Thursday, April 2, 2015


With U25 comes changes to the rogue Enhancements (ENs); all (3) Prestige Enhancement (PrE) panels* are getting changes.  And as is always the case, some changes are better than others.  But I want to focus on one specific EN change - the new, tier 4 mechanic EN of "Fletching".

For those who do not know, a "fletcher" is someone who makes arrows**.  So the "fletching" EN allows the player to use any arrow (or bolt or thrown weapon/ammo)  and have a 50%/65%/80% chance of it returning.  It is, effectively, the mechanic's equivalent to the artificer's "Conjure Bolts" spell or the arcane archer's "Conjure Arrows" spell.  It is something I have personally been advocating and suggesting for some time, so I am glad to see it implemented.  However, there are some glaring differences and, IMO, shortfalls to "Fletching".

First:  "Conjure Bolts" is a first level spell and "Conjure Arrows" is a tier 1 EN; "Fletching" is a tier 4 EN.  So an artificer can start conjuring bolts - in stacks of 1,000, mind you - at level 1, rank 1, while an arcane archer will have to wait until reaching rank 4 of level 1 (when they have accumulated 3 APs; 1 AP to "unlock "AA", and 2 AP to select "Conjure Arrows").  But both can still use their respective spells while at level 1.  Rogues, on the other hand, must wait until they are level 4 AND have spent 20 AP in the mechanic PrE panel.  But since you only get 4 AP per level, you really have to be rank 4 of level 5 - which is only 1 rank shy of being level 6 - to be able to accumulate 20 AP.  But wait, there's more:  because you still need one more AP to be able to take "Fletching", the actual reality is that you must be rank 2 of level 6 to take the first increment of "Fletching", once you have accumulated 21 AP.

Second:  The arcane archer's conjured arrows are 100% returning***.  Meaning, you only need to conjure ONE stack (of 100) as soon as you log in, and you will NEVER run out of arrows (until you log out and they go *poof*).  Now, with enough House Deneith favor (it takes 150 favor to reach the second ranking), anyone can buy "sturdy" ammo (which is 75% returning).  And it's not that hard to get 150 House D favor (but you won't be able to on just the F2P quests, though - you will need at least one 'premium' content quest pack, and I would suggest "Sentinels of Stormreach") and all of the quests that you need to reach that mark are level 8 and lower.  So it is possible that by the time you have actually reached the point in leveling your character where you can finally take the first rank of the "Fletching" EN (with only 50% returning ammo), you can have accumulated enough House D favor to buy 75% returning ammo.

So - here we have a tier 4 EN that is in at least one way inferior to a tier 1 EN.

Yes, the "Conjure Arrows" EN only creates +1 arrows, while "Fletching" works with any† arrow/bolt/thrown ammo - what's your point?  The "pluses" of ammo are largely irrelevant; since the same "type" bonuses do not stack, and both weapons and ammo (typically) have "enhancement type" bonuses, the "bonus" you'll receive is the larger of the weapon (i.e. bow, crossbow, thrown item) or the ammo (which in the case of "thrown weapon" is the same as the, um, weapon).  In other words, if I have a +5 bow and shoot +1 arrows, my bonus is +5 (to hit and damage); while if I have a +1 bow and shoot +5 arrows, my bonus is still +5.

The downside of "Conjure Arrows" (and "Conjure Bolts") is that they will not go into quivers (which I wish they would - at least the bolts).  But with "Conjure Arrows", who cares?  The power in that EN is the fact that they are 100% returning (so you will NEVER run out of ammo, so there is no need for you to conjure more than one stack, so there is no need for them to go into quivers; conjured bolts, on the other hand...).  Additionally, the arcane archer has other arrow enhancements that work on the conjured arrows to make them more effective.

Which kind of begs the question:  assuming I have enough House D favor, why†† would I want to spend precious, limited AP on a tier 4 EN that for the first two stages is inferior to the House D sturdy ammo?  And the final stage is a mere 5% better?  For a tier 4 EN?

Personally, I think the progression should start at 75% and go up from there.  I also think the top stage should be 100% returning (i.e. 75%/85%/100%).  However, if you really think 100% is too high, fine - make it 95%.  And if you insist that it should still start at 50%, then make it 50%/75%/95%.  This would be far more "reasonable" given the easily available House D sturdy ammo (with 75% chance of returning) and the arcane archer's tier 1 EN (with 100% returning).


Yes, I'm still glad it is there - or will be "SOON™".  I just wish it were...a bit better than it is (or will be).  Heck, I'd even GLADLY pay 2 AP per stage to get that little bit extra.  It'd be worth it.  Because I have run out of ammo on ranged toons and when that happens, you're just out of luck.

* They are not "trees" so I refuse to call them "trees" (at least in this post, as I have called then "trees" before - hehehe).

** While "bolts" are technically not arrows, I believe the term would still apply to one who makes bolts, too.  But in the case of DDO, at any rate, the "Fletching" EN applies equally to arrows and bolts - as well as thrown ammo.

*** Granted, the artificer's conjured bolts are 0% returning, and they won't go into quivers (though I think they should), so each stack will take up room in your inventory.  But they are created in stacks of 1,000 and each stack only takes up one space (as opposed to the usual 100 limit, with other ammo, which is nice).  It'd be really cool if the conjured bolts were also 100% returning...but since they've now fixed the "conjure bolts" scroll, any character with a high enough UMD can just go buy the scrolls from the artificer scroll vendor in the House Cannith enclave, so I can see why they are not.  Still...

† I wonder if "Fletching" will work on the House D sturdy ammo...and if so, how?  If the sturdy ammo fails its initial returning roll, do you get a second roll for "Fletching", or does it somehow "stack", giving you an additional 50%/65%/80% chance on top of the base 75% chance?  It can't be a simple multiplication (can it?) because 1.5 x 0.75 = 1.125, which would be 112.5% chance of returning.  Hmmm...

†† The simple answer is "because it works on all ammo", and not just the limited types of "sturdy" ammo.  But is that reason enough?  Maybe.  Considering that there are several 'flavors' of sturdy ammo available (silver, byeshk, etc.), it may not be that compelling after all.  Of course, that is for each individual to decide for themselves.

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