Category Archives: Dungeons and Dragons Online

[Blaugust] [ESO] [DDO] Back in the ESO saddle, sorta

Don't like either much, but the one on the right is far less bad

Don’t like either much, but the one on the right is far less bad

Honestly, I’ve not played a whole lot of games this week, and I’ve been inspired by Syp to break out DDO again and see where it goes to boot, so that’s diluted game time to boot.  So far as ESO goes, I’m enjoying the dye system greatly.  You get dyes based on your achievements and they’re account-wide, so a fresh-out-of-Coldharbour newbie can do anything my VR4 Templar can, color-wise.  I like that rather a lot, plus getting new colors for simply playing the game is always nice.  And since the “most popular” colors (black and red) are rather easily obtained, I think it’s going to satisfy a great majority of people who are playing.

Reddish instead of blue-ish, plus the belt doesn't stand out as badly anymore

Reddish instead of blue-ish, plus the belt doesn’t stand out as badly anymore

It’s saved a couple of outfits from looking atrociously hideous.  Interestingly enough, the base color palettes of a couple of my toons changed with the update even before adding dyes.  My NB Tank in his Daedric Leather went from a hideously fugly green and blue palette to a more natural looking brown on brown color, my NB healer went from a metal with copper trim color base to pretty much all yellow, my alchemists went from a white-ish base to … um.. different, and my VR1 DK in full Imperial look … changed, but I don’t quite recall how now.  Of course then I went in on some of them and made my own changes.  It was very tempting to just use a standard black and red palette on all of them, as it’s a classic look that I like a lot, but I decided to go for a bit more individuality for each character in the end.  It’s not like I can’t change it later, after all….

Purple and Gold are Imperial colors, aren't they?

Purple and Gold are Imperial colors, aren’t they?

The DK is now a purple base with gold trim (as you can see to the left), the NB tank is a black base with white trim (see below), I didn’t touch the NB healer or the alchemist since I don’t really play them much, my enchanter was in fugly green which I’ve now changed to a black base with brown trim (but don’t have a screenie of), my VR2 sorcerer’s Barbaric set retained its brown base but I changed the trim from blue to red (you can see that above also), and finally… my VR4 templar’s hideously fugly brown/green Ancient Elf palette is now black and red, as you saw up at the top of this post.  I still don’t care for the armor model of that set, and thus cover it with my Golden Saint costume while playing, but at least it’s not quite so hideous on the login screen anymore.

Daedric leather is much improved

Daedric leather is much improved

As far as actual play goes… the templar’s VR4 and in Eastmarch zone now.  sure I could go grind in Craglorn with the cool kids, but… I like questing.  And as mentioned in a prior post, now that it’s impossible to outlevel a zone as I work through it, I’m enjoying running around and exploring and questing anything random I come across a lot more than I did before, so… there ya go.

On the DDO front, I’m really just trying to re-familiarize myself with the game.  As Syp noted in the post I linked up above, they’ve added a lot of things like Epic Destiny and I still don’t know what PRR stands for, so… working on it.  They’ve also redone the feats and enhancements a bit and gave everybody a free Lesser Reincarnate as a result.  I used it on my Warforged Rogue/Wizard to redo his feats to make him a bit more solo-friendly, and tbh haven’t really looked at any other characters.  I had a free slot on the same server, so I had the option to create a new “Iconic” character (insta-15, really) if I desired, but….

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a quarterstaff monk/thief-acrobat hybrid, and since the new druid class has a lovely buff spell for wood weapons, the current “build” is 13 rogue/6 monk/1 druid (at 20).  Since I can start characters at level 4 I’ve got a shiny new 1 Druid / 1 Rogue / 2 Monk going now.  With Power Attack going plus the monk’s Wind Stance for faster attacks, this thing’s putting out a LOT of hurt.  Generally 22-28 damage per hit (vs mobs with 15-30 HP, usually).  I can Cleave vs groups an 1-hit kill all of them.  Quite nice for a new character.

Back on the Wizard front, I’m still figuring out where best to position my hotkeys and whatnot, as well as a preferred spell selection.  The enhancement changed for casters give “Spell Like Abilities” which have very reduced spell point costs and can have any meta-magic feat used on them for free, so that sounds quite awesome.  Wizards are considered more of CC and “Insta kill” casters than Sorcerers, which tend to be the ones known for tossing around lots of damage spells, so I went with Conjuration as my preferred school as it gives the Web spell as an SLA, and since I’m level 7 wizard and I’ve got the Fire Wall spell now….. trap a mob in the web, then drop a Fire Wall on it, then just wait for it to die in the DoT.  Supposedly this works well vs groups too — get a bunch of mobs following you, get through a door to channel them, toss the web in the door, then the fire wall on that, swap to a tower shield, and just turtle up (in case any are ranged mobs) until the wall gets them.  Haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like a solid plan, so…. soon.

