Monday, September 8, 2014

The Heart Rejoices; The Heart Grieves

From the Lamannia release notes:

"Crystal Cove:  Euphonia's Barter Box now has recipes to exchange one type of Doubloon for another. The exchange is SEVEN to one in any direction." (Emphasis added.)

The heart rejoices!  Granted, the exchange rate is more than 2x other, similar exchange rates are (look around - most exchange rates are 3:1), but finally!  We have a doubloon exchange system!  I have on more than one occasion stated that this is sorely needed.  Now, I can finally exchange my (up to this point) ever-increasing piles of gold doubloons.  Huzzah!


All is not peaches and cream in the world of DDO.  While I will admit to not testing anything on Lamannia recently, it seems to me that the newly touted "Vanguard Tree" for both fighters and paladins (are there any other EN trees that are identical for more than one class?) is quite disappointing.  Let it be known that I think that adding the "vanguard tree" for paladins is perfectly fine.  The problem, as I see it, is adding it for fighters.  It is my opinion that, once again, fighters are getting the shaft.

Consider:  if you read the notes on the vanguard "tree", it is a "shield-centric" 'tree'.  Didn't fighters already have a shield-centric "tree"?  Isn't that what "stalwart defender" (currently) is?

Yes.  Yes it is.  So what do they do?  they remove the "shield" requirements from most of the stalwart defender "tree" ENs - not all, but most.  Now, granted, I think the changes coming to "stalwart defender" (SD) are good - it makes it a much more palatable choice for those of us who create fighters that (still) don't 'specialize' (kensei) nor are 'sword & board' (S&B) players.  I can see spending quite a few of my limited, hard-earned AP in the newly revised SD "tree".

But we STILL don't have anything for "two weapon fighting" (TWF), "two handed fighting" (THF), or ranged fighter builds.  I suppose one could argue that if one is to build a TWF toon they should go ranger.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  BUT - as I have repeatedly maintained - fighters are (arguably) *the* most versatile class.  And yet, they seem to be pigeonholed into being either a "specialist" (i.e. uses only one type of weapon, such as a war hammer, to the exclusion of "all" other weapons [aka "kensei"]) or a "sword & board"-er.  Not to mention the overwhelming "coercion" (for lack of a better word) for using tactics and/or [action] boosts.

Where are the hit/damage bonus ENs?  Mostly in "kensei", and most are only available to your weapon "focus" (i.e. 'specialization') group.  The two exceptions are "critical accuracy" and "critical damage"; however, these are tier 3 and tier 4 ENs, requiring you to spend 10/20 AP (respectively) "in the (kensei) tree".  But if you don't want to choose a 'specialization', how can you get them?  You can't.  You must spend at least 1 AP to "unlock" kensei, which requires you to choose a single weapon type to "focus" in.

(BTW - why, oh WHY do we "need" to have a specialized weapon group of "druidic weapons"????  "Kensei" seems to be a "fighter" class enhancement "tree" that was specifically made for use with classes OTHER than fighter (specifically, druids and monks).   Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but I have to wonder:  are there any other enhancement "trees" specifically made for use with other classes?  But I digress...)

Unfortunately, they had to put that mechanic in for technical reasons (or so we're told).  But on top of that, you have to spend even more AP in that "tree" to make the more generalized ENs available.

Of course, there is (what should be) a simple solution to that problem - remove the "AP spent in tree" requirements for all of the 'general' ENs that are only located in the "trees" they are in because they had to go somewhere and there isn't a 'general enhancement' "tree" to put them in.

Which, let's face it, would be a good chunk of the ENs.  Go ahead and keep "total AP spent" limits, if you must.  But even that mechanic can require one to spend AP in ENs that they don't want, need, or would use, just to get the ones they do.  Which is (in my opinion) stupid.  I should be able to choose the ENs I want, without making me take ENs I don't just to "unlock" them.

There are some exceptions, of course.  But that's just it - they should be the exception and not the rule.  (Ah, well.  No one ever listens to Zathras.)

And so the heart grieves.

Still, seeing as this is not surprising, I will choose to focus on the good - WE (WILL) HAVE A DOUBLOON EXCHANGE SYSTEM!!



  1. Kensei was originally a fighter-like class in Oriental Adventures (where there was no "Fighter" per se) and then became is a fighter prestige class in later versions of D&D.

    Weapon Specialization has always been a Fighter thing too, even before Kensei, going all the way back to 1st edition AD&D.

    Where DDO fails fighters is the paucity of feats. That is the fighter's best part: lots and lots of feats. There just aren't nearly as many available in DDO.

  2. Yep, I know about 1st ed. weapon specialization - my first character in PnP was a 1st ed. fighter who double-specialized in the short sword.

    I have nothing against specialization, use of tactics and boosts, nor with the kensei and stalwart defender "trees", per se. My main issues are with 1) that thrice-... um... darned "spent in tree" mechanic on ALL ENs (in a given "tree", even the ones that are more 'general' to a given class) and 2) the "lack of acknowledgement" (for lack of a better phrase) that there are fighter builds out there that a) don't want to specialize, b) don't want to be a "sword & board"-er, and c) don't like using tactics or boosts (I personally hate using a bunch of clickies - maybe if I ever get around to picking up a 20-button MMO mouse, I might change my mind...).

    Yes, I want the option to use tactics/boosts. Yes, I want the option to specialize (and I do plan on building one...some day...maybe). Yes, I want the option to be a good S&B-er. But I also want the option to NOT do any of those things and still get some good fighter ENs that will help me with my TWF, THF, and/or range build (though I will admit that if you are going to build a range fighter, you more than likely would want to go kensei with a ranged focus). As it currently stands, the only way I can get the critical accuracy and critical damage ENs - which in my opinion are 'general' fighter ENs, not 'kensei'-specifc ENs (as for one thing that are not tied to 'weapon focus' groups) is if I 'specialize' (and spend 20/30 AP in that specialization "tree").

    As I stated, the coming changes of dropping the shield requirements for most of the stalwart defender ENs are a good thing. But I don't think that replacing the former shield-centric SD with another, shield-centric "tree", which is identical to the one being given to paladins, is that great. Other than Eldritch Knight (Wiz/Soc - which I think does make some sense, BTW), I don't think there is another "tree" that is identical to another class' "tree" (the only difference between SEK and WEK is some icons and the stat multi-selector choice of INT [WEK] or CHA [SEK]).

    Getting rid of the "spent in tree" mechanic on all but the actual PrE ENs in said "tree" would help tremendously, but that would require re-tweaking the "spent in tree" values on just about every EN, so I have no illusions that it will happen (but I can dream [and keep advocating for it], can't I?).

    Maybe, just maybe, fighters deserve to have a 4th PrE because of the plethora of potential build options.

    ...but I'm not holding my breath for *that* either.