Somewhat ironically, a /2 Rogue splash for Evasion is now MUCH more effective for a melee Arti, who gets 3 good attacks to cycle through, plus Venomed Blades.
Mechanic and Arti, which you'd think should synergize a lot, being the only two Xbow trees in the game, actually offer very little for each other when combined, since most of the Mech tree is either duplicated in BE/Arti spells, or is largely dependent on your Rogue level, while half the BE tree is devoted to Runearms, which are based on your Arti level.
My brother has it unlocked, perhaps he'll let me toy around with it some. Should have seen me when I started with a repeater. I was always confused that I had to apparently click again to reload, then again to fire.
Venomed Blades is also available through the Drow tree (tier four). I'm just not one for splashing, never was. I generally prefer my characters to be splashed, unless for some reason I have a roleplay sort of character that decides otherwise. Artificers are clearly very viable. Part of my problem, however, is the lack of skills. Rogues get access to a lot of mobility and dialogue skills.
I think the only real things I would like from Artificer at present would be access to summoned bolts (as scrolls are currently broken), Insightful Strikes (which as far as I am aware, despite being a scroll, doesn't work unless you're actually wearing said weapon), and the Fusilade. The capstone for clickies would be nice too, I suppose. But I really appreciate the access to full mobility, stealth, evasion, and so on. Am jealous of not having the dog, though. At the most, I'd run a few lives of it, simply for the passive past life feat. Passive +3 to search, disable device (Repair and Spellcraft too, but not something I'd necessarily need) and UMD? Yes please.
I don't like the fact that I HAVE to have a great crossbow.
Turbine found that no one chose Great Crossbow before because it is a slow weapon. Not to mention, hard to find good ones. So, they forced it on folks which is mostly a waste of enhancements.
A few years ago I chose Great Crossbow just because. Not sure if I ever used them.
The best thing to see is a halfling running around with a great crossbow.
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Best combo you can do right now is to use regular repeater and switch to great crossbow for endless fusilade.
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At this point, I'm only using one due to not getting proficiency for repeaters until 6 and 12.
i have a halfling mechanic on his 2nd life and am absolutely loving it. he was lvl14 when the enhancement pass hit and after failing to get excited with the mechanic tree i noticed at lvl18 an assassin can vorp with a repeater. so i've taken enough mechanic to get both repeaters and INT to damage then went assassin. at lvl14 he could already unlock the assassinate ability which surprised me as i'd put quite a few points in mechanic to make my repeaters function again.
i pick up the heavy repeater feat at lvl3 then switch it out at lvl12. this gives me heavy repeaters from lvl3 then both heavy and light from lvl6. lvl1 and 2 was agony, but that soon faded.
i mostly group because it's so much faster when i can milk my sneak attacks. i can solo with him, done some at level elite GH stuff and made the mistake of thinking i'd just walk through the demonweb to unlock eveningstar one night on elite before bed (yeah, that took freaking ages on my own!). but in a group i can let them get aggro then hit everything with 3 fists full of sneak attack dice (lvl15 and improved precise shot is a real game changer). leveling up has been a joy as the triple bolt with sneak attacks puts such a large dent in a mobs HP bar, or even outright kills it on lower difficulties. it's not uncommon for me to be leading the kill counts in a TR train.
repeater aside i have enjoyed mixing the assassinate in, it took a bit of learning (dagger then sneak, or the sneak puts the dagger on cooldown messing up your timing) but once i got the hang of it i've had fun mixing the repeater work up with the dagger work. it's not been 100%, but then i'm still DEX based not INT based (looking to LR when i get my mits on those +5 tomes mabar will bring). it has been reliable enough to bump off quite a few oranged names, for some reason each boss in PoP has been a good target as the FoDing casters don't seem to go for them.
lvl16 also saw a massive change to my character, i started to use the doublecross repeater, which puts mobs to sleep and gives you the 50% helpless damage and your sneak attacks. while its DC is in it's prime i'm now running into rooms first and just letting rip with the knowledge that as soon as the sleep procs i'll start getting my sneak attack damage. all but emptied out the initial fight in TOR elite doing that before the first pug member joined me.
so, to wrap up, repeater mechanics can be a ton of fun, and mixing in assassin for the sneak attack dice and insta kill is also great fun.
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My favorite types of DDO characters seem to be ranged ones. I've had a lot of fun with various types, including repeater builds.