Happy gaming!

More on Rift 1.5 (and a tad more)

While DDO is my “new shiny” right now, any time I do log in to Rift I still have a blast, so I decided to keep my sub going at least until SWTOR comes out and after that. . .we’ll see.  A bonus I got for the latest renewal was that when I logged in last night I got the 12 month veteran reward logged to my acccount, in spite of the game only being out for 7 months.

The vet rewards are really just so much fluff — some XP potions (when I’m at level cap.  Could go to PA’s, but . . meh) and some costume armor.  Up through the 6 month reward the armor is simply given to you, but for the 12 month reward you have to buy the final 3 pieces of the set off your special vet reward vendor.  Not a big deal, it’s not that expensive, but it’s still not feeling very much like a reward to spend 10 plat. . . .

Interestingly, in spite of Rift’s propensity to make the female armor either very low-cut or all the way to “chainmail bikini-dom” the veteran armor is a slightly modified male version of what the faction NPC’s wear.  Which TBH, I am a little annoyed with.  I actually like how the NPC females look.  Ah well.  Some examples:

Defiant Character vs both NPC genders:

Guardian Character vs Female NPC:

Guardian Character vs Male NPC:

Sorry for the dark screenies — it was night in-game and I had to leave for work so I didn’t have time to wait for day.  I did brighten them up as much as I could in a basic editor……

Anyway, I think they still look fine, but I would have loved the female version of the armor too.  Maybe a toggle option?


In DDO, my artificer progression proceeds apace.  I’m now up to level 6, so I have the Flame Turret spell.  My only complaint about it is its slow cast time.  Other than that, it’s one of those “wowzers!” spells.  It looks awesome, and it does a ton of damage to the mobs I’m fighting now.


My foray into Champions Online is proceeding much more slowly.  I deleted the 2 characters I had and remade 1 of them.  I stuck with the Ice Archetype, since I’ve liked that one the most so far and gave my character an outfit that I think looks pretty icy in keeping with that theme.  Apparently it looked good enough that a few other people I ran by in the tutorial commented on it, so . . yay, I suppose.  Sorry, no screenshot though.  I’ve forgotten to do that in that game as of yet.

In order to remove the chat restriction on new accounts I bought some points, so when I got this character to the point where you select your 1st travel power, I chose to keep more in the theme and buy the “Ice Slide” power.  It’s VERY fast, which is nice, but that speed makes it a little hard to control at times, and you have to fly up a little just to maintain altitude.  It’s still a very fun power, even if I think it looks more like the Silver Surfer’s board than a true ice slide.  Limitations of the programming and all of that….

Still and all — now that I’ve got the power builder thing figured out and am able to tell a bit better which mobs are melee and thus a good idea for my to root, the game’s starting to gel a bit for me, so I plan on trying to work this character up to level 20 or so in the next few weeks also.  I’ve got an IRL friend playing and he said he’d happily come group up with me and show me the ropes, so that should help a bunch too.

Happy gaming!

Rift 1.5 Update 1st Impressions

Almost 900 MB patch file size.  Good thing I’ve got that 12 mbps connection. . . .

Logged in, had mail.  Unsurprising since I had auctions up and expected at least half of them to have been unsold and returned to me, which they were, but I’d also made nearly 70 plat in sales too.  Go me!  Even though I can look at the value of my equipment and realize I’ve probably accumulated and spent nearly 1000 plat on this character overall, it’s never been in a chunk larger than 30 plat and usually right as it came in, so this is as much money as I’ve ever had “in the bank.”  Now… 5th role or mount? /rolleyes

Anyway, I’d really logged in so I could see these new “chronicles” — dungeons designed for duos (or “solo if you’ve got the gear” as the devs put it).  I hit up the 1st one so as to be able to unlock the new Planar Attunements and was teleported to an instance of Sanctum (the Guardian faction capital) set up as a Hollywood event — red (okay blue in this case) carpets and velvet ropes and everything.

So I went in and presented myself to the leaders of the faction, they told me how awesome I was, and a Messenger of the Vigil appeared to “empower me” or something.  The dialog is a bit fuzzy for me.  But that was the gist —  “You are really powerful and did great things so now you’re being rewarded with more power!”

