Hardcore Monk Part 1 – Using Everything I Know

Thanks to the new friends in my guild on Ghallanda and their past gameplay prior to joining me, I decided to try something new.

I’ve joined the Hardcore server for Season IV.

Almost immediately in after character creation, all kinds of anxiety and paranoia crept into my head. Some of it I couldn’t fully understand until one of us had an untimely (and, naturally) permanent death with their bow-wielding Rogue in the Borderlands.

But let me back up to my strategy, such as it is.

Petracletica, the Ninja

I suspect many players put defense as a secondary priority over sheer killing power in normal server play, and that’s understandable.

But from what I can gather in Hardcore mode, that’s not nearly as easy an option. For those unfamiliar with the basics of Hardcore, here’s a two sentence summary: You get one life. Die, by any means, and that character is done, trapped (with any gear or currency) in a special realm until the event is over and the developers open the server for World Character transfers should you so desire.

With that in mind, Petracletica arrived as a Halfling Ninja Spy.

Halfling would not normally be my first choice for what I had in mind, but Hardcore threw my usual build strategies under the bus. I had no access to any of the resources unlocked or stored on my home server, so the Drow race wasn’t available, nor is any of my old gear or currency.

But Halfling would give me access to the Mark of Healing, which I can use to survive and throw emergency heals at others, especially early on while every single thing that drops from breakables and chests is prized and sold if unusable. Potions right now are hard to come by as my team begins.

Never has level 1 starter gear been so valuable to so many, especially the usable items from the Borderlands.

Petra’s central build will be a starthrower with melee backup by a shortsword. I want to keep anything as far from me as possible while slaying it. I’ll be adding in the Falconry tree to trip or blind enemies when possible. For anything else, the ninja finishing move skills to paralyze, blind, and nauseate come to the fore. Halfling throwing, sneak attack and Dodge bonuses can help here if I can afford them. What I can’t outgun, I will outrun and evade, perhaps long enough to recall if possible to try again.

When I can do so, I won’t kill at all. I’ll sneak past it.

I used that strategy well during my play with Kiricletica, the lone ninja, way back when.

But, I will be in a party almost all the time. Thankfully hirelings are surprisingly useful here to fill things in to form a traditional D&D style party with all the party needs but without a deadly committal to be a tank.

Ninjas provide a better self-sufficiency over a Shintao Monk to me. While Shintao has good defenses and can self-heal with ki, they are not initially strong until level 9. In fact, I find them pretty dang squishy. They are also one-trick ponies, extremely good in melee work and party buffs, but not much else without some expensive adaptations.

Other non-divine classes have similar limitations, of course. I’m just working with what I know. And, point to point, a low-level Ninja Spy can outrun and outgun many others at their comparative level, I feel.

Is My Reputation At Stake?

Everything I know and tried to teach or relate about Monks is coming to the fore for my party to survive to level 20, at the least. (Work on the updated guide does continue, by the way.)

I’m listening intently to my party and their experience. There’s different rules to entering quests at certain levels. So leveling up too swiftly may permanently lock you out of quests you want to complete. So level 3 is where we will sit as we gather gear to survive. I want fortification and deathblock right away. Gear drops early on for some of these effects, thankfully. The Protector’s Heart set items from the Korthos quests together give 25% fortification for something quick to find before entering Stormreach.

Level 3’s not a bad level for me; I was able to take my Monk philosophy strike and can now do the ninja finishers potentially. I need far more Concentration skill, however. My ki pool is too low, even with passive ki regeneration available with Faster Sneaking enhancement maxed.

We’re ranging everything we can. I spent a feat on Shuriken Expertise (something a Drow would get for free) to get a chance at an extra shuriken thrown per toss. With Falconry tree in play, I will likely take the Killer Instinct enhancements to make WIS my damage and to-hit stat, so I can pump it nearly exclusively to also ensure both bird strikes and ninja finishers connect with high DCs.

Sadly, during our farming for kills and gear in the Borderlands wilderness, our Rogue died after a knockdown left him vulnerable while the party got separated. My paranoia and adrenaline kicked up at that moment and I realized why it felt more personal.

The death made me recall why I initially made Kiricletica, based on a popular anime/manga series.

By now you’re likely familiar with “Sword Art Online” (SAO), a series of anime and manga that tell the tale of a well-experienced teenaged gamer that, in the original story, is among one of over 10,000 players in a totally immersive RPG where you are in an Oculus Rift-style visual, complete with some sensory benefits (eating, touching, pain), as your game interface is your brain.

Things go badly for all of these gamers when the creator of the game decides to become a god. The hardware interface all players wear is rigged to microwave the brains of any players who die in the game. You cannot log out until the game is fully completed, on beating the ultimate boss.

Drama ensues.

The Hardcore server’s Obituary announcements of deaths that occur were very numerous during our party’s initial hours of play. We realized why from the cause of death announced.

The devs activated the Mimic Hunt.

I had just returned to the game after a hiatus and had never played that mode before. So now, every chest we find, desperate for anything out of it we can use, now has a chance of spawning a dangerous mimic.

The many deaths recalled the first episodes of SAO, where about half of all player deaths recorded during the game’s two years of uptime occurred in the first month. To me, it seemed no different on the Hardcore server. The mimics are relentless.

Defense skills, careful leveling and gameplay prowess trump gear and aggression. It’s what helped the main character survive. It’s what worked for me with Kiricletica. I hope it works for Petracletica.

And if it does not, you’ll see a post about her death and what I’ll try again.

Wish me luck!

Note: WordPress loves to change its features, so this post looks terrible since trying to wrap text around an image now requires a PhD now. Apologies for the archaic look.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DDOCentral
    Apr 01, 2021 @ 15:51:54

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  2. Goremu/Giganpor
    Apr 03, 2021 @ 12:49:26

    I believe I will join you. Might ask for a Paladin/Rogue/Monk build down the line. If you see a Giganporu running around, hit me up. Warforged Paladin. And yes, the deaths make me think of SAO as well.

  3. saekee
    Apr 06, 2021 @ 22:20:58

    hey glad you are trying it. Look for a toon called Rat, parked at level 4!

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