The Efficient Gamer

Ryn4Being an older gamer (“When I was your age, we played with 8-bits…and we LIKED IT!) I’m not as keen as jumping on the bandwagon of some other new game. I have been tempted to try out WoW just to see what the fuss was about.

My new job (yay!) consists of three or four 12-hour work days. The advantage of that is a LOT of days off to decompress, sleep and catch up on work.

This new routine has reduced my DDO time a bit, because, as my guild’s prime rule says, “real life comes first.”

That doesn’t mean I’m not playing at least two to three hours per week. Still doing the same things, just a bit slower.

Pynthetica is nearing 29 once more as a Zen Archer. I’m looking into improving this build once more, as I might have noted, by checking out other races and classes. My last task from a gear standpoint is (1) craft up level 30-ish items that are optimally placed (WIS, DEX) so to allow use of named items, replacing some loot-gen items that aren’t in good spots; (2) Complete a Legendary Shroud and craft up ingredients to make my Legendary Green Steel Mineral Longbow with “You Cannot Evade Me”: an augment that spikes Insightful DEX by 1d8+2 for 20 seconds and causes 1d8+2 Dexterity damage. Apropos for the ever-evading Zen Archer, do you think?

Paracleta, my very successful Zen Bowmaster, finally has her Complete Thunder-Forged Longbow. Being a first-lifer, I’ll possibly eTR her first and burn Shiradi karma for a Doubleshot 3% bonus to bring her ultimate standing Doubleshot to 74% with gear but before any use of Ten Thousand Stars or Manyshot, which sends her Doubleshot to as high as 241%. I should begin work on her Legendary Green Steel Longbow, too. Once back at level 30, it’ll be back to a regular Heroic True Reincarnation to play around with some things. Paracleta was built as a counter-attack to comments about the Zen Archer. As serendipity would have it, she found a very strong niche. This character will have a long and very dangerous life.

I’d love to get more time in on Ryncletica, my third build, the Poison Master. She’s incredibly dangerous with her DPS and poison damage but could use some offensive adjustments over several areas. The great thing about her is that she’s effective at any level because of her build design. Time to play with other races, although this may reduce a little poison damage and require feats I get for free as a Drow. She’s also lacking powerful Thunder-Forged weapons, but her innate speed and damage is already good. Defense is the central need for the Poison Master.

Lynncletica has proven herself as a very versatile tank over many raids. There’s little more she can be, so I may never TR her again, reserving her as a contingency tank for raids that lack one. We’ll see. Meanwhile, new Dragonborn Shintao Scythetica may be filling in as I test this race with Shintao training.

Been thinking of how to improve Szyncletica, my old original Shuricannon. I should look at Firewall’s Shuricannon 2.0 notes and integrate them into her next life. Meanwhile she’s working on a Thunder-Forged shuriken since Pyn, Paracleta and Lynn are done with their many “Deathwyrm” raid rotations. Like Pyn, Szyn is desperately in need for optimizing her gear, so she’s aiding that being the central contributor of loot-gen gear to be crunched into Cannith essences for my crafter to use and grow.

With the Update 33 changes, I’d also want to revisit some older ideas. One that fell by the wayside with the enhancement tree introduction was the “Avatar” build that leverages the strengths of each and every Monk stance. Now that the Monk stances are themselves augmented yet again and with improvements (and more personal experience with) Epic Destinies, I might be able to take one of my characters through such a development.

And then there’s the recent changes that have made stealth (and, in the case of Rogues, assassination) that make this ability much more hazardous to use. I still have my solo-stealth master, Kiricletica, to study how to augment stealth skills against a dungeon that, on sensing you, truly alerts whole squads at you. Can a ninja still use their disappearance and stealth skills to escape reliably?

Thanks for still coming by to read, although I cannot post as often as I’d like.

Quintessentially Powerful

As noted in my last, I began building an experimental Monk that concentrated on powerful attacks and relied less on special Prestige Enhancement attacks and abilities. I called it the “Avatar” build since she would possess all four Monk Grandmaster stances.

Turns out, Quintessica is one ticked-off and dangerous halfling fighter. I declare her a big success.

I hope to put a few shots of her work, but let me update you on how things progressed for her to current level 23.