So booyah I got awarded 1,000,000 xp for that — enough to either unlock 2 of the 6 attunement trees, or to unlock a single one and allocate a point into it.  I unlocked the Air tree and put a point into the “Increase spellpower when using a 2H mace” thing, since I use a 2H mace about 99.8% of the time.

And then I had to curse the sudden but inevitable betrayalcrashing of the party by the evil bad guys.  I fought them off then went outside to confront the bad guy leader so as to push back to attack.  Took him down, at which point he respawned and said I was a fool to think I could confront him since he’s an avatar of The Big Bad McGuffin that Rift hangs all of its lore on.  He then summoned some pretty cool looking critter from the Plane of Death.  It was an easy fight, sadly — the thing broadcast every attack it was going to make and helpfully outlined circles and cones and arcs on the ground where he was going to attack so that I could move out of his way, then got tired and just stood there while I beat on him.  And here’s the end result of that fight:

The xp awarded from all the kills in the instance was surprisingly high — I’d gained 10% of an AA level in less than 10 minutes.  Not bad, I thought.

After this was all done, everyone got all happy again and a few quest givers even appeared.  Grabbed their quests, which were simply “go talk to people in Sanctum” ones and left the instance.  And turned in the quest completions.  XP was crap for them, but you’d expect it to be if all you’re doing is running 50 yards to the finisher.

That “chronicle” was designed to be soloed, but there were 2 others in the list that were the duo “(unless you’re leet)” ones.  I hit up the 2nd one, figuring that I can solo elite mobs in the overland areas on quests that say you should have 3 in your group, so I’d try the thing out and if it was too rough I could always leave and beg my guild for help.

Well… it wasn’t too rough — Completed it easily, never in any danger of dying, not even to the named.  Gear rewarded was complete crap, but I got a few Plaques of Achievement, which are never a bad thing, and really good XP — enough that I’m about halfway to the next PA point.  And it was now past my bedtime, so I didn’t do the 2nd chronicle.

Overall, it was “nice” and based on the xp awarded in the 1 dungeon I did, if one does both chronicles daily, then a dungeon run or 2 in a full group, I could see you easily gaining a PA level per night.  Still…. the PA points are so minor and gaining a PA a night would still be about 6 months to get “all of them” so it’d really just be grind grind grind.

Still..I enjoyed myself immensely and am now semi-reconsidering my account cancellation.  I have 5 more days to decide before the time runs out.

A few thoughts on the stat and ability changes for clerics:  I thought I was running around with a touch over 5000 hp before this patch, but now am at about 4700.  I could be misremembering, though, since I don’t think there were any changes made to the END stat for clerics.  INT, though, was bumped to provide a little more mana.  I was running 3800-ish mana before the patch (this I’m sure of) and am now pushing 4300 mana instead.  Mana is completely irrelevant to me unless I’m healing a dungeon, though, and hasn’t been a problem there either so I can’t say I really care about that increase.  Ah well.

As far as abilities go, the only change that really affected me in my “Shamicar” build was that the Lust for Blood ability now procs a flat 40% of the time, rather than on critical hits.  Since my crit rate is 21.6%, this actually represented an increase in its proc’ing for me, and it did seem to be popping up a lot more than before, but it was actually just resetting itself to always be up it seemed — my macros don’t actually use a whole lot of physical attacks.  They’re in there, but toward the bottom, so oftentimes I’m using life attacks from Justicar (for Convictions) or the Shaman’s high-damage air attacks.  Sure, they’re not always up, but it still means that the Massive Blow and Crushing Blow abilities don’t actually gain from the LFB procs before it reprocs anyway.  As a result, the change didn’t really affect me.  Such is life.


I didn’t do any DDO last night, favoring the new Rift stuff instead, but thought I’d drop a random screenshot I took of my Artificer in better light and at a better angle than the one in my prior post:

Happy Gaming!

Odds and Ends

Stargrace recently posted about how she becomes disaffected with games once she hits the level cap in them.  I made a reply in the comments that I am in the same boat.  It probably explains my severe alt-itis.  For me, I hadn’t really noticed I was growing disaffected with Rift (heck, even now I’ll tell you I love the game) until while writing that post I realized I’d not played it in over a week and I hadn’t missed it.  Now granted, as seen in my post below. . DDO’s new artificer class is my current “new shiny.”  I figured that once the 1.5 patch came out I’d be back over in Rift to work on grabbing some AAplanar attunement points.

I read the patch notes for the 1.5 and they actually make me want to work on my rogue a bit, as well as checking out the new solo/duo dungeons on my cleric, and the PA stuff sounded interesting at 1st, until I read a thread where someone had compiled all the PA’s a cleric could get and at the end summarized what the whole kit’n’kaboodle got you, and the answer was — very little.  Not even a single gear piece of improvement.  And it would cost you over 92 million xp being ground out.

