Dungeons and Dragons Online Sentinels of Stormreach Epic Items Guide by sirgog
Most quests in this pack are of moderate difficulty, probably of comparable difficulty to Elite Shroud, except for two main differences ? players with low To-Hit will be far weaker in these quests than they are in Shroud, and several of these quests can be fairly punishing to groups with no trapsmithing capability (although not as brutal as trapsmith-free epic VON3, epic VON5 or epic Chains of Flame). In addition, The Tide Turns includes a quite significant DPS race (the final ogremage must be killed within a set time limit or he phases out and recovers full health), and of all quests with mandatory DPS minimums to complete, I believe this is one of the highest. This difficulty increase over Shroud makes it somewhat silly that there?s almost nothing in this pack that is even close to the power level of Shroud items.
Drop rates and number of runs to complete an item:
These items are all quite difficult to acquire, due to somewhat low drop rates on both shards and seals, and the lack of set seal drop locations. A guildie that was shooting for epic Jidz-Tetka bracers took around three weeks of daily runs of Sentinels quests to acquire them, and that was with everyone agreeing to pass him any eJT components that dropped. (In the run that he acquired the shard, two shards of it dropped, that?s probability for you)
I propose that the shards have their drop rates increased to 5-6% each (in The Tide Turns only), and each specific seal has a drop rate of 8-10% in one quest only (and possibly a 1-2% drop rate in each of the other quests).
Extreme niche items:
Several of the items in this pack are designed for extremely narrow niches and really perform poorly in any other situation. Two aim at the niche of AC tanks with dragonmarks, one to Intelligence-based Assassins with a decent Dex score (never seen one of these builds at level 20 personally), one to Cha-based Spellsingers and Warchanters that do not dump Strength, and one to AC monks.
These items would have been fine in the Red Fens (which has enough items to put some oddballs in), but in a pack with only eight items, there?s just too many of these items.
Some of these (particularly the AC dragonmark items and the Kukri) are aimed at builds that are likely piloted by fewer than ten Epic-capable players on each server.
Item by item review:
Epic Blademark?s Docent
This item is oriented to the melee that focuses on a balanced defense ? with both DR and quite high AC for a docent. However, at present, I don?t believe Warforged can acquire an endgame-relevant AC (85+) without making crippling sacrifices in other aspects of their build. (If you can link a WF build that, with buffs you can reasonably expect in a 6-person epic, not stars aligned buffs, can sustain 85+ AC, 620+ HP and at least 400 threat per second, I?ll reassess this).
As a result, all it offers most builds is 5 DR that stacks with basically no other DR sources, and 1.5 effective DR (Lifeshield) that stacks with everything. In this role it is outclassed by the Docent of Defiance, except in fights (eVelah) where mobility is critical, or on builds that can put its mediocre AC to good use.
This item could have potential if there is a major overhaul of AC coming. If this is a long way off, I?d suggest adding Superior False Life (40hp) or even Epic False Life (50hp), and I?d lean toward the latter. I?d still expect most melees to look elsewhere (probably to DPS increasing docents), but at least the item would have a place. With epic rednameds having around +89 to-hit (my testing of Angog the Champion in eVON1 indicates he is +89 or +90), AC overall needs an overhaul.
Epic Chimera?s Crown
This item is one of two in this pack aimed at AC threat tanks that have dragonmarks. I?ve not really seen any AC threat tank builds that are capable of burning feats on the Marks, and this is mainly due to the punishing HP requirements for tanking Horoth ? AC tanks generally need high HP, and so tend to invest any extra feats in Toughness rather than dragonmarks. Paladin defenders, of course, don?t even have that option.
Two slots go part of the way to redeeming this item, but I don?t know anyone that is actively seeking this out.
Add ?Dragonmarked Durability: For each Dragonmark feat the wearer possesses, this item grants +10hp. These stack with all other sources of hit points?
That might go some way to making at least a dragonmarked fighter defender a viable build, especially in conjunction with the next item.
Epic Chimera?s Fang
Again, this item has been clearly designed for AC threat tanks that have dragonmarks. As threat tanks are most important against raid bosses, and several of the more challenging raid bosses have two-component DRs (good and silver, or good and cold iron), this weapon needs some serious changes. At present its DPS is slightly behind a Supreme Tyrant Bastard Sword of Lightning (Holy, Shocking Burst, Insight +4), and quite a way behind the same weapon in Khopesh flavour.
