Sharpening The Ax: Q&A With DC - Gear, Stats, Rotations, Planars Fragments...
It is easy to get into a rut on a game your are comfortable with. You go to the places you always go, you do the things you always like to do...and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you aren't progressing because you are not confident in your build, your dps, your rotation, your gear, instance/dungeon/raid mechanics or generally don't want to make a fool of yourself...don't feel alone. The biggest debuff in this game, or in life for that matter, is fear of failure. Couple that in a high troll density environment like a pug and most of us would rather bang our head on the wall than have that kind of stress in our life. There are really only a few ways to break that cycle: Suffer through or get help. I personally prefer the latter.
Today DC aka Fiveofseven, aka DeeCee aka DiabloCanine made himself available in game and in Discord for guidance, Q&A and some coaching at the DPS dummies for all.
There was a strong focus on Cleric specific soul selection, damage and tank techniques and gear, however all Guild members benefited from the extended discussion especially related to:
1. Planar Fragements: The game is currently designed to be playable up to the highest level raids like Irotp with Planar Fragments at level 6. So having higher level fragments can improve dps, survivabiilty and healing and make playing easier but not absolutely required to be 'maxed out'. The problem with Planar Fragments, is they are hard to evaluate, expensive to level up, can be frustrating when you level them and in the back of your mind...the Planar Fragment system may be amended in the near future.
Evaluating: The link below is to a Planar Fragment chart that shows Best-Better-Good, the profession and the element/slot that the planar represents. This is a powerful piece of information that saves you a ton of theory crafting, trial and error, plat and cosmic cores. It provides a guide so that when you inspect your own fragments or you are looking at fragments in your fragment inventory YOU KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR to keep, swap and upgrade.
A simple example for Mage, if I open my fragment bar on my character screen, I can look at the first one on the top, which is a death flavored fragment. If I have Crit Power as the primary stat on it...there is no need to look for a better fragment, Crit Power is the best one for that slot and I can start to level that one up! (Because the chart says so :) If I already have a fragment in that slot, such as a Spell Critical, then from looking at the chart I know, well it's not best in slot but at least it is still good but I may not want to level that ALL THE WAY UP!
How far to level up a planar fragment? The process of leveling cost a lot of planarite, cores and eventually plat and you don't want to throw good resources after bad. So if the planar fragment is not Best-Better-Good (BBG), don't level it, wait for a BBG planar fragment to drop (these drop commonly from Planar Invasion Instant Adventures for one).
So I've found a BBG planar and I start to spend the planarite intially to level it up, well at level 3, 6, 9 and 12 another stat is added 2nd, 3rd, 4th and lastly the 5th stat. For all intents and purposes, this is a RNG (Random Number Generator) and all sorts of results can pop up as stats (Some make no sense!), even things that are completely useless. For example if you are a mage you might have started with a great one with Intelligence, our primary stat! And then at level 3 you get say Spell Critical + (not bad) then at level 6 BAM you get Crit Power (awesome) but then at level 9 you "Infuse" the fragment (that's the actual term for levelling these up) and blam you get Block+15. For a dps mage and dps planar fragment set, that was a CRITICAL FAIL. The item is far from useless but if you are trying to MIN/MAX (in this case minimize blowing resources and maximize having fun) then you may want to stop investing into the infuses for this Planar Fragment, keep an eye out for the Best option available from the BBG Planar Fragment chart and replace it with BBG one then start the leveling process again.
The benefits of the Rarity (Green, Blue, Purple, Orange etc) is that you don't have to guess what stats will appear when you level up the Fragment through Infuses. This eliminates the chance of a "Surprise" stat showing up after you have invested in the fragment!
Scaling, keep in mind that infusing a planar fragment from 12 to 15 (the max) takes more resources that leveling it to level 12 numerous times. So there are diminishing returns, think of level 12 as a "Soft Cap" and 15 as a "Hard Cap". Keep in mind that the game is designed right now for you to only need level 6 planar fragments of reasonable BBG, anything beyond that is part of your own play experience but hopefully this will help you "min/max".
Also on Planar Fragments, you have an Eternal Weapons quest upgrade that requires 1000 Cores, you get Cores when you recycle useless Planar Fragments in your inventory, you may want to hold onto these and not worry about leveling up your Fragments (you use cores as part of Infusing Fragments) until after you are done with the phase of the Eternal weapons quest that requires you to have these 1000 cores, also you can transfer those cores so that another character on the same account can use them for the same purpose.
