It’s been a bit since I last spoke about Kiricletica. Inspired by the character of “Kirito” in the light novel/anime about a VRMMORPG called Sword Art Online, Kiricletica emulated the anime character in generally completing her adventures completely alone. No hirelings (save a few quests where switches needed more than a single person) or summoned creatures as active fighters. And there’s the self-imposed limit to kills.
The Shuricannon Szyncletica stole my attention away for a time. Bugs in the game that stopped Ninja Poison from applying with Updates 21 and 22 also dampened my spirits to complete Kiri’s first life and reincarnate her for a second go.
With Ninja Poison working again, I logged in recently to find problems in playing Kiri.
There’s nothing wrong with her, but me. I’ve become a bane to Kiri’s success. (Any pun you detected is intentional.)
It’s because of a speed differential I’ve put in my head.
Of late, I’ve been primarily enjoying two characters with insane attack speeds: Szyncletica and the swashbuckling Flynncletica. So Kiri’s attack speed, as a shortsword wielding ninja, seems very very slow. I have a Melee Alacrity item but I don’t often drink Haste potions to boost things.
There’s also Kiri’s built-in attack methodology. While Szyn and Flynn can scream-and-leap into most any fight, Kiri’s designed to avoid fighting, picking off or eluding isolated enemies as required, then isolating the boss and eliminating them. Her primary DPS comes from Ninja Poison.
Finally, there’s a matter of scope. Kiri was not built as the ultimate fighter, but the ultimate victor. Completing the mission, not attaining the highest slayer count, or even all optionals, is Kiri’s design.
Difficulty is also not supposed to be a factor. The Epic Elite barrier that so many complain about on the forums when it comes to melee fighting is one that Kiri shouldn’t be trying to breech except in rare fights (perhaps “House of Rusted Blades”). Frankly, EE melee fighters hit very hard–harder than Kiri can withstand. She can complete most things on Epic Hard as the combat challenges are a bit less. More on EE issues in a moment.
Lastly, there’s the matter of raids. Raids are all about fighting in a group. Kiri cannot keep up by herself. With “Tempest’s Spine” as an exception, she doesn’t do raids under her solo rules.
So where does that leave the Most Loneliest Ninja?
Still happy, I think.
There’s Much Left to Do
My challenge at Kiri’s current level, 26, is three-fold. First, to push through some experience to add Legendary Dreadnought’s Improved Combat Expertise for a little PRR. Second is to complete her leveling to 28, just to say she can.
The last goal (and I don’t know if I have patience to do this) is to complete every quest available in the game that does not absolutely require multiple characters to complete. Raids are also off the table.
I’m not attempting to complete any remaining quests at Elite difficulty. I’m just trying to complete things, period. If there’s a Favor incentive I can see that can gain me something useful (such as those that gained me Yugoloth favor potions), then that’s a secondary goal.
Building a second Thunder-Forged Shortsword isn’t a bad idea. There may be a few more low-level items to farm before a reincarnation.
Some adventures may exceed Kiri’s powers, even if I were playing her optimally as before. For instance, completing the Wheloon quests, especially the Storm Horns series, seem damned impossible with this build in terms of thoroughness. The zerg-rush attacks in “Breaking the Ranks” and “What Goes Up” is going to hurt. It’s an arena fight like “Tharaask Arena.” Conservation of Ninjutsu be damned. Kiricletica would get slaughtered.
It’s Not Her, It’s Me
But let me get back to my mental handicap with Kiri’s fighting prowess. I’ve obviously shown her able under my gameplay to complete 3 of the 4 Devil Battlefield quests on Elite, by herself, to gain sufficient Yugo favor. I couldn’t just go stealth through all that. Further: Many devils and demons are poison-immune, so Kiri really had to fight it out to complete things.
So am I gimping my own playstyle with Kiri by playing high-attack speed characters?
I think so, although it’s not irreparable. Kiri’s design required the utmost patience, the most serious mind. I would leave Kiri in stealth for several minutes in a quest, contemplating my next moves, building up ki and studying the AI of a target I had to kill or could not bypass.
With Batman-esque determination, I executed the plan. Such meta-roleplay did work. But I’ve gotten out of true. Kiricletica isn’t very special in terms of character design or gear as a Ninja Spy. But she has a very specialized skill set, and thus, manner of play.
I took Kiri back into “Impossible Demands” on Epic Elite. While damaging Priestess Vicala to begin the hostage rescue wasn’t a problem, I immediately became overwhelmed in taking on the fighters of the hostages in room 1.
A post-mortem review revealed the one thing I pushed Kiri into doing; Offensive attacks. She normally lures single enemies out, before killing them as a viper would. Else, a horde of spiders can kill a sole viper.
It’s funny but Kiri is going to have to train me to play properly again, rather than me, the player, retooling her and reallocating this and that. Kiri is fine. I’m the one that sucks.
Broken Tools of the “Ninja Assassin” Trade?
Kiri is, in part, a perfection of ninja skills I first learned from her teacher, Ryncletica.
Kiri’s perfected a few of her own, such as high-dosage poisoning, paralyzing and enemy pulling.
With Update 22, how many new things will she had to add to her Ninja Utility Belt? And can she meet a new game mechanic change?
A foreboding example of Update 22’s aggro/AI changes came in a DDO forum thread where a player noted that the fun challenge of assassinating only the Minotaur Chieftain in “Frame Work” not only didn’t work but became a clusterfrak when mobs surged in from all throughout the city. What caught my eye (in screen shots) and the poster were all three Cabal Seers, high-level mages, suddenly spawning from their perches, hundreds of meters away, to guard the chieftain.
That’s too much of an aggro change. While local enemies should be attracted when you slap the boss, the “local” definition has changed to say, “Somewhere in the quest.” The Seers shouldn’t have a hot-line to call themselves in from halfway across the city and materialize atop you.
The only way I can think of working around this is to partially violate the limited kill rule by assassinating the Cabal Seers first. But then, if the AI is still wacky, that might bring more terror on my head if I don’t remove any Runts that ring the bells. And now, how far can those Runts detect you?
I do have an idea to improve on Kiri’s attack speed in her next life. More on that another time.
For now, I have to remember how to be a ninja. After all I’ve completed with Kiricletica, isn’t that weird?