I also don?t see any reason that this weapon thematically should have such a strong affinity to Lightning ? this weakens it tremendously against Demons. Granted there is no boss demon except the Demon of the Frenzied Deep that players typically use a tank strategy against (and that fight is enough of a DPS race that a 600hp melee DPS is superior to a defensively oriented tank there), but I?d rather the weapon be more future-proof.
I?m also not sure why Shatter +10 is on this weapon, and Maiming is a weak DPS attribute at the best of times, particularly on a 19-20/x2 weapon.
I?m going to suggest a total redesign of this weapon. Note that this weapon would likely become the ?premier? item of the pack, much as the epic Claw set is the ?premier? two items of the eFens.
Response to the fans of this weapon as it is: Dual-wielded by a capstone paladin, with silver augments, this weapon is only noticeably better than a Mineral 2 khopesh against one foe in game ? epic Turigulon ? mainly due to his 67 AC, which a dual Min 2 user may struggle to hit whereas the eCF is +6 and has Destruction. Against everything else, the Min 2 is either superior or not more than 2% behind an augmented epic weapon. Sword and board, it is worse than a Min 2 bastard sword with Heightened Awareness 4 as pure paladin defenders can?t blow two feats on Dragonmarks to get that effect, and so even though the eCF will do more damage, it won?t have an effect that is critical to the endgame tank.
There?s certainly niches where a Devil?s Ruin eCF is excellent, but those augments aren?t sustainable.
Augmented Base Damage: 3d12
Red Augment Slot
Heightened Awareness 4
Dragonmark Affinity: ?If the wielder has one or more Dragonmark feats, they can treat Bastard Swords as martial weapons for purposes of weapon proficiency.?
Epic Dragonmark Affinity: ?If the wielder has three or more Dragonmark feats, they can unlock the full power of this weapon. Such a user is automatically proficient with this weapon. In addition, in their hands the weapon gains Disintegration, a +10 enhancement bonus and a 50% Insight bonus to Fortification?
That would create a weapon with competitive DPS and significant overall utility. If a Dragonmarked threat tank can work, this item will be an amazing best-in-slot weapon to aspire towards attaining. For tanks without the Dragonmarks, it?s a viable alternative to a Mineral 2 khopesh. For melee DPSers that do not have have Dragonmarks, it?s a reasonable DPS weapon if they can stomach using a weapon with Incite 20%. To melee DPSers with Dragonmarks, it?s probably best-in-slot, if they can stomach the threat.
In addition, adding Keen to the weapon makes using it on a Paladin defender more of an option.
Epic Deneith Heavy Chain
See the comments above about the Blademark?s Docent, however, this item is worse as it competes with many more items, and most classes that can wear medium armor have class-based DR that surpasses the DR 5. At present, I can only see this being worn by a Paladin or Cleric, both of whom have better options for the torso slot.
To mirror the Blademark?s Docent, I?d just add Superior or Epic False Life. The item still won?t be best in slot for anyone, but it will at least be a useful stepping stone to something better.
Epic Elyd Edge
Clearly intended as a weapon for a Cha-based Spellsinger that didn?t dump Strength, this item has an ultra-narrow niche. For that niche, it looks impressive, but it doesn?t do enough damage (due to a lack of DPS increasing mutations) to warrant swinging it around much. Such a Bard probably doesn?t have feats to invest in two-weapon fighting, and so is likely to eschew this weapon in favor of a +2 Holy Silver Falchion of Improved Destruction (or similar), using the Improved Destruction to offset their poor To-Hit.
Not really sure what to do with this one. Currently this weapon is ?jack of all trades, master of none?. It needs more DPS to be worth ever using as a weapon ? perhaps making its damage be also Charisma based and upping the enhancement bonus to +8 would be an option.
Clear best-in-slot for Monk builds that care about AC and that can put one or more of the stance benefits to use. Epic-capable monks that care about AC are very rare at current endgame, but they do exist. I?m happy with this item as is.
If ~75-80 AC becomes relevant in future endgame content, expect this item to be highly sought after. At the moment, it?s too small an upgrade over the base JT bracers for most monks to bother.
Several suggestions have been made for possible improvements to this item to make it the ?ultimate? set of bracers for every Monk ? one I particularly liked was to add +2 Exceptional stat to each of the stance boosts ? +2 exceptional Str to Fire Stance, +2 excep Con to Earth, and so on. The item has a niche without this change, but this would certainly make it ?the item? for most monks to have in their bracers slot.?
