The little cleric who could, except when she couldn’t

On Thelanis, I have Even, and then I have 18 toons in various stages of gimpiness.

And don’t even get me started on the poor, neglected, utterly incompetent toons I have on other servers, let alone my F2Ps. They’re probably better than hirelings (except Larafay, but c’mon – LARAFAY, dammit!)… but only probably. And not by much.

I’ve been working on getting sagas done on my epic-level toons. I don’t worry too much about Even; she can mostly solo her way to true elite completions. But the others… yeesh.

Sunday night, I figured, hey, I haven’t run Jalliria, my cleric, in a while. Don’t really trust her in EE content, but I could get some saga stuff done on hard.

It was the first time Jall’d been on the livestream. To her credit, she did not die. OK, she’s level 30 and we were doing Gianthold sides on EH (actually I think we did do either Foundation or Cry on EE). BUT STILL. No dings!

She, erm, may have allowed a few deaths to happen on her watch, though, which totally goes against her chosen role of healbot. I’m sticking with the excuse of “hadn’t played her in a while.” Yeah. That’s it. It’s not that she fails as a healer or anything… *koff*OKSHEREALLYDOESBUTIDON’TWANTTOHURTHERFEELINGS*

I really need to find ways to beef her up a bit now that hjealbots are becoming popular again thanks to reaper mode. Trouble is, I don’t trust Jall in reaper mode. I don’t even really trust her in EE.

Part of that is not playing her nearly as often as I used to and needing to get familiar again with what she can and can’t do. Sunday night, her playstyle consisted basically of:

  1. Turn aura on
  2. Try to remember to watch for aura to expire so you can turn it on again
  3. Sometimes forget and watch hit points go down
  4. Stand as far away from mobs as possible and blast the heck out of them with SLAs
  5. Use Ruin for casters and crowns; Divine Punishment for bosses
  6. Occasionally forget you’re not Even and dash in to melee stuff
  7. Amuse mobs with gentle tickling sensation

I think the last time I seriously tried to play Jall was months ago, doing EH Vol with a friend… and Jall, who you’d think would be pretty good seeing as how she’s a cleric and all, barely managed to stay alive herself, let alone toss out any hjeals. To be fair, midway through the quest I bought a Topaz of Fear Immunity from the DDO store because she was mostly useless from being afraid, and that helped more than considerably. But she still wasn’t where I’d like her to be.

I hear there’s a cleric pass coming in the future – how far in the future, I don’t know, but probably later than “SOON*” ™. I’m not sure I want to do another cleric life on her; she’s on her second life now, both cleric. Maybe once the pass hits, I could try an epic reincarnation; her first heroic TR was long before there were such things as epic levels, so she has no epic past lives at all.

But part of me kinda wants to heroic TR her into a barbarian, because that would be totally, completely, indubitably, and a lot of other words that end with “ly” out of character for her. My toons’ personalities generally figure heavily into their class and build choices. I see Jall as the quiet, wise healer who speaks up for others but not herself, who puts keeping the party healthy above all else…

… which must really get boring and repressing after a while. I kinda think maybe a barb life might be just the thing to teach her that it’s OK to be kick-ass once in a while. And her scary Drow eyebrows are definitely more barb-like than cleric-ish.

And besides, when I first started playing DDO and knew somewhat less than nothing about playing a cleric, Jall blew a feat on khopesh proficiency and ran around swinging her khops as if she might actually draw blood once in a while. Most of those khops are still in her TR cache. Be nice to give her a chance to use them again!

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time, now on the official DDOstream! The show will still be hosted on my own Twitch channel as well, but if you’re watching live and want to chat, DDOStream is the place to be. Videos are archived on my YouTube channel and/or on DDOStream’s YouTube. I’m usually on Thelanis, usually/often/sometimes on Evennote, and usually have room, so feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! I’m also definitely open to suggestions on what to run next. You can send ingame mail to Evennote on Thelanis, or email me at evennote (at) gmail dot com. Thanks for reading and/or watching!  🙂

The toon I hate to love

Getting

A few years back, faced with ever-dwindling inventory space because I’m the DDO equivalent of a hoarder, I rolled myself up a bank/haggle toon to hold some of the stuff I didn’t have room for anywhere else.

