Posted by: mrrx | September 15, 2005

New combat is great

Tezcatlipocca : 85% XP. The verdict on the combat changes for Tez is – fabulous ! I had quite a bit more fun with the actual fighting, than I ever have when playing EQ2. Well done dev team; I suspect Moorguard's influence, in keeping a useful dialogue between players and dev team, was very helpful (yes this is just me using my intuition, no inside info here).

First Tez went through and did a complete respec. Respec, by the way, is reselecting all of your racial traits. Made one bad decision – picking an upgraded Contagion when it is already obsolete due to Miasma. But I might be able to respec again in a week and get something better instead. Concentrated on wisdom; Tez remains stronger when buffed rather than wiser.

For nukes Tez ended up getting three, but they are all on the same timer. Grey Wind was slightly better than the other two (Smite AppIV, and Cold Wind AppI) so that is the one he's using for the time being. So far I'm down a nuke – which sounds bad.

For DOTS he gets three, Cold Fire, Contagion, and Miasma. But the latter two are on the same timer. So he ends up using Cold Fire and Miasma. Slight improvement here versus the prior setup, because he has a better DOT.

Debuffs – the only one he used to use was Delusion. Cry of the Ancients though, is also a very nice debuff which I decided to start using. So in a sense he gets another debuff.

Buffs – No concentration needed for bear form. One point for Auspice. Courage no longer stacks with others. So this left his buff loadout at Spirit of Bull; Spirit of Badger; Auspice; (the other one); and bear form, for four concentration slots. I had thought they were trying to make it so you had more buffs than concentration slots, but they didn't succeed for my level at least.

Heals & wards – I have to recheck my heals. The rumor is that the three I have are on the same timer; I didn't really notice. My wards are new and improved. Take just as long to cast as before; seem to last for a slightly shorter period; but now apply damage after mitigation. Something must have happened to the power requirement – seems to use less mana now. Spirit of Badger includes a minor ward that regenerates constantly.

The only ward I managed to use well was Eidolic Ward – the instant cast, 15-minute recast one. It worked very well. The others just weren't worth the time to cast as a soloist.

So with trepidation, I set out to find the wussiest creature that I could, and managed to get a V green con. ( New convention – V is a down arrow, and ^ is an up arrow mob)

I knocked it down with very little mana or health usage. Encouraged, I tried out a ^ green mob, and took it down with no problems. Next I tried out a yellow 0 arrow. Was able to take it down but got pretty banged up. Ultimately figured out that I could take out roughly yellow cons and lower, adjusted for arrows. Did not try a ^^ green or ^^^ green, which is something I should make the attempt to do.

Combat seems to go well, and can roughly work out two ways as a soloist. First is, hit with your two debuffs, nuke then dot for HO, then nuke then dot for HO. Adjust the mix of dots or nukes as needed, to keep DOTS up and not overwrite, or to keep HO's hitting as fast as possible. With the two debuffs, you could see a significant improvement in how fast they went down, with less power and health loss than when not using the debuffs. For really big wimps, like most greens, don't bother with the debuffs, which is the second way to fight.

The Eidolic Ward came in handy several times – when running from a fight, or when adds come up. I hadn't used it much before the revamp as I seemed to get a bunch of unmitigated damage at the end – no longer is that the case.

The tooltips pop with combat info about what damage your spells are doing, their quality, and good descriptions. Wow is that a big improvement. Now in the heat of battle you can at least glance over your spells first before using them, and actually get to the point where you memorize useful info rather than "this hurts the mob".

Enough about how to fight – what happened ? Tez went out and fought a little bit in the Steppes testing things out. It soon became clear that the quests he was stuck on, he will still be stuck on. Some of them are now helpfully labeled "Heroic", letting you know the designers kind of expect you to field a group to finish them. Others, like Giant L&L, just involve grinding which I wasn't able to do solo.

Headed out to Nektulos and progressed several quests, including the Calling in the Forest. Made it to several locations which the nomad asked me to walk past, and now I need to kill a Dragoon Lieutenant. I saw one near the beach – he's a ^^^ blue mob so I'm not taking him down without a group or a lot of levels. Also got the power source for the Strange Black Rock, and more quests from the wandering Augur about the meaning of life. Apparently now I have to kill piranhas rather than contemplate my navel.

Stood on the beach for a long time killing spiders and crabs, and ended up with two fanged fistwraps which I gave to Tlaloc. Did more things for the Dark Elves on the beach, and now have to catalog an immense tree snake and a dragoon sentry. Couldn't seem to find them when I needed them this time.

Making your way up Nmar's Ascent is fun at this level. There are a bunch of skeletons, green V and blue V, which I fought my way past. Now moving around at the top is another story. There are these strange Quetzal guardians, where some of them are hostile and others could care less about you. This is hard to deal with, actually, considering that they are a significant fight. The road after this is filled with treants and rumbleroots, which caught me and killed me twice. Didn't make it all the way to Nektropos because I got discouraged by the deaths and decided to come back another day.

Several of my quests require me to forage. This is pretty hard to do in Nektulos. I suppose I'll finish them at some point, but made minor progress only in this session despite its extended length – like 5 hours or so. Finished up the session by dealing with selling, and made my way back to the Nektulos dock before logging off.

I am amazed – I did not expect, at all, the combat upgrade to go so very very well. I heard a lot of negativity on the forums, and while we may be doing apples to oranges (50 bad! 28 good!) it makes me wonder about the pessimism some people have. The only thing I miss is parry. But really, if the combat works anyway, who cares?

Also created Tuoni, a Halfling Ranger (Well, scout, but you know). Got him up to level 6. I wish I had created a scout sooner – it's kind of fun to use that sneak ability, walk behind a mob, give 'em the backstab and BAM! They're dead. Now here's another alt I need to buy bags and boxes for.

Tlaloc : Just below level 15. Tlaloc came out of the upgrade very well too. No, I'll go one better than that : Tlaloc is A KILLING MACHINE now! All his combat arts fire very very quickly. He can smash a mob up in perhaps half the time that it took before. Had him travel across Antonica and got a good feel for the post-combat-upgrade world of brawlers. He's in good shape. While he might get hurt his DPS is very high and he has plenty of food and drink being a provisioner.

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