2. General Development: DC is and has been very welcoming of bringing first timers through the Prohphecy of Ahnket Experts (People often refer to them as SPE's because originally the expansion was called Starfall Prophecy (Expert) but had to change names due to trademark issues) to gear up and learn. Trying to jump straight from questing, leveling etc straight to a 10 man raid can be very discouraging and this is a way to get the gear and techniques you might need now to move forward later. If you are interested in running don't be afraid to ask or to get one together yourself.
3. Wednesday/Thursday Progression: DC has posted up an Event for Wednesday night at 6pm server time that initially is set for a TD progression, but as the description says, we can't spend hours doing something we are not geared or prepared for. It's very possible that time may be spent taking a step back by running instances/ guild gearing if TD is problematic, maybe. Think of it as a 'transitional TD time' for those who aren't ready to 'farm td' but need to progress to the instance.
4. Int/Wisdom/Spell Power/Spell Crit and Critical Power: It's beyond my expertise to quote each ratio for each of these stats for each spec but DC drove home a 'critical' point. Spell Power and Spell Critical scale up as Intelligence and Wisdom scale up BUT Crit Power does not, it is like HIT in that it only comes from gear that directly have Crit Power. Look for it when you are deciding if a piece of gear is an upgrade or not.
What does Crit Power even do vs Spell Critical: Spell Critical indicates how OFTEN you will crit example 20% of the time, Crit Power determines how much more damage your crits will do 40% more damage when you crit (just example numbers).
Tl;Dr: Crit Power is your friend up until Soft Cap, so pick gear with Crit Power until you hit that soft cap (soft cap means you reach a point of rapidly diminishing returns and it's better to upgrade other stats).
Crit Soft Cap (as well as I can determine!) is 40%.
5. Fast Rifting and Fast Invasions: It would require individual guides or better still coming to the play areas to actually witness and understand the methods, there are very fast and simple ways that you can close Rifts very quickly and to kill Invasions very quickly using very specific areas and tactics. This lets you finish some of your weapon and armor upgrade requirements muchs faster.
Let people know in Guild chat or Discord that you are on a section of an upgrade quest that requires those so that we can organize a group to do those. In a nut shell their are special onslaughish areas in Plane Touched Wilds that will allow you to kill massive invasions getting your 1000 invasions in one sitting if you are patient and the group holds. The trick is you need to do the machinery in order, Infuse the cannons and life springs all the way up, then the center channel or it will be a mess.
Rifts can be closed very quickly in certain areas by killing the first stage, moving to another rift in the area or teleporting to another shard, tagging another phase 1, then another, then another then going back through and closing them or you will get credit even if someone else closes them and you are on another shard! The best area for this is in the ember isle coastal area in the underwater area due to proximity and respawn rate of the rifts.
6. The BIS essences are generally gotten from either closing major rifts or from The Queen Foci (TQF) instance (10 man usually a pug). This instance also grants Fortress Tokens which can be used to buy a raid level Seal for your character. Seals may also drop as part of loot but I'm not clear on that yet. This instance is only hard when you first start, and the only real challenge is jumping over red fire bands on the ground into a safe spot in the corner, then jumping out of that corner as soon as the rest of the play field turns green again. This repeats a couple of times with different corners. This can be farmed but only so many times. You can summon someone back into the instance if they are locked out due to having done it too many times.
7. I am not currently a tank nor a Cleric and much of the training with the Cleric was very specific to their rotations and builds. I was also driving and listening to a good bit of this so I could take notes and it was fast and heavy :) But here are some interesting bullet points that I was able to take away from that part of the discussion:
-Cleric Tank Aggro is based on Hit points, so 525K hp when buffed up means that mobs want to kill you naturally even without taunting. Cleric tanks also generate aggro from healing and dps of course.
-When evaluating gear stats for a Cleric Tank Block is easier to get to soft cap so don't over gear on Block heavy gear. Block is the mitigation of damage, so for example Block at 51.9% reduces damage by 31%. Then armor mitigates damage with an additional reduction.
-Guard: Your minimum goal for Guard is 10% with 10.86% in Guard you will have no problem tanking Irotp from a Guard standpoint.
-Dodge: Dodge increases your damage absorb as well, Cleric Dodge is based on Intelligence Stat for example 14.71% Dodge increases damage abosorb by 12k. As dodge goes up absorb goes up.
Spell Crit 45%
Crit Power 40%