The Limit by Design

I noted that taking four Grandmasters prohibited a Monk from taking Void Strike IV and Monk Serenity heroic capstone. This is by design, I learned. Before taking any Grandmaster stance, you must spend exactly 64 action points, leaving you 16. Guess how many points it takes per Grandmaster stance? Yes, four. And four times four means zero points left for anything else.

That was good news, in a way. I found myself stockpiling points after gaining all Master stances prior to taking the Grandmasters. It left me the opportunity to actually add Shintao Monk I and II into the build as I had to spend up to 64 points. I had taken advantage of the metal-studded handwraps that drop far more frequently now in Update 14, and tried to craft Holy of Maiming on each Byeshk, Cold Iron and Silver.

Turns out the Silver ones are bugged; the Silver DR does not work for some reason, so back to the crafting halls I go. Fortunately, some CRAZY PERSON had sold a pair of +3 Silver Handwraps of Pure Good in House Deneith’s stores one day. (I kid you not! Prior to Update 14, you could ask the maximum price for these babies or Metalline of Pure Good on the Auction House.)

So, with Byeshk and Cold Iron inboard, there were two serious problems as noted before. One, Quintessica’s hit points remained seriously low. Thankfully, Grandmaster of Earth, with an Improved False Life item, keeps her around the 480-500 mark, more so with buffs. GM of Earth also makes her far more durable, as I’ve learned from Lynncletica, my Shintao III Earth Grandmaster.

While leveling up to 20, Quin’s favorite attack used paralyzers, stuns or banishing wraps. The steps were simple.

  1. Find a mob and jump into the center of them.
  2. Use Whirlwind Attack…a 360 4[W] cleave.
  3. Kill what few enemies were left standing.
  4. Repeat.

My damage with a Whirlwind often killed at least half a mob if my Seeker effects went off. I had little of that until Epic level 1 and new gear (more in a moment).

Leveling went very fast, thanks to several marathon guild runs hither and yon. Then I realized it was the Epic Destinies that would show how really well this build works.

I already gushed about how awesome the Grandmaster of Flowers destiny can be. The Mighty Quin gets Epic level 1, enjoys her new DragonBall KAMEHAME-HA!!! ki attacks and then finds herself the benefactor of three new game-changing items and 1 feat…as if she wasn’t slaying enough things already.

  • Grave Wrappings. These suck the ever-loving life from EVERYTHING but red-named monsters. They don’t really care about the target’s damage reduction. They enervate the hell out of something so that a stun is certain and death is quick. I wear these all the time…screw the negative-level it gives you as a result. You won’t care.
  • Drow Smoke Goggles. I’ve been crawling the Demon Sands for a Blood Stone. Screw that–these have Blindness Immunity, Seeker +6 and Manslayer? If the Grave Wrappings don’t send Quin’s foes to Cania fast enough, a Manslayer hit procs 4 times out of 10 for her now.
  • Spider-Spun Caparison. Yeah, everybody’s wearing them, but that’s because they work as well as they look. A gift from a very generous guild-mate.
  • Improved Critical: Bludgeoning. This feat, combined with the first above, sent Quin into Destroyer of Worlds territory as critical hits exploded from her hand.

And Quin wasn’t done.

She reached Tier 4 or so of her destiny and received Drifting Lotus. You remember that one?

So, with the gear above, I can modify my attack sequence a little bit.

  1. Find mob and mosh into it.
  2. Use Drifting Lotus.
  3. Use Whirlwind Attack.
  4. Walk away without flinching at the circular dead on the ground.

Often, there is few to none left alive after that bit of work. Everyone around me gets 400-800 points of damage or are instantly slain, depending on what they were hit with.

And Quin is, by far, the finest stunning Monk in my arsenal. She can stun Epic Normal foes 90% of the time with Stunning +10 in place.

The Verdict on the Avatar

Building Quintessica has been fun. Does having all Grandmasters make a difference? I would say “yes,” but it is not a requirement for serious butt-whooping. It does make for incredible versatility.

Start a fight in Ultimate Fire Stance, spin-attack a mob and your ki is already half-full. Drop into Earth Stance for defense and damage. Light easy-to-kill mobs, high jumps, or speed for attacks or  traversing long areas enjoy Ultimate Wind Stance. When coming up on serious traps and a need to avoid damage and/or regenerate ki quickly without creating much threat takes Ultimate Ocean Stance.

