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  1. #1
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    Default "Ugly bags of mostly hit points"

    Slight Star Trek TNG reference there

    I'm level 15 now now, 13 wiz/2 rog Human Palemaster. And what I am noticing now is how many hit points a lot of these standard enemies have - Ogres and Giants for example. Until recently I could boost Ice or Fire enough that I could pick these guys off one by one with Scorching Ray or Frost Lance, so save sp (8 and 10sp, respectively). But now, unless it crits, those spells do not kill in one shot. In fact several enemies now survive TWO shots, so sp is draining fast.

    I am quite survivable, do to Wraith form + Displacement + Auras, so its not like I'm scared of dying. But the defenses consume sp too. What I'm seeing now is my sp bar going down FAST just for one group of 5+ enemies. I need advice on how to kill groups quickly but also efficiently with this character.

    I have over 1200 sp right now (34 INT and a lot of sp boosting enhancements and a + 175 sp item), so I'm pretty much maxed. I do have the Maximize feat too, if needed. I usually run with a level 15 cleric just for Divine Vitality III (I think that's what it is called.)

    Here are my options so far:
    1) Keep using Scorching Ray and Frost Lance, with Fire and Ice VII and max Fire/Ice gear. This is getting inefficient, and I also have to cast at least one defensive spell before they all die.
    2) Maximized Freezing Sphere or Delayed Blast Fireball. This frequently kills most/all of the group (if I can get them grouped), but it costs 50sp to cast.
    3) Finger of Death - 90% success rate right now, but I think it costs 40sp and is one target only. I usually only use this on orange/red names.
    4) Sphere of Dancing - Awesome spell, and usually works, but it just controls them, doesn't damage. Seems like a better spell for grouping than soloing. It costs a hefty 40 sp too.
    5) Shield damage? Haven't tried this yet, but maybe with both Fire Shield and Ice Shield, + Death Auras, just let them hit on me till they die? But this would consume over 50 sp per group also, and I'd still have to deal with the ranged enemies.
    6) Invis? Haven't tried this yet either. Basically, stop fighting all these groups in some way? (which results in less xp I think.)

    So basically I was breezing through fights fast, and now they take a while, and if I can't find a shrine somewhere then I can get into trouble. This is where being a sorcerer (guessing here) really shines with their big pool of sp. How do you experienced wizards deal with groups in an efficient way?

    Thanks for your help, as always.

  2. #2
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    You are reaching the point where it is more cost effective to hit your big spells with max/empower running that it is to spam the cheaper spells. Also, with the point you are at with the character in question, it can be somewhat difficult to solo content, as enemies are getting stronger, but you haven't yet started getting into the good stuff as far as insta-kills go. I assume you are a first life character with no greensteel items to help boost you up, which means that you will probably have some issues soloing on your build for a few levels.

  3. #3
    Community Member Buddrow's Avatar
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    I usually run mobs through a web instead of danching ball (sp is cheaper even with heighten). Then lay down an AOE like acid rain, ice storm, or cloudkill, and watch them bake for about 10- 20 secs. Then finish them off with burning hands or an aura. I've even been know to melee those last few hit points.
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  4. #4
    The Hatchery Wipey's Avatar
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    Finger/pk/pwk later rotation and try to use circle of death catching as many mobs as possible. Finish almost dead mobs with slas.
    Don't blur or displace yourself if you have Torc. You can also invis past LOT of stuff with invis scrolls. Also don't use stupid hires, some sp crutch doesn't make up for plat cost and scaling.

    If you doing normal/hard just run till orange skull and acid rain/firewall/fireball :-D
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  5. #5

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    Use your SLA !!

    At level 12 PM you got a single target ranged negative energy attack that costs -0- SP, and only a small cost in HP, and at level 6 PM you got a touch range negative energy attack that also costs 0 sp...and both SLA can do significant damage.

    If you hit something with scorching ray / frost lance and it isn't killed in one shot, shoot it again with Necrotic Bolt to finish it off.

    At 18 PM you'll get Necrotic blast as well, and can constantly cycle blast / bolt / repeat while your aura keeps you fully healed.
    Last edited by dterror; 11-21-2012 at 12:09 PM.

  6. #6
    Community Member MsEricka's Avatar
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    Another approach would be to lose the two levels of rogue. That would get you slightly higher DC's and your finger of death will probably work 97% of the time. You could also pick up circle of death which is a fantastic spell. And shortly you'll get wail of the banshee. With all three you can have fun and kill away.

    And as already said, your SLA's are invaluable. Yes it's kind of like pew pew, but it still kills em.

