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[TSW] [NW] [Civ5] I don’t only play TSW

What a motley crew to be fighting Mayan Zombies

What a motley crew to be fighting Mayan Zombies

So a few days back I got into a “noobmares” pug and we managed to kill the Machine Tyrant, so we completed a full 18/18 run.  And I finally got my Hell Raised Achievement.  Go me!  The screenshot to the left is while we were forming up for DW, and the 5th person was on the map, but I didn’t see him for the group pic.

Naga Angel?  Interesting looking companion to say the least.

Naga Angel? Interesting looking companion to say the least.

Last night I hopped in to TSW and crafted some glyphs for a friends to help him re-do his stats a bit, and I’d picked up a blue QL10 weapons talisman off a drop while farming the Kingsmouth Airport for signets, so I made him a blue Assault Rifle as well.  The eventual plan is to drag him through elites and get him to the Gatekeeper.  But another friend was online last night and the 2 of them were playing Neverwinter instead, so I bipped on in to that game too.  It’s been so long since I’ve played that game that I barely remembered what skills I had slotted, but it didn’t take long to pick it back up.  It was a fun evening, and after the other 2 logged off I headed into Feywild, since that’s new content for me.  I just got past the intro part and into Feywild proper, but haven’t done any questing in there or anything yet, so no campaign rewards for me yet.


Feywild is pretty!

Feywild is pretty!

Rowan of I Have Touched the Sky posted Raptr’s playtime stats for this week, and that got me to go check my own.  27 hours of Civ5?  Wow.  That’s not quite accurate, though — yes I played it a lot last weekend, but it was becuz I was sick on the weekend, so rather than play something that required a lot of focus and activity, I took the slower-paced (can’t get slower than turn-based with no time limit, right?) game for simple relaxation.  Even with that, I wasn’t necessarily present, though.  I’d walk away for many hours at a time to do dinner, play with my daughter, etc and then pick it up later, so all those “afk hours” got counted too.  Which is why we don’t trust Raptr or Xfire stats as anything other than showing trends, right?  Right?!?!?!?!?!

Anyway, I hope that all is well with you and Happy Gaming!

Neverwinter — DC goes Ding 60!

Wish the gateway rendered the cloth pieces better. :-(

Wish the gateway rendered the cloth pieces better. 😦

While I was working on my CW again, I still got enough xp from the daily invocations and crafting in Leadership to get my cleric to level 54.  And this past weekend I started working on it again.  I was severely over level now for the areas I’d been in, but since you still get the xp from the quests and can run them a lot faster if you don’t have the mobs aggroing on you, well…. let’s just say that since the DC isn’t the highest dps class out there, that I actually appreciated not needing to fight so much.

I’d pre-bought the 10 main gear pieces for the cleric, and my Ioun Stone was already using purple T1 equipment, so after getting the ding (as I finished the final quest in the Chasm, no less, so it was perfect timing) I headed back for the bank in Protector’s Enclave and swapped the gear out.  Gear score jumped from 4950-ish to 9300.  My Recovery stat was in the 3700’s and my crit was in the 3200’s, which in both cases is well into diminishing returns, so I may be re-doing the gear on my Ioun Stone for more utility or defense or something going forward.  Since my 2 main stats I “need” as a cleric were already “too high” I just put power enchants in all my offense slots, but the cheap rank 4 ones, since I’ll eventually upgrade out of this T1 stuff.  Even so, that was enough to bump my gear score to almost 9800.  Not bad for a fresh 60, I don’t think.

Pretty impressive architecture for a pseudo-medieval technology base

Pretty impressive architecture for a pseudo-medieval technology base

Kewl Story:  The “best in slot” Tier 2 boots got put on the auction house for about 10% of their typical value when I was looking.  Not sure if the person selling them meant for them to be an awesome buy for a lucky someone (like me!) or simply didn’t type enough zeroes, but either way I got the boots really cheap. . . .

Then I used my free respec that was given out last week to grab the “2/20/9” healing build that’s come to be accepted as a good all around healer, but with some decent utility still as well.  Doing so dropped my gear score to 9400, so the feats that I’d been using that bumped my recovery stat by 5% definitely made a difference.  Even without it, recovery’s still over 3400, so it’s still quite high, since diminishing returns kicks in really hard at around 2300.