I read a few posts back where someone said that they "had" to have a great crossbow, and that is a bit confusing to me. I have yet do more than test one out and determine that its fire rate was too slow. I would like to know if lacerating shots really only works with great crossbows, and if so why only the bolts from a great crossbow can produce that effect. It's nice, but it is far from the threshold of what it would take to make great crossbow viable, imo.
So far, my explorations into these builds show me three basic types. There is rogue mechanic, ranged artificer, and then ones with some levels of each. Many people won't play a pure mechanic because of the issue of having to keep stocked up on bolts. That doesn't bother me too much. You can put 1000 each of sturdy bolts and +3 sturdy bolts into a large, thin quiver, and then 1000 of some other type (silver, maybe, or along those lines), and that amount of ammo will last pretty well. You can also carry a spare quiver with the same amount of ammo in it.
I believe the best DPS is achieved by having at least 13 rogue levels, due to sneak attack damage. This is not to say that a pure artificer isn't useful, but the logistics is different. You won't do as much damage with the crossbow, but you add in your tactical detonations and blade barriers and so forth. But to compare with great crossbow, you're talking about one larger amount of damage vs. three marginally smaller amounts, plus the weapon procs on three bolts and the SA damage for three bolts. To use the example of my rogue 13/arti 7, that's 7d6+1 SA damage for a great crossbow bolt, or 21d6+3 for a repeater. Plus he's getting the imbued damage from the rune arm on each bolt, and a bit from the elemental weapons spell.
Still, I'm curious as to this statement about being required to use a great crossbow? Can someone expand on that?
I've had a mechanic for quite some time. I've bounced between pure 20, 14/6 (arti splash), 18/2 (arti again) before the enhancement pass, then pure again, and now 16/4 rog/art. Pure is my absolute favorite, and while I'll keep my assassin pure, and my thief-acro pure...those 4 arti levels make a difference. Those runearms are, imo, a big deal. Mostly because they give whatever weapon you have in your main hand some extra damage and also, in the case of some of the newer runearms, two extra augment slots. If you use Toven's...you get lightning strikes on a high rate of fire weapon. You can ALSO get runearms that give you banishing, smiting, and other neat stuff. I like runearms a lot and swap them around more than my xbow. With only 4 levels of arti, I never use them by charging them...because they hit about as hard as a newly declawed kitten. You'll also get a couple different weapon enhancement spells...elemental, +1, and Int tohit, giving you Int to hit AND dam. I really didn't mind refilling my quiver with House D bolts...you can buy two stacks of 1500 (the +3 sturdys, and the regular studys) so you'll have 3000 bolts at your disposal (if you're using the Abbot quiver). I can usually go several long runs before I have to refill...using a repeater.
Great Xbows...gawd. I wish they were better...but they're not. However, it was mentioned that you can swap to one, hit fussilade, and swap back. This makes a ton of sense...your repeater won't fire any faster than the GXbow under EFus...and with the enhanced crit range (and vorpal knockdowns) it's great to do this. Don't bother with the bleed damage thing...the extra damage you get from it is pretty negligible...imo.
With the changes to the blinding mechanic, my main weapon has, once again, become a Radiance heavy repeater (I haven't been able to tell any difference in the firing rate between heavy and light repeaters). You can blind large groups of mobs and they'll just run around like idiots...you can then move in closer for massive sneak damage and pull them down. This even works in EE content...actually, it's amazing in EE.
I think the 4 lvls of Arti are well worth it, even though you lose 6d6 sneak damage (*sniff*...I'm a solid sneak damage JUNKY!). OH! The Crossbow Training line still gives you +4+2 to repeating crossbows...weather that's worth the expenditure for you is another story. The extra action boosts you get from the Battle Engineer tree apply to EFus...and 8 of those is sexy! If you can swing it, there are two points of INT in that tree as well
Pure Mech is still viable. If they ever fix the Bolt scroll, I'll likely go back pure...not because it's necessarily better, but because I'm absolutely addicted to sneak damage. They're both fun builds, but for the time being...I'll keep the Arti splash
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Light repeaters fire the most bolts/min - if I remember correctly, it's 3 more bolts per min than heavy repeaters
So heavy repeaters do more damage, unless your goal is to get more procs of something. Then you'll want light. Anyways, that's why Needle is a light repeater - slightly faster, so more damage output.
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