I named her Getting Even More (get it?). Banking and haggling were ALL she was supposed to do, but I wanted to get the extra inventory and bank slots on her, so I did some Coin Lords and House K favor farming.

And of course, it happened – I started liking her. And I bought her some gear, and all of a sudden she didn’t have room for anyone else’s items because her inventory was full of her own stuff.

When I unlocked Favored Soul, I didn’t have any toon slots available. So I told myself sternly, “Delete Getting and roll up a FvS. She’s never going to be a serious toon anyway.”

Which I did – delete her, that is. And as silly as it may sound, I felt bad about it almost immediately.

But she stayed deleted for, oh, probably two or three years. Then one night, for some reason, something made me think of her. And just as I was thinking of her, Shin said, “Hey, don’t forget it’s Thursday, last day of this week’s DDO store sales. Character slots are on sale until tomorrow.”

It was a sign! It was destiny! I am a Flower Sniffer of Destiny! (No, really, I am – that’s our guild name.)

I bought another character slot – hey, I only had 15 – and rolled up a new Getting. This time, instead of a helf pure bard with royal blue hair, she’s a sun elf 1 cleric/14 bard.

I laid down strict rules – I will spend NO plat, shards, or TP on her. She will get NO new gear unless it 1) drops in my name; 2) no one else in the party wants it; and 3) none of my other toons need it. And she will run NO quests except for Coin Lords and House K favor. Her function is inventory space, and ONLY inventory space. I maxed her Charisma, mostly dump-statted everything else, and took feats I’ve always ignored (Eschew Materials, Augment Summoning) to make her as un-viable as possible. No way was I going to let myself get attached to her.

Oops.

I’ve broken most of those rules. I blame Billy, Dayja, Geek, and a couple of other Monty’s who invited her to run elite Acid Wit with them. I didn’t think she’d make it through the first fight – I was wrong. Oh, she died a few times, but she didn’t die the most, or nearly as often as I thought she would. And her CC and healing weren’t half bad.

Then I soloed the VoN flaggers on elite with her. And not long ago she ran HE Temple of Elemental Evil with Shin, and again had some nice CC going on along with respectable self-healing. (She couldn’t help Shin out there, as he’s a PM.) Granted, she was over level, but I think her degree of intentional gimpy-ness more than made up for that.

Maybe it’s the writer in me that makes me attached to my toons the way I get attached to the fictional literary characters I create. Maybe that’s why I know the back story of every toon pretty much by the time I’m done rolling them up. And maybe that’s why, despite my best intentions, I found myself liking Getting.

So I bought her a sword, and then I spent some TP for a Bouquet of Roses to glamer onto her new sword. Then I thought she needed her own unique look, so I picked out a blonde hair dye from Sere’s rather extensive dye stash, and shelled out a few more TP to get her a new hairdo as well.

But that’s IT. I swear. I’m not getting her anything else.

… no, that’s not me at the AH. Must just be someone who looks like me. Uh-huh. That’s it.

You gotta have hearts

Zak

Maybe it was how well Even’s recent TR turned out that I decided to go on a bit of a reincarnation spree the past two days.

First it was Meren, who’s been wandering through epic levels kind of aimlessly, not sure if she wants to be a healer or a caster or even a melee. I have a friend who’s starting a new toon and wanted a rogue along; I asked Meren (yes, I do talk to my toons) and she reckoned traps were something she could deal with.

Meren

I didn’t want to make a carbon copy of either Vic or Sere, since they’re all individuals in their own right; instead, Meren is going to focus primarily on trap skills and secondarily on DPS and assassinate DCs. We also have a monk, so Meren’s melee damage won’t be crucial.