Now I’ll grant you that the final 5 levels of Rift cost about 2 million xp overall and they only take a few days to get, so even a casual player like me can probably get “all the PA’s” in about 3 months, but to what end really? 30 points to 3 stats is a nice boost, but it’s hardly a big deal, especially as these are considered by the game to be buffed points, so abilities that boost your stats don’t apply to them.  78 spell power is about an 8% boost to me with my not-so great gear, but if I played enough so that I could get all those PA’s in that time, I’d probably upgrade my gear to the point that I’d be looking at a 3% boost, if even that.  In short, these are things that I certainly won’t turn down when I receive xp enough for them, but there’s no incentive for a casual player to go chasing them either.

My Rift sub is on their 3 month plan.  I’d thought to let it renew for until the end of the year when SWTOR comes out, but… I think I’m just going to cancel it.  In my remaining time I’ll be able to go see the new solo/duo dungeons on my cleric and there really isn’t much else I’m interested in seeing.

This leads me to DDO, as I expect I’ll be enjoying its F2P goodness as my primary game for the next few months.  I’ve got my Warforged Artificer up to level 5 now, and it’s almost ridiculous how easy it is to play this character right now.  My dog pet sits at 122 hitpoints, which I can buff up to 173.  My character sits at 75 hp which I can buff to 126.  This is an insanely high amount for a level 5 character, especially one with a d6 hit point die.  Damage done is very high, so very few mobs get close to me to even try to get in a hit.  And next level I’ll get Stoneskin and Flame Turret, so my defense and offense both will dramatically improve.  Should be fun to experience as I move through it.

A friend of mine has been talking up Champions Online lately to me, so since it’s F2P I installed it to check it out.  When F2P you are limited to archetype power sets that the game selects for you, so you don’t get overwhelmed by choices right out of the gate.  The character creator is insanely amazing and I could easily spend hours creating a character if I wanted to just checking out all the options, much less choosing some of them.  I’ve tried the Fire, Ice, Blade, and Soldier archetypes so far.  The energy building mechanic is something I’m still getting used to, but it seems to work pretty well, and I like that if you’re paying attention to the mobs that you can block their high damage attacks.  I’ve barely made it out of the tutorial, though, so I can’t comment on a whole lot yet as I’m still feeling things out.

And to close…. EVE online recently released their Incarna expansion, which included the new “Captain’s Quarters” for you to walk around in with your new avatar.  Some enterprising soul(s) discovered that the looping video playing on the TV in the room could be customized by converting your own video files to BIK format and dropping them in the appropriate EVE folder on your hard drive.  Here’s what CCP had to say about it in their latest dev blog:

Now, most companies would have branded this as a defect and “fixed it” by doing checksum validations on the files or something equally boring. But not us. . . . [Instructions on how to do it all] . . . [K]nowing our players,  we are of course absolutely certain than none of you would ever, ever think of putting anything even remotely questionable on your screen, given the total lack of constraints and the rock solid moral high ground on which our pilots firmly stand…

I love their sense of humor.  Almost makes me willing to re-sub to EVE.  Almost.

Happy Gaming!

Ring Ring — DDO calling!

So a few days ago I wasn’t feeling particularly Rift-y, so I decided to double-click that DDO icon that’s been gathering dust on my desktop for a while.  How long?  10 months since I last logged in, said the status page.  So anyway, I log in and the splash screen is talking about this new “Artificer” class.  I’ve got an Artificer in Rift, but that’s a crafting profession, not an adventuring class, so I was a bit intrigued as to how a class that sounds like a crafter could be a full-fledged DDO adventurer.

I checked in the DDO store to see if it had anything beyond a general description.  It didn’t, but since it was 995 points and I had over 1800 still sitting there I said “Why not?” and bought it.  Then I had to log out and find a server that I actually had a free slot available on it to create one.

I still knew nothing about the class when creating it, so I just read the descriptions as I was going through it and it sounded kinda like a rogue mechanic but wit ha bit of spellcasting thrown in too.  So of course, I defaulted to my favorite DDO race and picked a Warforged.  16 CON from the racial bonus, 18 INT since it said it was an arcane caster and then. . . I had no idea where to put my remaining points.  I think I mixed them in STR and DEX, but I’m not 100% sure, becuz about then I got spouse aggro and turned it off without completing creation.