  7. #7
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    Wall of Fire/Ice Storm/Acid Rain + Death Aura + shield blocking will take care of large groups.

    Niac's/Eladar's/instakills will take care of tough enemies and bosses.

    Frost Lance/Scorching Ray will take care of Beholders.

    Necrotic Bolt/Touch + Death Aura is the most efficient spell combo you have. If you're not in any danger or hurry, that's the most efficient (but slowest) way to kill enemies with the least SP.

  8. #8
    Community Member FrozenNova's Avatar
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    Quit nuking trash, is the way this is headed. Spend your spellpoints on aoe crowd control for the group. Efficient damage like dots and large aoe's is worth doing, as is FoD'ing vulnerable casters - but the time for single target rays is largely over.

    If, as your post somewhat suggests but doesn't explicitly state, you are playing exclusively solo, then yes, you will find that you do not have the spellpoints to kill everything you see. Invisibility, symbol of persuasion, mass suggestion, zerg to the boss, kite it with dots. This is how it must go.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenNova View Post
    Quit nuking trash, is the way this is headed. Spend your spellpoints on aoe crowd control for the group. Efficient damage like dots and large aoe's is worth doing, as is FoD'ing vulnerable casters - but the time for single target rays is largely over.

    If, as your post somewhat suggests but doesn't explicitly state, you are playing exclusively solo, then yes, you will find that you do not have the spellpoints to kill everything you see. Invisibility, symbol of persuasion, mass suggestion, zerg to the boss, kite it with dots. This is how it must go.
    Yes, I am usually solo most nights. I group with a couple guildies 2 nights a week, but usually solo.

    If this is the new normal, and I need to take more stealthy approaches going forward, then I'm curious about melee characters. Does a fighter or barbarian, for example, have this same problem, where they will run out of potions and die if they keep fighting groups of 5+ enemies for an hour? I at least have the advantage of Invis when I need it, and also self healing (at the cost of sp), but what do other characters rely on when they solo?

    I assumed that my first life "Pale Trapper" could solo easily all the way to 20. I still believe that they can, it just sounds like it won't be as fast as it was up to level 15, because the enemies got bigger.

    Regarding "Circle of Death", that's an excellent idea for a spell that for some reason I don't even load. I guess I just assumed that with two save opportunities the enemies would survive too often, making it a waste of sp (while I get pounded). But now that I have 34 INT and Greater Nec perhaps it will be more effective now. There is not a maximum number of enemies affected, is there? I would "Heighten" it if I could, but I took Quicken at 15 instead of Heighten. Perhaps that was a mistake

    Thanks again.

  10. #10

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    One of the biggest benefits, if not the primary one, of PaleMasters is self-healing. This self-healing also hurts mobs so disable then blast away while standing in close proximity.

    Mobs
    Hopefully you've given yourself a good con score so you can take a bit of a beating while dishing one out. To help out with this at early levels, grab yourself a shield. The shield should have a minor or zero arcane spell failure so that your primary function of spell caster is not diminished.

    I would suggest, at levels below 15 to focus on Fire or Acid and then Acid or Cold for levels above 13 or so. This is just my opinion, but Web + Firewall or Acid Rain (my preference pre epic lvl) are fantastic. Just don't forget that you can melee them and SLA(Spell Like Ability) while doing the fore-mentioned. You'll of course have to adjust your technique depending on the mobs.

    If you find that your webs/holds/Disco ball is failing too often you can drop one of your forth level slots for Crushing Despair as a debuff. By level 15 I've found Firewall isn't worth loading and have since replaced it. Another great tool is Circle of Death (heightened) for group instant kills. Again, you may want to preface with a Crushing Despair.

    Single Opponents
    Again, someone mentioned this previously, but save your DOTs (Damage over Time) for your red or orange names.

    If you are soloing mostly, then look at ways to avoid fights, putting your rogue abilities and lesser used spells to use . Have your Move Silently (may not matter in wraith form) and Hide items handy. You can remove them to draw mobs away and then circumnavigate with more of an opening.

    Hope this helps and good luck.


    Caster Shields
    SkyVault - Easiest to get - http://ddowiki.com/page/Skyvault_Shield
    Fanion - Somewhat annoying to get - http://ddowiki.com/page/Fanion
    There are several crafting options you can look, but require a more significant effort to obtain.
    (all relative, of course)

    Suggested 4th lvl spells
    Death Aura, Ice Storm(Acid Cloud), Crushing Despair, Negative Energy Burst, and Dimension Door
    Last edited by IllOracle; 11-21-2012 at 04:43 PM.
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  11. #11
    Community Member Kinerd's Avatar
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    Wall of Fire and Ice Storm are caster easy buttons, especially when coupled with Web. They are also sloooooow, but not as slow as your PM SLAs. Acid Rain takes a little more finesse because you get so few damage ticks out of it, but when used properly it is brutally effective. The only problem on a PM is slotting them all. I advise keeping Ice Storm slotted always, then swap Wall of Fire and Acid Rain depending on the content.

