EDIT: U23 has largely solved the problem of gearing an artificer. Because of this, the options below are essentially outdated. Check out Dubbell O'Seven for a U23 gear set and build.
So I've been considering how to optimize Dubbell O'Seven for the current endgame and am having difficulty finding the balance. There's a lot to consider and these are issues that affect all artis so, at the suggestion of a friend, I decided to start a separate thread about it. Here is what I am currently seeing with optimizing a pure arti for EE.
Artificers need to boost 2 types of spell power: force (since it affects all relevant arti spells and possibly the rune arm if you're using Archaic Device) and 1 element for energy burst (and the rune arm if you're going with acid). Energy burst is extremely powerful and not using this is simply not an option for me. Formerly, I didn't mind not having a source of force spell power other than potency because there was little difference between the 80 potency on Bluescale armor and the 114 you could slot (when the level cap was 25). But 80 potency is way behind the 138 you can slot now or the 150 available from Thunder Forged crafted and lootgen weapons.
So how to fit in both force and elemental spell power is the central problem. Crafting a Thunder Forged repeater with 150 spell power means gimping ranged dps and is not an option as far as I am concerned. You only get one red slot on the repeater (whether you're using Needle or a Thunder Forged repeater), which means only one type of spell power. After searching for accessories (not weapons or shields) with elemental spell power or a red slot, the only two I have found that are worth considering are Corruption of Nature with 114 acid spell power and Iron Beads with 120 electric and 16% electric lore. Some older epic items and Cannith Challenge items have 90 elemental spell power, but that's barely an improvement from the 80 on Bluescale armor.
Going electric specced has the added advantage of an extra 4% lore from the arcanotechnician tree. But Iron Beads competes with the Sage's Locket, which means losing 5 DCs (which I don't see any other way to slot evocation focus) and needing to slot 15 spellcraft somewhere else.
Regarding rune arms: I would still say the acid and force rune arms are the only viable ones at endgame because of their 5 shots. Electric and ice still don't compare. There is no way to get acid lore (outside of regular spell lore, which has been totally gimped). So with the 20% kinetic lore on the Sage's Cuffs (along with the 4% force lore from arcanotechnician) and 138 force slotted in the repeater, I wonder if that would outdamage Corruption of Nature or Turmoil Within with 138 acid slotted in the repeater and only 9% lore from bluescale. Same spell power for each but 15% more crits for force. I might do a brief test using lootgen items with 138 spell power to get a feel for how these options compare.
So based on the above, I'm thinking the only decent options are:
1) slot 138 force in the repeater, Sage's Cuffs for 20% force lore, Archaic Device, Iron Beads for 120 electric and 16% electric lore
2) slot 138 force in the repeater, Sage's Cuffs for 20% force lore, Corruption of Nature for 114 acid spell power, Sage's Locket, and Epic Rock Boots for 16% acid lore
3) slot 138 acid in the repeater, Sage's Cuffs for 20% force lore, Corruption of Nature or Turmoil Within, Sage's Locket, Epic Rock Boots for 16% acid lore, and Bluescale for 80 potency (affecting force)
4) slot 138 acid in the repeater, Sage's Cuffs for 20% force lore, Corruption of Nature or Turmoil Within, Sage's Locket, Epic Rock Boots for 16% acid lore, and the Holy Symbol of Lolth for 102 force
5) slot 138 force in the repeater, Sage's Cuffs for 20% force lore, Archaic Device, Sage's Locket, and Sage's Spectacles for 132 fire and 18% fire lore
These options provide:
1) 183 force/24% lore, 165 electric/20% lore, -5 DCs -- strong rune arm, strong energy burst, strongest arti spells, gimp DCs
2) 183 force/24% lore, 159 acid/16% lore, +5 DCs -- strong rune arm, strong energy burst, strongest arti spells
3) 125 force/24% lore, 183 acid/16% lore, +5 DCs -- strong rune arm, strong energy burst, weak arti spells
4) 132 force/24% lore, 168 acid/16% lore, +5 DCs -- strong rune arm, strong energy burst, weak arti spells
5) 183 force/24% lore, 177 fire/22% lore, +5 DCs -- strong rune arm, strongest energy burst, strongest arti spells
These numbers include 15 spellcraft (assuming it is slotted if not wearing the Sage's Locket), the 15 spell power set bonus from the Blue Dragonscale set, and the 15 spell power set bonus from planar conflux. It is worth noting that options 1, 2, 4, and 5 can use either the blue scale set or the shadowscale armor/helm combo (for better ranged dps), so they have the flexibility to emphasize spell power or ranged dps, which option 3 does not because of its reliance on bluescale for the potency. Option 4 is not able to use the planar conflux set bonus. Tier 3 Greensteel accessories also offer 16% elemental lore (which would be used for acid), but the Epic Rock Boots allow for a better overall gear setup.
I think option 5 currently offers the most overall.
I have also been considering dropping the three spell focus feats to pick up the three mental toughnesses for another 3% spell crit. I'm feeling like just dumping DCs entirely on an arti and maximizing straight dps is the way to go now. A pure arti is only going to get around a 54 DC with minimal effort. That could be pushed up to around 60 with a lot of work (past lives and running in shadowdancer or draconic), but for current EEs this is still low.
So what do you all think? Are there any other items that offer at least 114 elemental spell power or a red slot that I'm missing? Anyone see other options that I'm not? Thanks in advance.
EDIT: Fleshy artis have the option of EE Shadowmail with 120 force or acid spell power. That locks out both the Bluescale set (which gives another 15 spell power) and the Shadowscale armor (which boosts ranged dps a bit). It is also medium armor so eliminates the use of evasion either with a splash or from shadowdancer.