It would seem that we broke its jaw

It would seem that we broke its jaw

I also ran the Karrundax (sp?) dungeon on my Control Wizard over the weekend.  Our group wasn’t “optimal” and we had a total of 6 wipes, plus miscellaneous other deaths at times, but we beat it.  2 Trickster Rogues, a Great Weapon Fighter, a Divine Cleric, and me on my CW.  No tank, as it were, though the GWF and one of the rogues could usually bounce aggro and I was in a “full control” setup that makes heavy use of AE’s that includes stuns and knockbacks and whatnot in order to allow me to cast the “Black Hole” daily power every 30-ish seconds or so and keep the mobs generally locked down for about 50% of the time.  It also has some pretty massive debuffs built in, so a couple of the bosses went down more quickly than expected and the TR’s commented that it was surprisingly fast.  Between the DC’s Hallowed Ground damage buff and my debuffs on the mobs, plus having 2 rogues…. seemed like it was a good combo for damage output.  Even without having a tank to keep aggro and thus the DC and I were both dodging a lot, it was still a very fun run and since we beat the boss, a successful one as well.

All in all, a fun couple of days in Neverwinter.

Neverwinter – CW goes Ding 60!

Ding 60 and already in T1 purples -- cheap on the Auction House!

Ding 60 and already in T1 purples — cheap on the Auction House!

As expected, I made it to level 60 on my CW this past weekend. Screenshot to the left 😛  I actually haven’t changed any gear on it since then, but the stats aren’t “current” as I’ve changed the gear on my Ioun Stone companion, finished ranking it to 25 after taking that shot, and also put some cheap enchants in my gear to increase my Recovery and Armor Penetration stats as bit higher.  I’ve run a couple of Tier 1 dungeons now with my guild, but I’m already in Tier 1 gear, so…. the gear drops I got sold nicely, at least 😀  And after adding in the cheap enchants, my gear score is over 9300, so I can queue for any dungeon, even the “highest” one — Castle Never.  I think I need a bit more dungeon experience in the T1’s before

Lava, lava, everywhere lava. . .

Lava, lava, everywhere lava. . .

trying even the T2’s though.  Plus apparently my current Renegade spec is “being gutted” with the next big patch.  PWE/Cryptic is providing free respecs at the time, so I’ll see about doing a respec to a Thaumaturge build but then need to learn to play like that in a dungeon to boot, so… no rush for it.

Picking up from my last post…. Mt. Hotenow continued to be something of a pain, but I eventually found that using the Ioun Stone companion boosted my damage output enough that I was able to do better. I also focused more on my dodging (especially since most of the “big bads” weren’t controllable anyway)

Early in the Hotenow zone

Early in the Hotenow zone

that I actually didn’t need or miss the healing from my cleric companion.  I even managed the final solo dungeon of the zone just fine without asking anyone to duo with me.  I used a couple of potions in there at times, but I picked up more than I used on the run, so. . . there ya go.

The volcano caldera section of the zone was the roughest becuz it’s something of a multi-level maze and apparently PWE decided that it was too open originally, so they dropped a couple of big boulders you can’t get around or over in 2 of the main thoroughfares, so figuring out the alternate routes and finding the *1* narrow-and-easy-to-miss ramp up out of the place was a bit interesting, especially since the “glowing trail” still tries to follow its original path through the boulders.  Though once I had it found and “marked” in my mental map it wasn’t so bad.  Apparently on the test server 1 of the giant boulders has been removed, so that will be nice for later alts when leveling them up, I expect.

The Drow City of "X-something"

The Drow City of “X-something”

After finishing up that zone, the Underdark beckoned with the Whispering Caverns.  I expected it to be a lot gloomier, but the initial “Wilds” area and the Drow city of Xaleasa (or something like that.  X-something, anyway) were really quite lovely.  Lots of glowing mushrooms and some nice pools of water and luminescent mosses and such.  They were also populated with the “easy” drow, spider, and drider mobs like in Rothe Valley, so it was again a bit relaxing after Mt. Hotenow.  The Duergar mines were, well, mines and so not much to look at there, with the mobs being the same difficulty as the earlier Drow, but then you went on up into the Mind Flayer Sept area.