    Instant kills are also really really really really really good.
    Quote Originally Posted by stefferweffer
    Does a fighter or barbarian, for example, have this same problem, where they will run out of potions and die if they keep fighting groups of 5+ enemies for an hour? I at least have the advantage of Invis when I need it, and also self healing (at the cost of sp), but what do other characters rely on when they solo?
    Hirelings.
    Regarding "Circle of Death", that's an excellent idea for a spell that for some reason I don't even load. I guess I just assumed that with two save opportunities the enemies would survive too often, making it a waste of sp (while I get pounded). But now that I have 34 INT and Greater Nec perhaps it will be more effective now. There is not a maximum number of enemies affected, is there?
    I don't think it's stated, but I'm pretty sure there's a cap around 6. There are two saves, but it's only the high Reflex types that can give you much trouble: your archers, your cats, and the like. Eventually even they will fall before your scythe.
    I would "Heighten" it if I could, but I took Quicken at 15 instead of Heighten. Perhaps that was a mistake
    It was, but you'll live.

    eta last point: stealth is powerful, but not a necessity. You should absolutely try it out and get a feel for it, but with discipline you can kill everything in pretty much every dungeon without major SP concerns.

  12. #12
    Community Member Havok.cry's Avatar
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    As a wizard, I always liked the approach of stealth+charms+summons and then only nuke if I have to to advance.
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  13. #13
    Community Member Ryiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefferweffer View Post
    Until recently I could boost Ice or Fire enough that I could pick these guys off one by one with Scorching Ray or Frost Lance, so save sp (8 and 10sp, respectively).
    Just remember to do a little math with your SP usage. While 8 or 10 SP per spell might seem low it really isn't when you calculate it all up. Six enemies, even if you can pick them off with a single casting, could just as easily be killed by a single Maximized Firewall. Six casts at 8 or 10 SP is 48 to 60 SP, a single Maximized Firewall is 50 SP.
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  14. #14
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    yup, you're meeting the HP inflation mobs got over the years of updates so 1-shotting mobs is now the job of your insta kill spells not your rays

    try yea olde firewall. once cast of that should do more damage in total than a fireball vs a group of mobs. many casters use FW from caster lvl7 onwards (ie lvl9 for your build) when grouping as with the extra players the mobs HP will have scaled up a lot. being mostly a solo player you've held back this HP inflation for a long time thanks to the dungeon scaling

    you can simply drop a FW then run about it getting the mobs to burn them selves to death. or you can add in some CC so you can watch them burn without having to run about like a nutter.

    you will probably find even this wont be very SP efficient on just 5 mobs at a time, so once you are used to staying alive and out of harms way vs 5 mobs at a time, feel free to go find some more before you stop to kill. the more you can gather together without getting over whelmed the more efficient this tactic becomes, which is also why some CC thrown in can improve you're efficiency.

    once you have that down to pat start throwing in your necrotic SLA's to help speed things up. as you have probably found by now your death aura will be active during every fight, and if you stay close to full health the HP cost of your necrotic spells essentially becomes completely free. you should have necro spells boosted for healing reasons, which means your necro SLA's will also be boosted and do significant damage.

    in gianthold and in a full party i could quite often be found lazily standing toe to toe with an ogre or troll trading blows with my 2 necrotic SLA's (the first is close range only) and aura going, i might drop down to 75% hp while doing that thanks to the mob hitting me and my necrotics hurting me, be it was very funny to see the mobs just bouncing off my undeady-goodness . if the fight was a little bit tougher and i had a little more respect for the mobs i might stay out of range and use the lvl12 necrotic ability, the ranged one, for free dps.

    when soloing i'll wager you can get a lot of use from those SLA's to make your SP last longer. heck if your CC last long enough you might even be able to just CC them while you stand in the middle using your aura as AoE dmg and your necrotic SLA's as extra fire power. firewall or ice storm will of course speed things up a lot, and you're already specced for them.

    so, to recap, get used to the persistent AoE spells such as firewall and ice storm. start using your freebie SLA's, the touch ranged one and the ray style one. both will improve your SP efficiency leaving you more juice for insta killing the casters and oranges and nuking the boss's. once those are under your belt then investigate sneaky ways (invis, charms, that sort) as which ever method your main tactic is you will still need to be able to kill efficiently.
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  15. #15

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    As has been said, but worth repeating, your efficient killer is no longer rays but now aoe dots. Namely, because you're fire and ice, wall of fire and ice storm.