I’m not missing Monk Serenity now, as GMoF’s feats add that one in effectively by Tier 6, as well as Enhanced Ki from the outfits.

And yes, Quin owns the Vestments of the Sun Soul and its two additional set items. Kicking each ability of the set on while in each Grandmaster stance and a vorpal-level hit gives me a Radiant Forcefield (Earth), Cure Moderate Wounds and Restoration (Fire…gotta have this on when something neg-levels me), Freedom of Movement and 6% to Doublestrike (Wind) or Fire Shield/Cold (Water), each for a brief time.

I’ll post a bit more, hopefully with pics. Quintessica has made me realize it’s time to reincarnate Lynncletica already. Quin is the most superior Monk I have, and I’m totally stoked.

Sure, I can’t Void something out of existence (at least until I get DEATH BLOSSOM…er, I mean “Everything is Nothing”) or Jade reliably. But Quin stuns, knocks down and slays so well, it doesn’t matter.

Aang Would Be Proud: The “Avatar” Build

I’m always trying to find something new, something that pushes the innate power of Monks to its fullest.

With that, I’m happy to talk about Quintessica, a halfling Monk that goes pppphfff! to Prestige Enhancements. She is trying to do for Monks what Hulk does to…well, everything, actually. She smashes.

I’ve done a little studying on the forums-so thanks to those who’ve already had an idea to emulate Aang and Korra from Avatar: The Last Airbender and it’s successor, The Legend of Korra. A Monk that possesses all four Grandmaster stances should be a highly adaptable fighter.

Downsides:

  1. Action Points usage will be horrific. It’s already tight to fulfill PreE prerequisites, the PreE and its levels itself, one Grandmaster, Monk Improved Recovery, Void Strike IV and have enough for Monk capstone. To master all elemental stances, you simply must sacrifice PreEs, to start.
  2. No Shintao Monk PreE means that Quintessica will have a harder time in DR breaking. Update 14 and Cannith Crafting fixes this a little: More metal-laced handwraps fall in the game, especially at high levels, and crafting allows customization of needed wraps for special occasions. Having a Artificer handy means less stress as well.
  3. The STR, DEX, CON and WIS ability stats must reach 18, minimum, to use their respective Grandmaster stance. Thankfully, Update 14 and the DDO Store appear to have made +3 Tomes available as a permanent offering. Quin is a halfling, a matter I’m still rethinking but I stand by her better overall stats, save STR.
  4. Fewer special attacks mean a consideration of new attacks. Update 14 added Dodge bonuses to the feats that lead up to Whirlwind Attack, something I’ve considered in past builds but never did–until now. That needed a big INT tome but, happily, I’ve pulled 2 +3 tomes lately (sold one for a big replenishment of plat on Lynncletica). That ate three feats and I’ve as yet to see how this will fare with things such as Two-Weapon Fighting feats.
  5. You can have all 4 Grandmasters or Monk Serenity capstone. There aren’t enough APs for both. Thankfully, Master Ocean Stance and new Enhanced Ki +1 items in game will help a bit here.

The whole idea of Quintessica is to maximize the power of finishing moves, stuns, attacks such as Shining Star and Quivering Palm, and utilize her Halfling speed to create the ultimate in Waif-Fu that would make River go, “Nice..!”

I spent the weekend with some awesome guildmates that quickly helped her reach level 12. With that, and a feat respec, the Mighty Quin pulls out her paralyzing handwraps for some interesting crowd control in fights.

Potential problems: Quin’s HP is dangerously low. She needs to kill and fast. My experience with Lynncletica’s Grandmaster of Earth defenses mean good things for Quinn as long as doesn’t pull too much threat inherit from the stance. I mentioned the DR issues, so she will likely become my first kama master and quarterstaff wielder for tough cases until she gets more advanced handwraps. I like that idea since I have a Raul’s Might, Dreamspitter and Dream Edge available to her.

Another changed feat with Update 14 I’m considering: Precision. It provides extra damage, stacks with Monk stances (as do other fighting stances) and may make a serious dent in a punch-drunk Monk’s success.

I’m terrible at posting pictures in posts, much less build summaries (any tips on easy use of this is appreciated), but I will keep you apprised on how Quin is doing.