Epic Midnight?s Greetings
This weapon is currently awful. Base damage and crit profile roughly match a Greensteel Rapier blank, and the only other DPS enhancing mutation is Disintegration, which is solid but unspectacular (~9 damage per hit).
The bizzare ?Dex to hit, Int to damage? means this weapon will only work for a character that levels to 20 as a conventional Assassin build, then upon acquiring two of these LRs into a max-Int, high-Dex finesse build. This oddball build will then be terribly hampered when they encounter a foe with a two-component DR that they can?t break with any Int-based weapon.
Edit to note that this weapon does have its fans at the moment. I don?t believe it is easy to code a change of ?This weapon uses the higher of Dex and Int to determine damage?; so perhaps a good compromise would be to make it Dex based for both attack and damage, and add some version of the following:
Cunning Strike: When wielded by a character with an Intelligence score of 30 or higher, this weapon deals an additional 3d6 damage on a successful hit. (This damage remains 3d6 on a critical).
Replace Int to Damage with Dex to Damage (or to appease the weapon?s current fans, replace it if possible with ?The greater of Int or Dex is used to determine damage?. Max-Dex, high Str, medium Int assassins are much more viable than max-Int, high Dex, medium Str ones in the rest of the game, and can function well (using different weapons) against two-component DR bosses.
Add ?Greater Shadow Strike: On a Vorpal strike that is successfully confirmed and that also counts as a sneak attack, this weapon deals an additional 200 damage. Weak or severely injured opponents (
That would make a weapon monsters would be terrified to find in their back. +10 average damage per sneak attack is enough of a bonus to make this weapon mediocre; an improved Vorpal effect (when you don?t have aggro) is enough to make it epic.
Epic Winter?s Wrath
Acceptable as a stat-stick, mainly for the +5% Polar Ray damage, although far from being powerful. To even bother using it as a wand, the Oitiluke?s charges would need to be Maximized and have an endgame-relevant DC, or alternately if it is to remain non-maximized, the wand would need actually unlimited charges and a short cooldown.
This pack has only eight Epic items, compared to other packs of comparable size (Red Fens, Carnival) that have around twenty each. In addition, each individual item from this pack is quite a bit more difficult to obtain than any individual Fens or Carnival item.
Personally I feel there should be more items in this pack ? perhaps each quest could have a slim chance to drop one or two quest-specific pre-made Epic items, probably of a lower power level than the (improved) scroll/seal/shard items.
If you go this way, I?d make the drop rate 0.25-0.75% (so they are ultra rare), but have them be binds-on-equip. Pulling ultra-valuable tradeable loot from the end chest of a tough quest is exciting, and has really been missing from DDO since the level cap increased to 16. The closest we have now is Epic scrolls and Flawless Red Scales, and the latter is the main currency for scroll trades.
If you want to keep epic items more exclusive, you could give these binds-on-equip items a ?taint? (like the Greensteel accessory one) that makes them un-equippable until they are ?cleansed? in the Epic Ritual Altar at a cost of five epic dungeon tokens ? this act of cleansing would then bind the item.
All of these could safely be minimum level 18 or even 16.
Some possible ideas (no slots on any of these):
Epic Tyrantbane Wraps: Handwraps, +7, silver-threaded, destruction (Not the highest DPS wraps in the world, but great for Monks to use on Turigulon where most Monks just don?t have good options at the moment)
Epic Ring of Balance: Ring, Archmagi, Concordant Opposition
Epic Flameproof Helm: Helmet, Superior Fire Resistance, Exceptional Fire Resist 5 (as Shroud items), Exceptional Fire Resist 10
Epic Blade of the Ancestors: Longsword, +6, Augmented critical: 19-20/x3, Augmented Base Damage: 3d6, Cold Iron, True Law, Pure Good, Alignment required: Lawful Good (UMD 35 bypass).
Epic Boots of Alacrity: Striding 30%, Clicky ? Haste 3/rest (caster level 20)
Epic Gloves of Accuracy: Dex +6, To-Hit Competence Bonus +4, Seeker +4
All of those would be useful to some builds (although probably not best in slot for any, except for situational use). And most of them would likely be sought after, and very exciting to pull out of a chest.