    I recommend you get a nice crafted shield so you can stand in the center of it and shield block instead of kiting mobs around in a circle. The shield blocking technique works much better in groups, and is even better solo thanks to dungeon scaling.

    At level 15 you can either use a magecraft blank (AML10) or hold our for a mountain shield (AML16) as your blank:

    +5 Magecraft/Mountain shield of Axeblock

    The magecraft one will be ML13, the mountain one ML16.

    Note: Necrotic Ray should still be an instakiller ray. It's much better than scorching ray or frost lance on a pale master, and it costs the same spell points (10) as frost lance. Polar ray is also the next upgrade from frost lance but it has a higher cost and cooldown so you may want to delay adopting it for a bit.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by EllisDee37 View Post
    As has been said, but worth repeating, your efficient killer is no longer rays but now aoe dots. Namely, because you're fire and ice, wall of fire and ice storm.

    I recommend you get a nice crafted shield so you can stand in the center of it and shield block instead of kiting mobs around in a circle. The shield blocking technique works much better in groups, and is even better solo thanks to dungeon scaling.

    At level 15 you can either use a magecraft blank (AML10) or hold our for a mountain shield (AML16) as your blank:

    +5 Magecraft/Mountain shield of Axeblock

    The magecraft one will be ML13, the mountain one ML16.

    Note: Necrotic Ray should still be an instakiller ray. It's much better than scorching ray or frost lance on a pale master, and it costs the same spell points (10) as frost lance. Polar ray is also the next upgrade from frost lance but it has a higher cost and cooldown so you may want to delay adopting it for a bit.
    Unless Necrotic Ray gets more rays, it does not outdamage the 3 frost lance rays yet, when fully specced for ice (with 13 caster levels). This is because 1) It is only 1 ray, and 2) I can only boost negative energy by about 150 right now if geared for negative (which I am), unless I maximize it, which would be ridiculous. I have greater void lore and greater ice lore going at all times (9% crit chance each), + 6% Neg crit chance from Palemaster 2 and 4% from the Ice Crit Enhancement (forget the name).

    I will try the Firewall and Ice Storm approach again. Maximized they kill faster, but are of course more expensive. But I do keep forgetting about my free Necrotic abilities. I need to use those more often. Thank you all for the reminder

  17. #17

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    At level 15 (13/2) I was running with maximize on 24/7, except of course for sonic blast (breaking barrels) and fireball (breaking down doors.)

    With improved maximizing III and an efficient maximize II trinket maximize only costs 12 sp. Looking over my build I get it down to 12 sp by level 12, actually, which sounds about right for when mob hp inflation starts.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefferweffer View Post
    Unless Necrotic Ray gets more rays, it does not outdamage the 3 frost lance rays yet, when fully specced for ice (with 13 caster levels). This is because 1) It is only 1 ray, and 2) I can only boost negative energy by about 150 right now if geared for negative (which I am), unless I maximize it, which would be ridiculous. I have greater void lore and greater ice lore going at all times (9% crit chance each), + 6% Neg crit chance from Palemaster 2 and 4% from the Ice Crit Enhancement (forget the name).

    I will try the Firewall and Ice Storm approach again. Maximized they kill faster, but are of course more expensive. But I do keep forgetting about my free Necrotic abilities. I need to use those more often. Thank you all for the reminder
    Comparing frost lance and necrotic ray specifically: they both have the same SP cost (10), frost lance does a total of 12d6+60 cold damage, with three seperate fortitude saves to reduce each lance's damage by half. necrotic ray does 13d4+52 negative damage, with 1 fortitude save, and bestows a negative level. So, right now, the base damage on the two spells is very close, so the difference is going to come from spell power. From enhancements you can get 100 cold spell power versus 70 negative spell power, so frost lance will likely do a bit more damage for another level or two. The maximize feat adds 150 stacking spell power to all of your spells at the cost of 25 additional SP. For these specific spells, that may or may not be cost effective, but for the more expensive spells, it generally is. You are starting to get into the level range where it is generally more efficient to leave maximize and/or empower running all the time and cast fewer, heavier hitting spells rather than leaving them off and casting more, lighter damage spells.

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  20. #20
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    Except I don't have anything like the trinket you describe. Can it be purchased in the AH? If it has to be crafted, I have not done 1 second of crafting yet Like I said, new player on first character, first life still...

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