Next it was Zak’s turn. I considered just swapping out a couple of feats and resetting his enhancements, but since he had something like five lesser hearts in his bank (thanks, MyDDO lottery! I knew you’d come in handy!), I decided to just give him a makeover. It nearly backfired on me when I forgot to put him back into lich form afterwards and got somewhat panicky that his HP and intelligence were a bit lower than before – in form, though, he’s right where he should be.

Riva

And then Riva decided that her charisma was really a bit low for someone who wants to be an undead specialist, so she headed out to Reincarnation Grove as well. She was originally going to be a divine caster, but being the strong-willed Morninglord she is, felt that her talents would be better suited to blasting the un-living crap out of undead.

Now her charisma is maxed, her wisdom is almost maxed, and the rest of her build points went mostly to Con with a few in Str and Int (for skill points). I haven’t taken her out for a spin yet (hey, it’s tiring doing all that reincarnating and leveling up and spending action points and re-populating hotbars), but I did check out her hjeals, and they’re looking pretty good – she hit herself for 966 on a cure light crit.

Evennote

Meanwhile, Even is still having an awesome time tearing through stuff and laughing at anything that attempts to damage her. At level 15, still in mostly the PDK starter gear, she’s got PRR of 120 and MRR of 86, and her base damage with the standard-issue PDK longsword is in triple digits. Heck, on her paladin life, I was stunned if she could crit in triple digits! (LOL, well, not really; she was mostly using Celestia at the time, and that worked fairly well for her. But still.)

I’m also happy to report that she’s back to her usual acid green hair color. Somehow, Even just isn’t Even until her hair is chartreuse. I need to find her some armor that’s more green-ish. Nothing against the PDK armor (oddly enough, while she got all the other PDK starter gear, she didn’t get the armor cosmetic, just the armor itself – good thing she’s not overly partial to it!), it’s just not really Even’s style. She’d really like to have the Deneith armor, the one the guy on the House D splash screen is wearing, but I’m not sure that’s actually available ingame anywhere.

If you count Even’s epic, heroic, and lesser reincarnations, plus Zak and Meren and Riva, that’s six reincarnations in the past few days, which probably close to doubles my total reincarnations, like, EVER. I’m really surprised at how painless it was. I might have to do this more often!

Hjeal meh nao!

Jalliria

Abs has a line in his profile that says something like, “Evennote was healed by you for 11,525 points.” Can’t remember the exact number, but that’s pretty close. So I was really proud of Jall when she hit her own not-very-heal-amped self for more than 15K a few weeks back. That’s with Unyielding Sovereignty, not a “normal” heal, just to be clear.

Tonight she was running EE Gianthold with Vey and Ray, and noticed that her aura was hitting Vey for close to 400. That’s some pretty nice heal amp, so when we were done, I decided to see what Jall could hit him for. The picture above is worth a thousand words… or 46,449 hit points.

I don’t get bragging rights with Abs, though, because he hit Sady for more than 50K the other night. But it’s a start… and now I want to try again in Exalted Angel, because Jall has a lot more positive spellpower there than in Unyielding Sentinel.

And as long as I’m talking about Jall… Vey asked me last night if I’d ever finished my March Madness series of posts. That was the first I realized that no, I never did, although I did have the results worked out… and at the time, Jall ended up as the overall winner. My toons have changed a lot over the past six to eight months, though; if I were to do a similar tournament now, I think Even might end up as champion.

Filkin’ around: Nerf City

Seregeth

Mostly I’m pretty happy with how my toons have turned out since Update 19, and aside from TRing Char, which had nothing to do with the update, I haven’t reincarnated – lesser, greater, or true – any of ’em. But there are still little things I run across that make me wonder what in the world the devs were thinking. After watching Slvr’s bard Dirge the training dummy multiple times tonight while he kept swapping gear around to figure out why there was no Harmonic Resonance going on, the phrase “Nerf City” popped into my head… and well, when that happens, most of my friends know there’s a filk on the way.

Jan and Dean, sorry to butcher your classic “Surf City” with my DDO version.

