Zen Balance


I’ve been amiss in getting updates to the Zen Archer build as I finalized its Epic settings. As I might have mentioned before, it turned out to be an easy build to level up destinies while in off-destiny, once I was able to get three Fate slots opened to have Pin, A Dance of Flowers (GMoF weapon damage) and the ever-popular Rejuvenation Cocoon available no matter what destiny was in use.

I took a bit more time to train through Legendary Dreadnought, Unyielding Sentinel and Divine Crusader to get the necessary points for a tier 2 slot 2 upgrade and a tier 3 slot 1 upgrade. This allows the use of Grim Precision for extra fortification bypassing against portal gateways.

You might see where I’m going with this.


I hope to take Mericletica, the first complete Epic Zen Archer (save a few pieces of gear in the new Update 27 quests and “Haunted Halls”) into a solo Shroud run, emulating her sister, Szyncletica.

With Meri’s slower shot speed, despite her higher weapon damage and critical hits, I needed the best fortification bypass I could generate. Here’s what she’ll have going into such a run, with Grandmaster of Flowers as the active destiny.

  • Precision: 25%
  • Grim Precision: 15%
  • Piercing Clarity: 10%
  • Trapsmith’s Workshop ship buff: 5%
  • Black Dragonscale Robe’s Armor-Piercing: 10%

That’s 65% fortification bypass, which should help take down those portal gateways well enough, once I make a few tests. Aside from getting a Deconstructor augment slot to add Improved Destruction for fortification damage, I don’t have anything else to add here through training.

I’ll use my tier 1 Thunder-Forged Longbow as usual for maximum damage. If I could run the Thunderholme raids regularly, I could struggle for ingredients to get tier 2 and gain 35% Armor-Piercing on that bow for a terrific 85% bypassing.

I’m able to take down a portal in about 35 seconds without Manyshot in earlier tests, but I need to work on increasing my consistent power and attack before trying a Shroud. Raids are different, of course, so I’d have to ensure that Meri’s defenses are strongest to survive alone there.

I’ve finally updated the details finalized for using the build in my forum thread, since it wasn’t quite clear-cut as I ask you to configure the character one way for Heroic and then adjust behavior based on Epic play. It is worth it, but I can’t help you see that without more information. Thanks for your patience.

Alright, Enough with the IPS

By the way, the forum thread has had several responses, one generously kind but critical, another not so much, about the addition of Improved Precise Shot into the build.

I refuse. In fact, that the build’s gotten very very far without it, even surviving more EE attempts than Szyn has done is  proof that IPS isn’t what this build’s best at doing.

I think IPS will do nothing more than get the Zen shit-kicked out of it because of excessive aggro, and game mechanics prove this. One notes how I rely on hirelings as aggro-magnets, but this is no different than Rogues and mages hanging around with players. The Zen Archer does not lead the charge, but it certainly concludes it. I don’t build characters to be Avatars of Untold Slaughter of Millions By Themselves. That’s the monkcher. Go read about that one.

So the only conclusion I can make is that people really don’t understand that I don’t play my characters with absolute power or completion speed in mind. Like many of my characters, the Zen Archer takes its time, destroys with near-impunity depending on the quest, and walks home without a death and some loot. The Zen Archer is a ninja archer and relies on powerful surprise attacks to end enemies fast. Just as my melee ninjas don’t try to aggro the whole dungeon, I don’t do so with this archer.

Of course I’m enjoying the reversal of the game mechanics that don’t easily alert other enemies to when one of their allies is being punctured. Isn’t everyone?

So, if you think that not having IPS is crippling, add it in and see what happens. I won’t be.

This will likely be the last post on the Zen Archer for a while unless I pull off a Shroud victory with one (one chance in 3, as opposed to even-money with the Shuricannon). I need to concentrate on greater documentation for it in the Monk guide, and then set off for different things.

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. saekee
    Aug 19, 2015 @ 07:22:22

    Props for standing by your playstyle! I have enjoyed teaming up with your zen archer with my thrower. It was yin and yang–I was monkeying around while you stood still and plinked away. I feel this build most reflects your personality–I remember in one quest where you said aloud in your mic how that was the perfect zen encounter in which you stood your ground against several charges of mobs.
    I think ranged combat synergizes superbly with stealth. (Pin is OP.) So well that I have reincarnated into a better thrower based on jakeleela’s new thread. I hope to get back to epics and join you again (I level slowly though).

    • teachersyn
      Aug 19, 2015 @ 18:06:29

      I treat Pin like Stunning Fist, although it’s far slower. It’s an excellent option to halt very dangerous Champions or to work faster with the sniper lifestyle. If I’d had to pick an overpowered feat, it’s Manyshot. Not that I’d want to be rid of it but you can clear a crapload in 20 seconds with boosts and whatnot.

  2. geoffhanna
    Aug 19, 2015 @ 09:17:59

    Rage, rage, rage against the night …

  3. DDOCentral
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 02:07:04

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  4. mernom
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 07:24:24

    Wait, how do you deal with the part when you need to split the enemies?

    • Tholgrin
      Aug 20, 2015 @ 17:01:49

      Very, very creative trailing 😛

    • teachersyn
      Aug 20, 2015 @ 18:07:41

      In the Shroud, phase 2? The trick there is not to split them immediately. Blow down all their HP and wait for your moment. Certain lieutenants are too fast to split sometimes but eventually you get your shot. From there, on their second life, the enemies tend to have less HP and (depending on the enemy) lose their special buffing. They’ll still gain that death warding thingie, so timing is important. I got lucky on my first solo Shroud when Fire’s spirit got stuck in trying to go back, leaving me time to blow up the last guys and run to destroy the crystal.

  5. Tholgrin
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 17:01:21

    I have to agree with your evaluation of IPS. While you can get away with a lot more in Heroic, in Epic it seems to just aggro everything in the bloody dungeon. Didn’t matter if you were only hitting two enemies. I put that on my Shuricannon to play around with, went back to PS almost immediately, and don’t regret not taking it this go-around one bit.

    • teachersyn
      Aug 20, 2015 @ 18:11:17

      Shuricannons are built to be aggro-magnets and relish it because they are room-clearing ninjas. Some players don’t get playstyle and think only by what’s faster, but not what’s best. I’m too old to be faster, so I stick to effective.

      • Tholgrin
        Aug 20, 2015 @ 18:37:18

        That doesn’t necessarily mean I WANT the whole dungeon on me when there’s a group, though! 😛 Sure, I COULD monkey around and kite, but, ehh. I have too much divine war-tank in me to keep that up for longer than I have to.

  6. erdrique
    Aug 22, 2015 @ 00:35:50

    Yeah, I concur with the others. I tend to grab way too much aggro with IPS with my Arcane Archer/Shiradi Champion in Epic quests and do my best to control that. Sometimes I do ok…other times I don’t. IPS isn’t the end all be all for all builds. I’m glad your build is working!! 🙂

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