I had been hoping to vent about what I’ve seen regarding the alpha of the Monk enhancements shown on the Lammania server last week but haven’t the stomach to chew through it as detailed as I wanted to as yet. As there were many, many things to discuss, I may need to make one large post that summarizes the good, bad and ugly I saw in the alpha.
I felt more compelled to throw myself into the game and enjoy one of my Monks before the enhancements reappear later on Lammania under beta tests. I guess I can take solace that the enhancement changes won’t be coming anytime soon.
My only Dark Monk, Ryncletica, has been on her first life for over two years. I leveled her slowly because I played her improperly, to be frank. While all of my Light Monks can heal themselves and have greater defensive and offensive ability, Ryncletica had a harder time because I tried to make a Dark Monk work as a Light Monk with expectedly bad results.
It wasn’t until I partied more with Ryn and reviewed how stealth really works in the game that Ryn got more face time and began to shine for her own merits.
After I used a Lesser Reincarnation on her some time ago, I retooled her stealth skills. I learned how Dodge, Incorporeality and Concealment can work with Evasion and good Reflex saves to form a nearly-invisible character that can complete some quests without any enemies inside knowing that Ryn was ever there.
Now that I’ve farmed enough Tokens of the Twelve using Lynncletica to get a true reincarnation token for Ryn, I decided to finally restart her life and take what I’ve learned to her new life as a far more experienced njnja.
The most important change to Ryn was her race. She’s moved from a Halfling to a Half-Elf. That adds the second key to her improvements: a Dilettante feat and enhancements.
The Dilettante choice was obvious: Cleric. Now Ryncletica can use scrolls and wands. I’ve been pretty myopic in the significance of this ability while researching and reading up from others that chose this path. I was happy to know I could use more healing options. But there’s far more, of course. I can use offensive wands and scrolls as well (such as Soundburst) and have better mending options than even my Light Monks over time (such as using full Restoration and Raise Dead scrolls) as I improve her Cleric Dilettante levels.
I’ve been on a tear re-leveling Ryn since last Saturday, going from level 1 to 7 in just 4 days. I put as many points into Hide and Move Silently as I could per level, and then took advantage of my Artificer crafter to make +10 Hide and +10 Move Silently items for her to use at level 7. I stealth-zerged the entire Splinterskull chain on Elite, fighting only when necessary. To help in self-healing, I crafted some Flametouched Iron wraps into +1 Acid Flametouched Iron of Lesser Vampirism handwraps.
Stealth is really underrated but it has a few drawbacks.
- Patience is not only a virtue, but a requirement. I entered “The Troglodyte’s Get” on Elite completely solo to test out Ryn’s new self-sufficiency and stealth. The mages there were the most deadly with their magic missiles and especially Hold Person spells. The objective wasn’t to kill any of them but to destroy their nests of eggs. Several well-placed throwing stars removed the eggs from a safe distance but also allowed me to snipe out of range of the mages. Shurikens also work well to hit-and-pull single enemies for a quick takedown.
- Did I mention I’m stealthy? I can complete quests much faster since I don’t spend time fighting, but until Ryn gets Ninja Spy II, more Monk Fast Movement levels and faster Striding boots, I’m not as fast on my feet as I’d like to be as I move through the quests.
- Ninjas don’t do breakables. With the recent update changes that give you a great chance to find great loot, even tomes, from breaking barrels, I am a little forlorn that I can’t always break every box I see. Barrel-slaying also makes noise and attracts the very enemies I don’t want to fight if I don’t have to. I also miss getting Ransack bonuses, although getting Devious and Insidious Cunning bonuses compensate a little.
- Ninjas also often skip optionals. For me, the goal is the goal, especially if its simply a matter of finding something or slaying one enemy. I don’t like skipping optionals but Ryncletica is more shadow and less fighter. Over time, she’ll gain more experience in completing quests than spending time exploring every nook and corner. This goes against my normal play mode (especially when enjoying time with guildmates) but since I’m also in solo play with Ryn, this is not an issue.
Just as in her higher-levels in her first life, Ryncletica is discovering that many low-level quests can be easily stealthed out to completion. I drummed her through the four Deneith sewer quests easily in Ninja mode, and am about to set my sights on Delera’s Tomb (undead sometimes sense your life, so stealth options there will vary), The Carnival quests in House P, and the Sentinels of Stormreach.
So far, this upgraded Ryncletica is enjoyable, but she’s a bit fragile with lower HP than I’d like, which leaves to some nail-biting moments when she fails an Evasion save.
Otherwise, it’s a good time to be a ninja–especially against my natural enemy: Pirates. Yaaryar and his crew on Irestone Inlet just got a serious schooling on the art of shadow.