Nerf City

Too bad, delete, reroll

I got a level 20 tempest and she used to be bad-ass
(Nerf City, now I’m gimped)
She could’ve used some hit points but she beat up the mobs fast
(Nerf City, now I’m gimped)
But they forgot dual-wielders in the last update
So now all she’s good for is just dragon bait

Well, we’re stuck in Nerf City and we’re feelin’ dumb
Yeah, we’re stuck in Nerf City and it ain’t no fun
Well, we’re stuck in Nerf City and we’re feelin’ dumb
Yeah, we’re stuck in Nerf City and it ain’t no fun

Too bad, delete, reroll

I could TR her to a wizard or I could try out arti
(Nerf City, now I’m gimped)
I gotta figure out a new build or get left out of parties
(Nerf City, now I’m gimped)
Her skill points are a mess, they almost make me laugh
Do I really need to dump her bluff to raise spellcraft?

Well, we’re stuck in Nerf City and we’re feelin’ dumb
Yeah, we’re stuck in Nerf City and it ain’t no fun
Well, we’re stuck in Nerf City and we’re feelin’ dumb
Yeah, we’re stuck in Nerf City and it ain’t no fun

Too bad, delete, reroll

My monk can’t rez her hireling with Rise of the Phoenix
(Nerf City, now I’m gimped)
They say it’s working as intended but it seems more like a glitch
(Nerf City, now I’m gimped)
My rogue can’t find the secret doors around Wheloon
And my sorc’s DCs are crap, guess he’ll be my bank toon

Well, we’re stuck in Nerf City and we’re feelin’ dumb
Yeah, we’re stuck in Nerf City and it ain’t no fun
Well, we’re stuck in Nerf City and we’re feelin’ dumb
Yeah, we’re stuck in Nerf City and it ain’t no fun

Too bad, delete, re –
Too bad, delete, reroll

Imbalance of power

Stormglory Bolt

I can’t speak for other countries, but here in the U.S. there’s often outcry about the wealthiest people having loopholes so that they aren’t taxed as heavily as their poorer counterparts.

There’s something similar going on with DDO guilds. It used to be that all guilds level 26 and higher were subject to daily renown decay. The amount of decay was determined by the number of unique accounts in the guild. The more accounts, the more decay.

To me, this was a GOOD thing. It encouraged players to be active and earn renown for their guilds. And it encouraged guilds to be – I hate to use the word “selective,” because it tends to have elitist connotations. But yes – selective; selective in that it benefited a guild to put together a group of like-minded players who worked well together and enjoyed each other’s company rather than just indiscriminately adding whoever they could find.

Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, renown decay was suspended on June 20 and was supposed to remain so until the release of the Shadowfell Conspiracy. Even more unfortunately, decay is STILL on hiatus with no official plans to bring it back, according to the DDO Wiki guild renown page.

Maybe you’re wondering why this is such a bad thing. Yay, no more renown decay! Let’s all celebrate! Right?

But there are a few problems with that approach. Now, guilds are being rewarded for going out and recruiting anyone at all, because every last little bit of renown earned is renown kept. So there’s a lot more shady stuff like people lurking in the Wavecrest spamming blind guild invites on unsuspecting newbies.

And it punishes smaller guilds, because now the decay that once helped keep the playing field level is gone. Our little Thelanis guild is basically Slvr and me; Comic plays with us Tuesday nights as part of a static group and Shin occasionally signs on but hasn’t been active lately. Having just a few people who are active and do a lot of stuff together works well for us, but with so few, it takes us a LONG time to level up. I joined the guild full-time about a year and a half ago, when it was level 27. We’re now within about 100K renown of level 50 and looking forward to our next airship (even though I’ll miss the green paint job I gave our Stormglory Bolt, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story).

There’s Vey, who has, through a LOT of hard work, gotten his guild – not a lot bigger than ours – all the way up to level 94 at present. That’s one hell of an accomplishment for a small guild like Riddles.

