Theatricality and Deception, Part 2

Ninja_crouchBefore Update 19, I spoke of the gameplay skills and tools of the trade to make ninjas emulate as much of the tactical and gadget prowess as illustrated by non-powered superheroes and master spies.

With the new Ninja Spy enhancements and general changes in the game, I wanted to touch on some important changes that really add to the Ninja Spy lifestyle.

  • Rather than debuffing with elemental damage, ninjas gained a trademark ability from their lore: poison. This stuff is bad going in and going out if you use skills that magnify the damage. It’s not an instant kill effect but a great way to add damage-over-time to tougher bosses.
  • The Ninjitsu effects (which replaced the elemental debuffs that are now part of the Henshin Mystic tree) can inflict or withdraw poison, boost your HP and ki temporarily, or give negative levels to enemies en masse. These effects are toggled at will, individually, and activated when you let loose a Touch of Despair finisher. Happily, Update 19.2 has fixed the Wave of Despair negative-level finisher from giving negative levels to your allies.
  • Flash Bang. My favorite new toy will stun and/or blind a group for 6 seconds if they fail one or both saves. Compare it to Batman’s smoke bombs that can be used in a similar way. Great for ninja escapes and first strikes.
  • Jumping and tumbling while in stealth adds loads to mobility, allowing you to circumvent mobs more effectively than simply walking between them.
  • Faster sneaking makes sense for a good ninja.
  • Escaping a mob that detects you, using stealth or invisibility, is a bonus. One new tactic I use against small to medium-sized mobs in a wide or long dungeon with some nooks and crannies and turns is to purposefully attract the whole mob against me, then go emergency stealth, let the mob pass by, and continue ahead.
  • Ninja Master. As noted in a recent post, any centered weapon that gives piercing or slashing damage will also slice a head clean off (or give 100 damage) by a fully trained ninja.
  • Shuriken. Holy moley. Do you know how deadly even the weakest of these are now when thrown by a full ninja?
  • Flash stepping: A quick move every Monk gains with Abundant Step to quickly bypass a mob or trap as if you’ve teleported around them (unchanged, but thought I’d remind you of it)

One humorous addition in the Ninja Spy tree is Deception–an emergency escape trick. Use a turn of Meditation to bring a training dummy into existence with a huge hate-magnet signature, simultaneously making yourself invisible. From there, a Ninja should go immediately to stealth, using Abundant Step to escape the mob that came close to overwhelming you.

The funny part of Deception comes from the dummy’s appearance.

Overbearing swagger. Pompous hat. Yep, looks like a pirate to me.

Overbearing swagger. Pompous hat. Yep, looks like a pirate to me.

Somebody on the developer team knows of the enmity between ninjas and pirates, so it was logical to make enemies go after a fake pirate (is that an oxymoron?) and not an actual ninja.

These three kobolds just outside of the entrance to the Searing Heights from the Marketplace were itching for a fight anyway.

They still hate us.

They apparently hate rogue wooden pirates more. Yay, kobolds!

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John B.
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 13:03:06

    I LOVE Abundant Step now with the new jumping and tumbling while stealth system. With high enough jump, I just take a big leap and just cross right behind them, without a sound. It’s beautiful.

    I haven’t played with the decoy too much. I rather like keeping Meditate around, so using even a single charge usually requires needing it. Suppose I could “splash” into the Henshin tree for a few more.

    I do however, still need to spend a bit of time playing with the new stealth system. Everything seems to find me faster than before, it seems. Losing agro seems to be getting harder. Perhaps I’m just out of practice.

    • teachersyn
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 14:31:15

      The new stealth AI is FAR more vigilant. It compels you to truly hide, not lurk in the middle of the hallway. That said, I find it easy to re-hide as a ninja. If detected, I fight, gathering up the mob, then throwing a Flash Bang to blind and stun them all. I quickly go invisible, stealthy and use the Step to get distance, out of sight and behind something if possible. Works every time, so far.

      I find just Stepping without jumping to work most of the time in flash stepping past a group. I’m convinced in practice that the Step makes no sound, even on landing. It’s practically a short-range teleport.

      • John B.
        Oct 04, 2013 @ 19:56:39

        So more practice is needed!

        Theoretically, Abundant Step can be used to bypass critters with tremorsense, provided it is used outside of their detecting range.

        • teachersyn
          Oct 04, 2013 @ 21:30:49

          When I see spiders, I just go, “Aw…f$@# it” and go bug squashing. Especially now…they have a longer Spot bonus than ever. By the time you’ve see them, they’ve already started sharpening their fangs. I blunt them.

          • John B.
            Oct 05, 2013 @ 01:50:42

            I noticed that too in a recent run of Trial by Fire. I suppose it’s a change to help with their Tremor Sense.

