The End to Farming for Silver+Good Handwraps

Van Helsing: Bringing the right tool and attitude for the job.

The monastic life of unarmed combat in Stormreach in the realm of DDO and realms beyond has, frankly, been a pain in the hands for many Monks.

While other classes could wield all kinds of weapons that can help bypass an enemy’s innate material or alignment-based damage reductions, the Monk is a special case.

The body of the unarmed Monk is the weapon. Handwraps aren’t coded as weapons but enhancements that add to the effectiveness of unarmed damage.

And that is the rub. To fight gracefully, a Monk must remain Centered. This means you can’t wear any light, medium or heavy armor. You can wear an outfit, a robe, or run about in your brown skivvies if that’s your thing. You’re also limited to only a few weapons outside of handwraps that could add the same DR-bypassing goodness of a traditional melee character–at the expense of slightly slower attack speed than fighting unarmed, as well as being prohibited from using some of the Monk’s speciality unarmed-only tactics such as Stunning Fist and the Dark Monk’s Touch of Death.

As Monks enter level 16 and begin flagging themselves in the Vale of Twilight for “The Shroud,” a question enters the mind of a Monk. How can my fists effectively damage a devil or demon? These creatures are among the nastiest denizens in the game, especially on their home turf in Shavarath or the Demonweb.

By level 16, all Monks can bypass Magic (L4), Lawful (L12) and Adamantine (L16) material protections. But lesser devils require either Good-aligned handwraps/materials (such as Flametouched Iron) or Silver weaponry to hurt them effectively. Any Monk can wear Holy or Pure Good handwraps easily enough in this case.

But soon a Monk will encounter the horned devils and the pit fiends. These devils require your hands to bypass Silver and Good simultaneously to bypass their damage reduction.

Before Update 14, you had a handful of options to keep your unarmed fighting working best:

 

  1. Be a Light Monk and complete all Shintao Monk training levels. This adds Byeshk, Cold Iron and Silver unarmed damage reductions to your fighting. Just wear some Good-aligned handwraps and you’re, er…good.
  2. As a Dark Monk, win the lottery by farming for and finding the Devout Handwraps: +2 Metalline of Pure Good handwraps, or finding a pair of randomly generated Silver Threaded of Pure Good handwraps on the Auction House (for insane prices) or in chest loot.
  3. Have an Artificer grant you a Planar Weapons good-alignment buff or a Silver Weapons buff, depending on what you have on-hand (so to speak).
  4. Be a high-level Cannith craftsman and make your own Metalline of Pure Good handwraps.
  5. Cry.

 

(Oh, and while you Dark Monks are farming, you’ll need Cold Iron-studded of Pure Good and Byeshk-threaded handwraps if you didn’t find Metalline of Pure Good handwraps, since Xoriat creatures don’t care about Silver.)

As of Update 17, however, all Monks can rejoice, as the expensive and frustrating preparations needed to have Silver+Good handwraps has been (somewhat) mercifully resolved by the developers.

Monks have two absolute requirements to ridding themselves of the imminent devils on their back: You need to own or be able to access either the Catacombs or the Delera’s Tomb adventure pack.

The key can be found in either adventure (although getting both packs is ideal), thanks to updates to two handwrap sets I’ve considered standard equipment at early training: the Devotion and Eternal Rest handwraps.

Before Update 17, each set possessed half of the Silver/Good answer for unarmed fighting. Eternal Rest handwraps were silver-threaded. The Devotion handwraps were Flametouched Iron and Holy.

As with much of the named gear in Update 17, both handwraps received a great makeover with a small price. The developers corrected the redundancy of Holy with Flametouched Iron in the Devotion handwraps  and made them haughtier: +3 Enhancement damage, Holy, Devotion +48, and a Red augment slot. They bind to character on equip, so you can still farm them with one character and give them to others.

The important part: That Red augment slot. This slot can accept a Ruby of Silvered Strikes. Ta-da: Harry Beaters that can fully damage a pit fiend or horned devil.

Similarly, I discovered that the Eternal Rest handwraps got a similar revision: +2 Enhancement damage, Ghost Touch, Silver-threaded , Undead Bane with a Red augment slot as well. Add a Ruby of Good later in your life and you have another Harry Beater set.

The challenge, of course, is finding that specific Ruby. Both can be bought using Tokens of the Twelve (the new name for “Epic Dungeon Tokens”) from the Epic vendor there. You can farm Tokens with a higher-end character from “Devil Assault” or other Eberron epic level quests. You might get lucky and the thing drops for you in your loot. Gems are not bound to character; your “altitis” may just pay off.

Or–you may find yourself looking on the Auction House for these gems at insane prices.

Didn’t I mention something like that before? (Sigh.)

Okay, so it may still require a harsh amount of resources to get a decent set of Harry Beater handwraps. At least it’s easier to get a set of upgradable handwraps themselves with minimal effort, as opposed to a gargantuan amount for a fully working pair.

 

Update 17: Game Changer for a Tanking Monk

I don’t know about you, but Update 17 was a game-changing breath of fresh air.