There’s a guild that I’d hardly seen around before decay was suspended. I doubt they were out of the 20s guild level-wise at that time. Now they’re well into the 80s – in a matter of a few months. Go to the social tab, search all, and sort by guild, and there always seem to be at least 20 or 30 of them, because they recruit anybody and everybody. They have people who troll the Who tab looking for unguilded players – I know, because when I rolled up Sere, my iconic Shadar-Kai assassin, I was leveling her up to 15 and got TWO tells from different people in that guild asking me to join. Sorry, but even if I were looking for a guild, I wouldn’t want to be part of one that would do stuff like that.

And then… there’s the guild I was in before I joined Slvr’s. Account-wise, they’re one of the largest guilds on Thelanis. I used to be successor and roster keeper, back in the day when they had applications and recommendations and tryouts to see how someone would fit in before they were invited to the guild. When I left, they were at level 72. When renown decay was first suspended, they were maybe 77 or 78, I think… but boy, has that changed. Now the only criteria to get in, so I’m told by a couple of members who aren’t too happy about the policy change, is to get an officer to invite you.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an asset to the guild or not; all that matters is that you’re one more person who might earn a little more renown, because that’s what pays off – that guild is now level 99.

Quick side note: I’m not naming the guild because, for starters, naming and shaming is a totally classless thing to do, and because, even though I vehemently oppose the new policy of “invite anyone,” I still have some AMAZING friends in that guild, people who are some of my best friends in DDO.

But when you invite just anyone to your guild without regard to how they’ll fit in, you might not have to worry about renown decay, but you ARE going to have to worry about your guild’s reputation. I saw that firsthand tonight during FoT with Abs, Ninja and the very awesome gang from Clan. I was on Jall and was assigned to the TO tank. We had one other healer, a cleric from my old guild, who was assigned to heal the rest of the party and keep an eye on the SR tank if needed.

Somehow, the guy managed to blow through 3400 mana in no time flat. We didn’t even have the first giant/dragon pair down before his blue bar was empty, and it was obvious he DIDN’T blow it on heals. So Ninja asked him to please save his SP for healing rather than casting a lot of offensive spells. She asked him nicely. And he replied, “Go f*** yourself,” “F*** you,” “I was f***ing healing” (trust me, he wasn’t – a couple people were scroll healing and I was trying to throw some heals when I could get within range, which wasn’t a lot since Abs was doing a great job keeping the TO away from the party). And he didn’t just say it once and stop. He kept at it. Even after Abs decided to call it and get us out of there before anyone could use more resources on a lost cause, the guy was STILL swearing at Ninja.

Yes, he was a total jerk. And he also made his guild look REALLY bad. The party re-formed (without him, of course), and there was much talk about that guild, none of it positive. But I guess if all you’re after is the next guild level, that stuff doesn’t matter.

To be fair, guilds with less than 50 active accounts do get a bonus to renown earned. The bonus varies based on number of accounts relative to the guild’s size classification. Slvr has a couple of alt accounts to keep us at six total for the maximum renown bonus of 300%, so for example we get 3,000 renown for a Legendary Victory while a guild with 50 or more unique accounts would get 1,000. But we have really two people actively earning renown on a daily basis. A guild with 50+ members, even if a full third of those members aren’t active, is going to earn a lot more renown than we do. Without decay as an equalizer, the high-membership guilds are leaving little guilds like ours in the dust, especially as more and more renown is required for each successive guild level.

Even if they bring decay back, the playing field will still be slanted. In a post from October 2012, Tolero explains a Turbine policy change that states, “Renown decay no longer takes guild size into account. This should ease the pressure for guild leaders to “kick” members from the guild to offset daily renown decay rates. Renown decay now only takes a guild’s level into consideration rather than its size.”

I see nothing wrong with kicking guild members for inactivity. If someone hasn’t signed on in a long time, why keep them in your guild? When I was still in the old guild, the policy was that inactive accounts were booted after one month and one day of no activity, but were ALWAYS welcome to rejoin if they returned to the game. That’s a pretty simple and fair way of doing things.

But now, the easiest way to level up your guild is only simple, not fair – just go out and recruit everyone you can.