Mind Flayer Sept Gateway 01

Entry into the Mind Flayer Sept

Holy psychedelic cubism and slime pools, Batman!  Plus the Mind Flayers can’t be quite…. interesting. . .to fight.  They’re still controllable, so that helps, but they teleport around, have high damage stun attacks of their own, as well as magic attacks from range.  And their little Intellect Predator trash swarms have a charge attack that does a lot of damage, so having 4 hit you at once then have it topped off with a big mind blast from an Illithid, while 2 other Illithids are backstabbing you

The Scariest Part of the Underdark

The Scariest Part of the Underdark

after teleporting in and you’re dead so fast you didn’t realize combat had started.  You almost had to have the cleric companion out as a decoy for the trash swarms.  Or since there was a cleric running around doing the same quests that I was, we simply “open grouped” (tagging a mob gets you credit toward the quest, so no need to form an actual group, but still working together) the harder quests.  For all that the “overland” quests were rough, though, I was still able to solo complete the instances using the Ioun Stone companion without any trouble at all.  Go figure.

There’s nothing much to say about the dungeon runs that I did.  They’re just like the lower level dungeons, except at T1 the mobs at level 62, so obviously they have more HP and hit a bit harder.  Actually, there is something about that…. sorta.  As you may have been able to tell from my own experience and from reading other blogs about NW — the leveling speed is very fast.  So fast, that on one of the dungeon runs a freshly 60 guildie cleric was along as “the 2nd DC” and he didn’t have Astral Shield on his bar.  At 1st this wasn’t an issue, since the single AShield from the other cleric was enough, but during a boss fight we started having some trouble, so we asked him why he wasn’t using it, and he said he didn’t have it slotted.  We asked him to do so please, so he did.  and every time he cast it it was. . . .yellow.  Still it gave enough damage reduction even without it being cast in heal-mode (blue) that we were able to beat that boss and move on pretty handily after that.

At the end boss of the dungeon we again ran into some trouble, so we asked him to start casting it blue instead of yellow.  He had no idea what we meant, so we said “Please use it in Divinity mode.”  He wasn’t sure what that was, but eventually found it on his tab key, toggled in, and promptly used up all his divine power on the attacking at-will laser beam, so when he went to cast AShield he didn’t have enough power, so… yellow it went.  It took a couple of times explaining it to him that he needs to toggle into Divinity mode, cast AShield, then toggle back out of Divinity mode, then use his regular attacks to build up more divine power again.  Once he got used to the idea he eventually got it, and everyone stayed alive on the next try, so…. I dunno.  On the one hand you would think that since you get Divinity at level 10 that you’d know how to use it by level 60, but on the other hand it felt nice to be able to help a guildie learn how to up his game too.

"Blue Mode"

“Blue Mode”

Speaking of Astral Shield, I have started working on my Cleric again.  I find that when solo my “30 to 49” build of Daunting Light, Forgemaster’s Flame, and Sun Burst works very well, and frankly I don’t need Astral Shield.  It’s nice to be able to do some damage while healing myself using FF.  When using Ashield, my dps output drops quite considerably.  That said… I’m also more or less invulnerable while standing in my blue circle too, so while it’s slower to kill things, it’s also safer.  Except the old build was just as safe vs everything except maybe instance bosses and did more damage, so…. while solo I’m still not using AShield.  I just don’t see the need.

The other toons are being neglected for now, but with the crafting and daily invoking I’m doing on them, the TR is 38, GF is 30, GWF is 27, and the 2nd CW is 16.  Everything’s coming along.  If (as is hoped) a new class or 2 is brought out with the “Official Launch” in a week, the 2nd CW will be deleted in favor of the new class, but until then….. there ya go.

Happy gaming wherever you are!

The CW in NW

The new Control Wizard

The new Control Wizard

Since my last post, I was convinced that I’d be taking my cleric to 60 and only then begin working on my Control Wizard again.  However, Thursday night another friend wanted to start playing, so we started up a trio of new character.  J2 decided on a Guardian Fighter, J1 went with a Trickster Rogue, and I went with my 1st love — the Control Wizard.  We all did the 1st 4 levels solo since, well, you have to.  At level 4 we each made it to the Protector’s Enclave and found a cleric companion waiting for us in our mailboxes.  Twinking from a higher level toon?  What?!?!?!?!  We ran the 1st solo dungeon as a trio with companions and well… even as a duo stuff melts, so add in a 3rd and companions too?  Laughably easy.  But then… it’s early days.  Regardless, after we finished that up, I had to go to bed.  Darn that 3:00 AM wakeup time!