  2. EvenNote
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 02:03:22

    Acanthia may be a light monk – it’s just who she is – but after reading your blogs and listening to my friend Vey, if I’m ever ready to TR her, I’m going to respec her first and run her as a dark monk for a bit just to try it out. I’d really like to see how light and dark compare to each other.

    Plus, I really, really want that dummy. LOL

    • John B.
      Oct 05, 2013 @ 02:45:43

      I’m still in the air on them myself. I really want to enjoy running around with the short swords over being unarmed. But the damage is just kind of… meh. Maybe I just need better ones. It really does kinda focus on them, though. Rather like the idea of them using them, I just can’t really justify it.

      Other than that, it’s a bit of fun. Does involve a bit of tinkering to find how you would enjoy it, though. I still have to play with the Poison Exploit, though. Unbalancing Strike is also very nice with it.

    • teachersyn
      Oct 05, 2013 @ 08:31:08

      We have cookies on the dark side! Chocolate chip! The secret to my Dark Monk success is the Half-Elf Cleric dilettante for self-healing and buffing. They’re more versatile than a Light Monk in this regard now, given the U19 partial nerfing of Shintao’s raise-dead effect.

      • John B.
        Oct 05, 2013 @ 10:59:35

        I honestly didn’t much care for Rise of the Phoenix pre U19. I always played my Shintao like a Light Monk with a Inevitable Dominion mentality. The new Shintao Capstone description rather passes the boundary of doing either. “You continually seek physical and spiritual betterment, reaping many benefits.” It’s kind of neutral, so it suits me just fine.

        What scrolls are you using for buffing from the Divine list?

        • teachersyn
          Oct 05, 2013 @ 12:05:59

          Many chose Monk Improved Recovery over Phoenix for Shintao II. I did both as it was quite handy when a cleric died. I like Blur, Nightshield, Restoration and Heal scrolls.

          • John B.
            Oct 05, 2013 @ 15:29:48

            I took all of the prerequisites for Phoenix, I just never really took it, and took the Recovery as the way to grab Shintao II. However, I mostly ran solo, so it was largely unnecessary to use Phoenix, so perhaps that had an impact as well.

            I suppose you have UMD as well if you’re pulling out Blur scrolls? Protection from Elements Mass might help too. The mass spells tend to work great for some spells, as it increases the duration and / or potency.

            • teachersyn
              Oct 07, 2013 @ 00:43:06

              No UMD. Blur’s a simple spell for Cleric dilly to use. Not enough points for cross-classing. I found Phoenix handy as a solo player because hirelings. Are. Stupid. 🙂 No mass scrolls, but at high level I have a lot of Heal, Restoration and Raise Dead scrolls for those…special days. :/

              • FuzzyDuck81
                Oct 07, 2013 @ 03:08:16

                Ooo blur can be used as cleric dilly now, cos of the warpriest stuff? That’s rather nice if so & i wonder if it extends to haste too?

                As it is, my cleric dilly characters tend to keep wands/scrolls of:
                Nightshield (anti-MM defence & the +reflex boost to saves is still bugged so stacks with items)
                Resist energy (since I’m too lazy to renew ship buffs all the time)
                Heal (well duh)
                Restoration (handy to have)
                Greater restoration (only 65% success chance, but thx to dilly that doesn’t drop even if i’ve taken 15 negs, unlike relying on UMD)
                Raise Dead (group support)
                Protection from elements (bit of extra spot protection)
                True seeing (if i don’t have it on an item)
                word of recall (emergency escape button for when things really go south)
                Protection from evil/magic circle against evil (for anti-command use)

                Still haven’t really played with the “proper” dark path ninja, i prefer the self healing from fists of light 🙂

                • teachersyn
                  Oct 07, 2013 @ 13:17:19

                  I have Word of Recall as a poor man’s teleport, with much of the other spells you describe. I’d guess that Blur scrolls are caster level things but I’m pretty ignorant of that stuff. On dark Monk healing: that’s why Half Elf dilly is great, provided you are not doing sustained fighting as a Shintao can do with better defenses and continuous self-healing. Pumping up the healing amp and using Lesser and later full Vampiric weapons work fine for crunch times. I beat up many vampires for Locus of Vol necklaces often for this reason.

              • John B.
                Oct 07, 2013 @ 07:49:52

                Interesting. Blur is definitely not a standard spell from the divine list. Wonder why the Cleric Dilettante can use it.

                • Mernom
                  Oct 11, 2013 @ 08:04:59

                  the warprist tree has a core ability that makes it a cleric spell,so maybe te devs somehow made it to associate with the cleric class…i may be wrong though

                  • John B.
                    Oct 11, 2013 @ 08:59:46

                    I suppose so. It doesn’t sound right, though. (That it should be like that, that is.)

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