A little over a year ago, I re-worked my monk Oriental Adventures from being a Kung Fu Caster into a new build that I called Fastest Fists in the West. The point of the new build was to see just how many punches per second (PPS) I could generate.
But then came all of the swashbuckling and melee power and PRR game changes and a monk felt … old-fashioned? Bards could suddenly hit so fast that the whole point of the original experiment seemed a bit whimsical. Or should I say, even more whimsical than it had been already.
And so Oriental faded from my top three character list. Still getting played, but not all that often, certainly not enough to level through the Heroics and back into Epics.
But recently I’ve needed a character at a certain level range in order to accompany my lovely Gamer Girl on some of her goals, and lo and behold, there lurked Oriental! And so once again fists were a-flying, and the experiment to see how many PPS I could generate continues.
Except … there is a problem. Not with the PPS, that is going swimmingly well. So well that I think Oriental may be actually causing lag sometimes. When I toggle on the Doublestrike action boost his Doublestrike approaches 70%. With Perfect Two Weapon Fighting that means every single punch is really three, or most often, four punches, usually thrown at max possible melee alacrity, and the damage numbers fill my screen like a mushroom cloud over Bikini Atoll.
So the PPS is not the problem. The lag is a bit of an issue but I am not yet certain that Oriental is actually generating it (although I suspect so). So, not PPS, and not lag. No, the problem is survivability. Something that monks may no longer possess.
Oriental takes so much damage, so fast, that he sometimes spends more time dead than alive. He dies so often that it sucks the fun out of everything. Bear in mind that this is coming from the same guy who plays Coin Serf, the Hagglebot with Benefits, a.k.a. “The most dead character at level 28”. I am no stranger to dying in quests.
But this is different. Oriental isn’t like Coin. Oriental isn’t supposed to die all the time. Oriental is supposed to be a viable melee character. A viable melee character ought to be able to single up with any trash monster and win the battle. But Oriental has lost that capability. If Oriental gets agro, it is game over, soulstone approaching.
Clearly this is not right. Is it the play style? Or is it something about Oriental specifically? In order to eliminate the latter, I and my Gamer Girl have embarked on a quest to upgrade Oriental’s gear.
Casting about, we chose the Orchard, because the named loot available there is quite outstanding, each quest drops at least one item that Oriental would use, and you get a guaranteed rare drop item every time you complete the four-quest story arc. The Orchard loot is seriously good stuff, and considering how good it is, it drops quite frequently.
And so, for the last two or three weeks, if we don’t have something else specific to do we are off to the Orchard. It is not that difficult to complete all four quests in a single session; four chances for rare drop loot plus one random-but-guaranteed drop at the end.
Pretty fruitful. Quite efficient. But driving me crazy. Because my normally bad loot luck has morphed into some sort of weird attract-all-the-wrong items-loot luck. The named items are falling for me like rain, but just not the ones I want.
This is a good problem to have, right? All kinds of awesome named loot? Except no. It is insane. And it only gets weirder when we bring other people with us; they inevitably pull whatever it is I am seeking, immediately. My friend Craig has pulled the Epic Belt of Thoughtful Remembrance, twice! Twice! But me, I cannot get a sniff.
Here, proof. This image does not include all of the named Orchard loot that has already been given to other of my characters. Nor does it include all of the items that I didn’t even take, instead offering to others in my party.
This pile of awesome loot is the stuff that I don’t even know what to do with. Yet. Some of it will still find a home on my other characters. But regardless, note how little of it is of any use to Oriental whatsoever. And the whole reason I am in the Orchard is to kit Oriental.
See? Weird loot luck. Lots and lots of excellent loot. Almost nothing of use to Oriental. Although I may have to work on my Bard Rancyd; he’s going to be kitted to the gills if I can ever get him up to cap.
But there is the one thing, and if I could only get one, Epic Minos Legens is probably the one to get. No way I am ever going to see Mythic Minos Legens, but I am cool with that. Epic is nearly as good, certainly good enough, and really it doesn’t matter how I feel. I will never pull Mythic Minos Legens, not if I run the quest every day between now and the inevitable entropic death of our universe.
And I’ve been improving Oriental with other stuff here and there, stuff that is easier to get (like the Guardian’s Girdle) and the occasional yet very rare bit of actual loot luck (like the Shadowsight goggles). And he is dying a little less.
But only a little. And we are playing mostly the same quests over and over, so the lack of dying could well be purely due to familiarity with the opponent.
Are monks viable? I still have my doubts.
Do I have the strangest loot luck ever? Yes, there is no doubt about that.
🙂 😀 🙂