finally achieved 5,000 favor today, after getting humiliated with one of the new quests and getting 4,999.

It took Update 31’s new quests to do it because I just couldn’t do “Tomb of the Tormented” without turning into a mindless blabbering idiot that would make even a beholder hand me a bottle of Vicodin.

Zen and the Quest for 5,000 Favor

I’ve updated the Zen Archer build information with the final results of my experience with it. Without sounding my own gong too loudly, it’s got to be my most versatile build. That’s not saying much since I’ve only designed two builds. (The Poison Master is the second.)

Pynthetica, reaching level 30 some time ago, is accomplishing what I’ve not achieved with no other character: 5,000 total favor.

Okay, okay, you may snicker. Just cheer for me a little, those of you who’ve made many Heroic and Epic Completionist characters. I’m a slower player. (Perhaps that’s because I’m an older player, one who has played Pong on Atari in the Seventies, and Space Invaders in arcades, oh, long before many of you were born.)

Sometimes I celebrate things that may seem mundane to the power-gamers among the player base. I’m cheerful because the build has defied what some critics claimed it could not do. In short, she’s not only a survivor, but a dominating solo and group attacker as well as a strong raid character.

I won’t go over the hows and why again: You can find that easily on the build thread, as well as by searching for “Zen” in the search bar of this blog.

Getting 5,000 favor, as Gamer Geoff and Girl have done not long ago, gives you the choice of a +5 ability tome, as you may know. I’m getting a DEX tome for now.

After researching what I’d have to do get that much favor at the time I read Geoff’s article, I was heartbroken. I’d yet to get into the recent raids with groups I felt comfortable with. Some quests and most raids are virtually impossible to solo.

And I’m hitting that same wall that Geoff did once you got to around 4,700. My game-fu is nearly sufficient to climb that wall.

But lots of fresh new content has raised the total possible favor to 5,518 as of Update 30. That’s plenty of room to skip some raids and a few quests that just aren’t fun or practical to do.

If there’s one thing that Pyn can do for most quests with skill is sneak right through them. As long as the objectives don’t require mass slaughter, she moves through many adventures as unnoticed as a draft from a flying bug.

Of course, you can “cheat” to get Elite favor for several quests. Rather than sweat blood by diving into an Epic Elite quest, you can complete the Heroic Elite version if one is available. This works for chains such as The Red Fens and Magnificent Cabal, where the quests are the same but the difficulty is boosted. But it won’t work for modified versions of similar chains (and good on it, too, since these offer additional favor) such as Epic Gianthold and perhaps some quests in Epic Three-Barrel Cove.

It appears you can’t complete a quest on Heroic Elite and gain credit if you’ve already completed the adventure on any Epic difficulty as well. So, for quests I’ve already done on Epic difficulty that will hand my butt back to me in small to-go cups on solo play (such as the latest Codex and the Shroud flagging quests and the Archon’s Trial series), Epic Hard will have to do unless I can gather a few friends to help.

Thankfully, a number of folks from the Raiding Party of Greater Awesomeness have offered to help me (and help themselves, in turn) when we are able to connect, so that’s a plus.

I was greeted by something I’ve never seen before in my game mail that sparked all of this.

ScreenShot01960

Okay, I’m so lazy that it took 6 years for me to get 4,000 favor, ever. But I’m here now.

Reaching 4,000 has only emboldened me to get it all done. It’s rather fun to mow through some quests that were a bit harder at level. It’s more surprising when some upper-level Heroic quests try to hand you your head when a Champion at level 35 shows up in a Level 19 Heroic Elite adventure.

What’s amusing for me are completing quests I’ve really never completed before. Mostly, these are Necropolis quests. I’ve done Necro 4 quests before (but not the raids) but never have delved into Necro 3. That’s changing. I’m flagged for “The Mark of Death” so I’d love to take a stab at it.

I may also complete as much of the favor available from challenges as well.

I still need to complete “The Temple of Elemental Evil, Part 2,” on Heroic Elite, but it’s still bugged and uncompletable as of this writing and Update 30.

As of this writing, Pyn is at around 4,700 favor. There are a handful of raids I could do to help. After watching a YouTube video where some level 28 monkcher completed “A Vision of Destruction” on solo (enjoying his Adrenaline boosts), I think I’d have no problem taking down Suulomades on Elite with a bit of care–and friends, if available.

Pyn’s ability to kill at long range may seem mundane, but she’s easily the best character I’ve played in terms of balanced defensive/offensive simplicity. She’s no Szyncletica the Shroud Beater, but Pyn can actually survive and beat several places that even the Shuricannon can’t do. While my Poison Master’s DPS easily outpaces the Zen Master, her defenses are not as strong as Pynthetica’s complete miss-chance and higher PRR and AC. Much of that for the Poison Master might be rectified through a bit more epic gear, yet my Drow Ryncletica is limited to only 3 minutes of Displacement from a Green Steel clicky, while Pyn’s Elven Dragonmarks and Harper Agent’s Magic of Patience enhancement gives her 3 uses of Displacement at nearly 6 minutes per use.

As for comparisons with Artemistika, my all Elven Ranger Deepwood Stalker, their damage is very comparable, but Pyn’s all-Monk features generate stronger defenses to last longer than any Ranger. I think Misty should have a DPS edge with Improved Archer’s Focus and a few other ranged feats and Ranger-unique powers, but her general defenses suffer no matter the epic destiny, while Pyn’s defenses stay good no matter the destiny.

As I’ve said, a build’s viability is really a matter of play style, not how hard or many enemies you can hit or how many classes you glom together.

Let me know any tips or tricks you can share about getting 5,000 favor, especially if you are a Completionist or Reincarnation vet.

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