Deep in the Chasm

Deep in the Chasm

The next day, my friends said they’d gone into Blacklake just far enough to get the 2nd bag and were level 7.  I didn’t get a chance to play that night, but Saturday morning I logged in to “catch up.”  I did the Blacklake quests up through “the burning house” and that dinged me to 8.  But they said 7?  Not sure on that.  But since I’d already passed them, I just kinda kept on going.  And before I knew it I was level 10 and had to do a Daily

Now that's a big axe!

Now that’s a big axe!

Foundry, and then I was level 11 and in the Tower District and whoa!  How’d I make it to level 13 already?  In case you can’t tell — I find the Control Wizard to be *insanely* fun.  But now I was way past my friends in level and I didn’t like how the character looked anyway, so…. deleted.  And made a new CW.  Blasted through up until “the burning house” and got my 2nd bag.  Still made it to level 8, so I don’t know how they’re only level 7.  Perhaps the CW gets an extra quest in there somewhere?

My wife was squicked out by the Driders

My wife was squicked out by the Driders

So anyway, now that I was “caught up” on my lowbie toon, I decided to stick with the CW play and logged in my level 40 CW.  I hadn’t done Neverdeath Graveyard on that toon in order to be able to get the 3rd bag, plus I decided that I wanted a cleric companion to help cut down on my potion usage.  So… 2 gold later and I was off to Neverdeath.  Since I was 10-12 levels over the mobs, they didn’t give any xp, nor did they aggro on me unless the quest called for it.  I blasted through the zone and still got enough XP off just the quest turn-ins for 2 levels for me and the companion got to Rank 10.  I sent it off to train and logged out for a while, since my daughter was waking up and it was time for breakfast for her, plus spending the morning with her to boot.

Pssst!  Hey Kid!  Wanna go to the Underdark?

Pssst! Hey Kid! Wanna go to the Underdark?

When nap time rolled around, though…. back in the saddle.  I took the zones in order and just worked through everything as it came.  Didn’t worry about dungeons or skirmishes, though I did get into a Primal Wolf Den group.  We had just wiped on a 1st attempt on the final boss when my wife came in needing to talk, so I had to drop group.  I’m sure they all thought it was a ragequit, but.. whachagonndo?  TBH, I thought we did rather well for a 1st attempt.  We at least got the boss below 50% and were doing fine with the adds, but the healer bit it, and everyone else started dropping as we made mistakes and missed dodges and such, so…. it happens.

The Underdark's a bit brighter than I expected it would be, but otherwise looks just as I imagined it

The Underdark’s a bit brighter than I expected it would be, but otherwise looks just as I imagined it

Anyway…. I really enjoyed the various zones while leveling.  The solo dungeons in the higher zones ramp up a bit in difficulty for a while, and then they throw the Rothe Valley at you for a nice easy interlude to lull you into a false sense of security before kicking your ass with Mount Hotenow.  And that’s where I’m at now — about half done with Hotenow and level 57.  I doubt I’ll be able to play much until this weekend, but when I do, I’m sure I’ll hit 60 on Saturday morning.  I’ve already bought a full set of purple gear for level 60.  I have no idea if it’s “elite” or “tier 1” or “tier 2” just that’s it’s purple and most of it was 5000 AD or less.  Looking forward to the gear upgrades in a few levels. . . .

And in case one wonders, here’s how I am usually set up for my solo play right now:

  • Arcane Mastery – Chill Strike
  • Encounter 1 – Ray of Enfeeblement
  • Encounter 2 – Entangling Force
  • Encounter 3 – Shield
  • Daily 1 – Arcane Singularity
  • Daily 2 – Ice Knife
  • At Will 1 – Magic Missile
  • At Will 2 – Ray of Frost

Vs trash swarms I open with Chill Strike.  Up until about level 40 this tends to 1-shot the entire swarm, or just leave them all with a couple of HP left that are easily taken down with Magic Missile.  Later on it doesn’t keep up with the mob HP, so it needs a crit to do a 1-shot, but it still generally takes down the swarm fairly easily.  Occasionally if a couple of mobs get close I’ll finish them off by popping my Shield at them.  So yeah… swarms = easy nuisance at worst.  At least until you get 6 Ashen Miners in Mt. Hotenow.  Those get CS’d, whittled down with MM as they close, a shield pop, and *then* finished off with MM. . . . .

I don't think this instance boss even hit me

I don’t think this instance boss even hit me

Vs swarms with a higher HP mob it’s more or less the same thing.  Target the high hp mob with the Chill Strike so that it’s stunned for a few seconds while I take out the small mobs, then hit it with Ray of Enfeeblement, Entangling Force, then finish it off with Magic Missile while it’s dangling in midair.  This goes especially quickly with Nightmare Magic adding combat advantage damage, Storm Strike proc’ing left and right, and Eye of the Storm making everything that I throw into a critical hit.  Did  mention that I also have my crit severity buffed up too?  It’s quite lovely. . . .

If the mob still has HP, Chill Strike is back up, so re-stun it, then hit Ray of Frost. It will freeze the mob just as it comes out of the CS stun.  Magic Missile on it until Ray of Enfeeblement is available, which is right as the freeze breaks, then Entangling Force is back, so hang it in the air again.  In all of that, the thing got *maybe* 2 attacks off against you and you can cycle that rotation as long as you need.  Assuming the mob’s controllable, anyway.  Uncontrollable mobs are quite interesting.  Lots of dodging there. . . .

I haven’t done too much in dungeons yet, but in the Primal Wolf Den, I ran the same skills as above, but with Encounters 2 & 3 swapped to Icy Terrain and Slow Time.  This helped to kill the dungeon-level trash a lot quicker, plus slowed the mobs down which helped the cleric stay out of trouble as well.  Seemed to do well.  For the big boss fights I put Ray of Enfeeblement into the Arcane Mastery slot so I can double its effects.  it makes the boss go down just that much faster, after all.

So there’s my little mini-guide.  I’ve gleaned most of it from the forums, but I can see why it’s there — it’s very effective!

Leveling up in Neverwinter

Gelatinous Cube

Gelatinous Cube!!!

Leveling in NW is surprisingly fast.  Combat doesn’t give a whole lot of xp per mob, but there’s a lot of combat, so it adds up quite quickly.  Beyond that, most quest turn-ins seems to give a percentage of your next level, not a set amount, so that makes it go quite quickly as well.  I did a few quests recently where I was told I’d get 2900-ish xp upon turn-in, but I leveled up “out in the field” and when I came back they each awarded 3200-ish xp instead.  Makes me want to run back and do some of the zones I’ve skipped to see if the quests scale their rewards there.

Nice entry to the a big tomb

Nice entry to the a big tomb

I was playing my Trickster Rogue the morning of the big rollback a few weeks ago, so I lost a couple of levels of progress.  I haven’t played the rogue since other than crafting and daily logins to Invoke for coins, and just that has been enough to get me 3 levels.  “C&I” gives a surprisingly high amount of XP.  My Guardian Fighter has gained 5 levels from the last time I played it, so it’s level 25 now.  I also started playing a GWF with a friend who started a cleric.  We’re both at the same stage in the main story of the quests, but since I’ve been doing C&I daily and he hasn’t, I’m now level 21 vs his level 19.  I’ve slowed down the crafting on that character in order to not get too far ahead. . . .

Cleric Armor gets a nice appearance upgrade at level 40.

Cleric Armor gets a nice appearance upgrade at level 40

This past weekend I decided to focus on my Cleric and am now level 49 on it.  1 more and I get “the game changer” skill of Astral Shield.  Frankly, I thought that level 30 getting me Forgemaster’s Flame was quite a game changer.  I’ve only done solo work, so I’ve not seen the whole “clerics are tanks due to aggro being all borked up” issue that’s all over the forums, but I guess it’s not far off now.  As a result, I’ve been building toward a “Tank/Regen” build that’s been posted in the forums.  It’s quite survivable and still does decent dps output while solo, so I like it quite a lot.  That said, I took my control wizard out for a spin this morning to get that last little nudge to get to 40 and was surprised at how fast I was killing things with it . . .

Control Wizard popping her shield off

Control Wizard popping her shield off

So anyway, I’m still enjoying the game quite a bit.  Weeknight playtime is very limited anymore, but I’m still getting some decent sessions in on the weekends.  Another friend’s started looking into Rift, though, so I might be playing some more of that soon and mentoring down.

Great Weapon Fighter at Level 20

Great Weapon Fighter at Level 16