First, we get Epic Gianthold. The wilderness area is a bit more, um, interesting, when you occasionally get a dragon that pounces on you and your party like a cat on a mouse. The quest refreshes are welcome, but what I loved, just LOVED was the quest chain reward for completing the flagging quests for the new “The Fall of Truth” raid. You didn’t have to step in the raid door at all to gain some Extremely Nice Phat Loot from the end-chain rewards. Run that one again and again and again, folks.

One of our guild’s trips to “Return to Madstone Crater” did run into a little glitch after slaying a named giant there. Our reward chest decided to be too high for our level–literally.

It was suspended above a shrine about 30 feet in the air.

Look! In the air! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's our BLEEPING loot chest!

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s our BLEEPING loot chest!

Thankfully, the gamemaster corrected this for us in less than 5 minutes after reporting it. Way to go, Turbine! It made for some laughs, that’s for sure.

Next, the devs refresh much of the gear from Level 1 to 20 throughout, oh, about every damn quest. Very few raid loot changes except “Tempest’s Spine” (which I think needed a little love).

Of course, aside from mostly positive updates to the gear’s stats, one addition: Augment slots, just made my day. (In fact, it’s making me a sandwich and getting me a beer right now, and teases that I’ll get a “dinner and a movie” later.)

For those not in the know, augment slots are similar to the (phased out) epic augment slotting system and the (legacy) Guild augment crystal idea. The biggest difference comes not just from finding slots on lots and lots of named and unnamed loot from level 1 and up, including Epic gear, but what you can add to it.

At first I was “meh” about it because I knew that my tanker Monk’s White Dragonscale Robe is nice enough as it is, and I won’t wear a lesser robe just to get a Blue Augment slot for more Physical Resistance. Then I looked at what it means to have a specific slot color.

It’s the primary colors game when adding gems to slots. A Colorless augment gem can go in any slot since it’s without color. A Blue gem can only go in a blue slot. But a Blue gem or Yellow gem works with a Green slot since Yellow and Blue make Green.

Further, there is an Epic White Dragonscale Robe–with a Blue slot and more AC.

And then I had a nerdgasm over what that meant for my tanker Monk, Lynncletica.

At first I thought that I’d have to Twist and Shout like crazy for Epic Destiny abilities to raise PRR and HP since I wouldn’t likely find Blue slots needed for PRR. But Green slots are found in many places. You can run the “Delera’s Tomb” chain, get an updated Hellfire Cloak with a built-in gem in it’s Green slot, pry it out with a Jeweler’s Kit from the DDO Store (which lets you keep that pried gem) and pop in your Blue gem.

Ta-da! I just got +10 to PRR, and still have an empty Yellow slot for perhaps a Deathblock gem.

Mind you, the Hellfire Cloak was maybe a ML5 item, but adding the +10 PRR gem (bought for 150 TP on the Store) raised it’s ML to about 16. I am still happy. More so than grinding for that Iron Cloak of the Bear that had only 3 PRR (although the Exceptional Combat Mastery is very good for stuns and the like).

My euphoria continued through this weekend by several Crystal Cove runs with guildmates to generate all I needed to build a Greater Bold Trinket and upgrade my Ring of the Buccaneer to its maximum (creating a Green slot) that will get a PRR +14 gem once I hit Level 20.

Further: All that gnashing of teeth and lamentations of my women in keeping essential protections like Deathblock and Heavy Fortification while trying to keep my set items equipped can be solved with any loot with a Green slot to put the needed gem in place.

My eye now looks to the epic Treads of Falling Shadow, which has Ghostly for Lynncletica, or the improved Ring of Shadows, and so much more. I’m purposefully gearing her for Epic Elite power now so that she’ll be more than ready for it later. A PRR of 90 to 100 is now so possible it brings tears to my mind’s eye.

All I need to do once I confirm all the new slotted gear is working as intended is to review whether to respec to add Dodge, Mobility and Spring Attack to add better “stick and move” attacking required for melee in Epic Elite as well as dodge bonuses to get Lynn to at least 12%-15% consistent Dodge.

I’ll still train her in Legendary Dreadnaught for a super-HP path but I believe now that Twisting what I can from that into Grandmaster of Flowers (keeping the 15 PRR and Dodge bonuses there, not to mention Everything is Nothing) will lead Lynncletica to a new level of enlightenment.

There’s still the matter of a better Reflex save to make this work best. I need 45 or more.

And finding a slotted returning shuriken would make my day complete–again.

UPDATE (3/8/13): It’s the fine print that always gets me.

While PRR normally stacks, augment gems are marked as an enhancement bonus. That means only one gem works at a time and lesser ones are ignored.

I was sad at this just as Lynncletica reached Level 20 last night and put her epic gear on to see her new numbers. I wasn’t too sad about the PRR for long. While only the +12 PPR appeared, I showed a 42 PRR, 87 AC and a +38 Reflex with all Grandmaster of Flowers effects and Way of Sun Soul gear active. I’ve started on Legendary Dreadnought to get that extra 15 PRR as a twist but realize that more Reflex should greatly help with tanking as well. Surprisingly I don’t own a pair of Grave Wrappings or Drow Smoke Goggles…

Sadly, the Heavy Fortification or Deathblock gems out there are going for maliciously high prices on the Auction House, so here’s hoping one can buy them on the Store.

Going to have to  grind more than an army of Starbucks baristas by a coffee mill.