Next morning at work I pulled up the DDO website and went looking for more information on the class.  And my impression from the in-game descriptions seems to be born out — it’s more or less a rogue/mage hybrid class with the added bonus of an Iron Defender pet that you can use to tank for you or as additional dps.  It gets automatic feats geared toward using the Repeating Crossbow weapon, plus Use Magic Device skill bonuses for wands, scrolls, potions, etc, as well as bonuses toward the new crafting system that’s been added in since I last played.

Suggested races depend on what you’re planning to do with it — if you want it to be your crafting bot, then Human is suggested since they can take the Dragonmarks of Making feats which boost your crafting level.  If you’re looking at a “pure dps” version, then a half-elf with the Rogue Dilletante racial feat is suggested for the sneak-attack bonus damage.  For an “easy stat distribution” race the Drow work well, able to have a starting DEX and INT of 18 with a not-terrible 14 CON and a 10 CHA for no penalty to the UMD skill.  Plus since you’re something of a trap-monkey, the +2 racial spot and search modifiers are kinda nice there too.  Warforged is also suggested since Artificers get Repair spells, so you can self-heal at full benefit without needing to UMD a wand or scroll or take the “Construct Essence” feat which allows “fleshies” to repair themselves at 50% effectiveness (up from 0%) at the cost of losing 25% healing effectiveness from the so-called “positive energy” spells.  Dwarf, Halfling, and Half-Orc aren’t suggested races, though they can certainly still work if you play well.

So, the next day since I had a character I didn’t care about on the Argonessen server, which is the one I primarily play on and thus had some characters with a bit of money to use for twinking, I freed up a slot and rolled up a Drow Artificer.  I took the Point Blank Shot feat from the get-go since this doubles your crossbow’s base damage when within 45 feet of your target (which is most of the time).  Vet status is not enabled for this class, so off to Korthos I went.

1st thing I noticed was that the pet didn’t seem to do all that much.  Occasionally I saw it hurting some mobs, but it didn’t act like a tank, and DDO allows very very little control over pets/hirelings.  You mostly just set them to “active” or “passive” and call it a day, though there are a few commands you can give.  So I basically just thought of the pet as added dps and concentrated on doing as much damage to the mobs with the crossbow as I could.  Point Blank Shot lets you shoot in melee without penalty too, so I didn’t have to worry about swapping weapons when mobs got in close which was also nice.  I’m not a big fan of equipment changes when in combat in any game.

Since this post is getting long, I’ll try to sum up everything and not be much longer:  Level 2 you gain the ability to use “Rune Arms” which essentially are magical cannons.  They also add bonus damage to your main weapon, usually elemental, but the 1st one in Korthos adds “force” damage.  It’s a starter weapon so it only adds 1d2 to my main weapon, but you can also fire the rune arm (it charges up, then you can fire, it cools off, then charges up, then you fire, etc) for additional damage as well.  Got to level 3 and added in the spell that adds elemental damage to your weapon, plus by this time I was using a heavy repeating crossbow.  Due to the bonus damage from the buff spells, rune arm, and my enhancement points I spent, I was doing 7-31 damage per shot (within 45 feet — 6-21 beyond that) fired in 3-shot bursts.  Most mobs have 35-40 hp, so yeah… pretty much each burst would be a kill, and since Artificers get the Rapid Reload feat for free, you’re firing a burst about every 3 seconds.

Still, I found myself kinda jonesing for the self-healing abilities that a Warforged would have, so I cleared another slot and made a Warforged Artificer as well.  It’s only level 2 so far, but I took the “Augmented Summon” feat at level 1 to buff the pet, rather than the Point Blank Shot.  The pet is a LOT more effective now and makes up for the difference in my 45′ crossbow range for now.  I’ll take PBS at level 3 and be “back on par” while also having the improved pet.  With this character, I mailed it all my platinum from the other characters on the server, so I was able to pick up a Docent of Invulnerability which gives me a nice damage resistance.  I’d also researched the spell lists, so I’d taken the “unavailable from vendors” spells at creation, then ran to the vendor and bought all the rest of the Level 1 spells, so I have a complete selection now, not just uneducated guessing at what would be useful.  Plus. . . self-heals without needing UMD skill or burning a feat 😉  Downside is that my UMD skill is 2 points lower due to stats, and my Spot skill is 3 points lower due to loss of stats and racial bonus, but. . . that doesn’t bother me.  I’m told Artificer class bonuses to UMD more than make up for the stat difference, and Spot’s never been a skill you need to have very high to have it be effective.

I joined a good sized “newbie friendly” guild, so hopefully will have some group dungeon adventures to share with you shortly.  And here’s what my WF Artie looks like at level 2 with his Rune Arm.  I know… not very attractive, but that’s DDO’s odd armor for you: