Friday, 23 January 2015

Killer of Giants

I have stated that I am a solo'er and a lot of my experience earning is hitting the big numbers in the slayers in the different wildernesses. So this post is going to be about the level 13 Wilderness Gianthold. I am not going to talk about the dungeons or flagging or the raid as the dungeons will be a separate post and as I said I have not done a raid since the European service was brought back to turbine. Even in the European days I only managed a couple of raids with the guild I was in then. I am not covering the epic version in this just the heroic. And bonus points for those who thought Ozzy before the Wilderness.

Gianthold has 3 sets of giant camps and each camp has 3000 to slay, there are 20 explorers and 10 Rares. There are also two chests that are there whenever you get to the area they exist that will only appear when you complete certain tasks. Of the two chests one is locked and the other isn't, for the locked chest you need to kill a mindflayer which is not named and to me seems easy to slay. The second chest is set in an area where there are loads of barrels and crates, you have to smash a certain amount and then three dwarves appear and a chest, the toughest dwarf of the 3 dying unlocks the chest. I must admit at first I thought the chests might be random but after over 100 runs in Gianthold I realised they are there all the time. The odd thing is both chests are on the same run.

Is Someone Watching me?

Ready for a little Wander
So when I say runs what I mean I have three routes that allows me to keep a fairly level amount of slaying. When you have 3000 to slay of each type you really want to keep your amounts slain fairly equal, the reason being you can time an experience elixir which when you have 3 lots of 1,500 (as I had last night) you will pop over 75k of experience. So a lot of graft as you need to nail 4500 slays to make the target, I will be honest and slayer boosts are a real bonus in this sort of situation as it would take over 20 runs of EACH giant gang to get to the 1500s' but as the area is so big it is a lot of fun running around.

Wish someone would tell the giants about mouthwash
So are there a lot of giants in Gianthold? Bit of a yes and no answer. Yes there are giants but to me there is an awful lot of padding with Dwarves, Gnolls, Minotaurs and Orges added in the mix. Everyone should develop routes they are comfortable with, I have 3 routes that allow me to run through all the rares and covers all but one of the explorers with the last explorer (Madstone Crater) only being slightly off route for the first set of runs. Key to establishing good routes in any wilderness is amount of slays and rares for the minimum amount of time. Applies to any wilderness but especially where you have multiple types to slay, find where you can cover ground quickly and the occassional drop from a great height may be necessary to allow the best speed through the area. At the level people run Gianthold no one should really be without a featherfalling item.

Another Bites the Dust
Apart from the odd quirk with two chests not attached to a rare there is two rares who share a chest and I have to admit I was thrown by that. I have never seen just one of the rares appear it is either both or none, which when you are first starting out if you look at the map you will expect one or the other but in all the times I have run heroic with all the different characters I have never seen them unless they are together.

Gianthold is a big area that is best managed in shortish runs where you concentrate on each type of giant gang. However the experience for the slaying is a real bonus and I will spend a lot of time with all my characters hitting the targets and advancing my characters.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Love Song for a Vampire

One of the toons I am starting to enjoy playing more than I expected is my Wizard Grousewiz, who is on his third life and is following the prestige route Pale Master. Now as this is third life I have tried both options with and without a splash of monk. This is not telling people what the better option is as everyone will have their own opinion but this is more a chance for someone who is considering Pale Master and just wants to get other peoples' opinions.

Like an artificer and the druid you get a Pet in the form of a Skeletal Knight, I know that when I first saw Skeletons running around the Harbour I was a bit WTH. As the pet develops along with your development as a fighter he is equal to you level plus any epic levels. So quite a bit of punch as a base and one of the things that I love is the sword is considered a metaline bastard sword and can gain benefits from Artificers infusions so the spells like planar weapon could seriously enhance the pet. For those people who solo like me a bonus fighter is truly a blessing and there is another benefit which I will point out in a bit.

One Stop Shopping 
Make Your Choices Count
For the player there are Shrouds of various undead forms which get more powerful as you progress, I will admit that I have no love of the Zombie form so play the period where that is the only option as a pure wizard. It is a frustrating form as far as I am concerned but it prove useful at first teaching me the lesson that clerics are your worst enemy. Here comes the kicker, while in any Shroud you are damaged by light effects and are unaffected by positive energy or repair spells. However when you get your seventh level of wizard you obtain the spell Death Aura which will heal you in your shrouded form and also will heal you skeletal knight which as I said early is another bonus for your knight, plus rather handily it hurts other living enemies. As far as I know and I haven't tested this it will heal undead enemies so I tend to avoid quests that have undead dotted all over.

Okay got a few brains
The question of to splash or not to splash I guess is a personal one but having tried both options for my third life I have decided to splash. Just the simple benefit of evade helps make the decision for me along with the additional benefit in melee abilities which when you factor in your undead bonuses work with a great synergy. Now as I said this is a personal thing but I have had much more fun (and success) with the splash than without, although that could be done to personal play style. Now whilst there are 4 shrouds I have tended to stick to the Vampire form as it seems to work best for me, although this time I intend to take epic levels for the first time and thinking Lich with Improved shrouding will make my necromancy spells rock. The wiki contains a full breakdown of the abilities a Pale Master can choose from  as he develops.

When you are spending on Action Points the other thing I see as key is boosting your Pet with each tier, Corpsecrafter is a lovely bonus for one action point to boost the skeletal knight's abilities to cause damage. It grants +2/+4/+6 bonus to strength, dexterity and constitution, so the amount of damage the knight causes, the chance to not be hit and the chance to survive being hit all increase for a simple 3 actions points. So guessing we can call boosting him a no brainer (silly zombies will ignore us then?). And in shroud of the wraith we are not there simply because we have a level of incorporeality. So there are chances to have some real fun I have found but it depends a lot on your style of play. I like playing most forms of characters apart from healers, although self healing for a solo player is great I just don't have the same level of fun.

The Pet has a decent body count
However having a wizard who can self heal over time and heal the pet whilst causing damage has become a bit of real fun. I would say that when I do the desert I only tend to slay on two thirds of the map. The idea of the undead healing while I heal is a no go and certainly that is one of the main strengths of the Pale Master in my mind. And yes the only option really with Orchard is to play it as a straight wizard on with less of everything and problems keeping the Skeletal Knight healed. So I have almost no House J favour and a lot of quests get missed out. BUT I love playing this toon, the fact I decided to 3 life him so I get the 36 point build shows that I have become very comfortable with the play style and also with how to make quests amusing.

The one really strange thing I have found and I have no issues with is that when resting at a shrine whilst in vampire form it heals and restores spell points. I was expecting it to give me spell points but I was also expecting to lose health which it didn't do so having tried this while damaged I was not surprised to see the health climb rather than fall. Bug or deliberate it is something I have enjoyed and benefited from. Happy Brain Eating


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Cleaved Asunder

Happy New Year to al the blog readers, probably just one or two of you but hey it is all good. Today I want to roll through a few thoughts about Stormcleave Outpost. There is always basic information on the quest in the wiki but as a level 8 quest I do enjoy it especially the fact that there are a couple of spots where rares can occur.

Fire and Death Aura seem to be a good combo

At the moment I am running Stormcleave regularly with my  level 7/2 pale master with a monk splash who is third life. So this fits into my comfort zone and I only run a cleric in case of stupidity or mana top up from divine vitality. Due to the low spell points I tend to melee whilst extending Death Aura to self health/injure mobs. Plus having a Skelly on my side sort of helps.

Time to dance

I tend to run Stormcleave on normal/hard rather than Elite simply because I am happy to grind rather than rush my leveling and as it is a third life it will take time to get my character up anyway. I will settle for the onslaught bonus in terms of killing because I don't want to run all over the place for a few extra bodies which will increase the amount of time I will need to send to complete the quest. I have settled on a route that allows me to slay 177 monsters which is just about the most economical time I can find that will complete the collection of 4 shards and light up the 6 runes.

Will they ever run out of Giants?
I know there are optionals that many people enjoy completing but for me I would rather avoid the outpost supplies one as my route misses a couple of crates and I would prefer to stay on the route I have learned. Perhaps I could learn or add to the route but I guess for me it is all about comfort in running the quest rather than a mad rush for experience. If I was working one of my first lifers it may be different but a character is not interested in rushing then the path of least resistance seems sensible. I am sure that many readers will question my wisdom but I am happy with how it works. I do think that the key to enjoying a quest is to be able to complete the tasks without increasing blood pressure.

Bit slow getting round

I will test myself by trying to do some of the optionals but the 4 rares only occur in 2 places so guessing you will never get more than 2. I did find it interesting that the cleric hirelings seem to have 18 intelligence or better to operate a rune on an optional. Which is not a problem anyway for my pale master but really help when running my barbarian through the quest on occasion. One serious tip for when you are taking out the undead that surround Pious Grew'el remember to not have death aura running otherwise I think you will be healing the undead  yourself.

Anyway just an excuse for me to enjoy myself have fun giant slaying