Sep 042014

Harper Commando
Mawry Haversack, Harper Commando?

Among the (many) other system changes we are getting in Update 23, there is also an all-new, VIP-or-DDOStore-bought-only enhancement tree that any class can use called “Harper Agent“.

It seems to be controversial, for several reasons.

  • Cash-only? Much as I like a new VIP perk, people wonder about F2P, P2W, and all those other three-letter acronyms (TLAs) that refer to the ability to play DDO for free (or not)
  • Available to all classes? After we’ve been told that racial enhancement trees were too hard because they’d be available to all classes?
  • A new, completely unasked-for enhancement tree? Meanwhile there are five classes that still only have two trees from which to choose although we were promised there would be three per class

Some of these concerns were immediately raised on the forums (here, and here).

Me personally? I don’t know, I try to avoid getting my bloomers in a bind over the whole F2P/P2P/P2W discussion because (1) I am a VIP and am already paying to play and (2) one can earn theoretically infinite Turbine Points and still “buy” all these expensive things for free. [Edit] As pointed out below by Cordovan, it will also be eventually possible to earn this tree via Harper faction favor.

I also try to avoid the whole developer priority discussion too. Should this have been the next enhancement tree? Rather than Vanguard? Or whatever it is that Artificers/Druids/Favored Souls/Fighters are supposed to get as their third tree? I don’t know how I can really make that judgement. I’d have to be on Turbine’s project management team to know enough to have an informed opinion. Sometimes I see the dev team make choices that are totally eyebrow raising in their unexpectedness but this is not one of those times.

It’s not the end of days, it’s just a tree of enhancements. Speaking of which, maybe we should look at the tree itself. I’m not going to cut and paste the whole thing, you can see it all here. But there are some obvious highlights:

  • Meleers can get 24 melee power, 20% healing amplification, 15 hit points, and a stacking +4 to their weapon enhancement (+7 versus evil)
  • Ranged users can get all of that too except in the form of ranged power
  • Trapsmiths can get +6 to their Spot and Search and +3 to all other skills
  • Even specialists like Hagglebots can earn that extra +3
  • Casters can get 50 universal spell power, +3 spellcraft, 120 mana points, +1 to all DCs, and two feats that will no longer require a feat slot (Extend and Eschew Material)

I think casters have it the best, and especially Sorcerors, as they are feat-starved and here are two luxury feats for (practically) free that they could probably never afford on their own.

But regardless, nearly every type of character is going to need to spend some AP in this tree. Maybe every type. I cannot think of a character that wouldn’t get a decent boost out of this tree. Oh wait – healers. Except no one wants to play healers anymore so that’s hardly a drawback.

I think the long-term effect will be to encourage character specialization. Getting some of these abilities will cost significant AP. At the cost of other, less specialized bonuses that may be available to the character in other trees.

Min/Max people are gonna love this.

Me? I like building characters, and I like to have choices. This is another set of character building choices.

Hard to see anything bad in that. Bring on the Harper Agents!

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  13 Responses to “Update 23 Preview – Harper Agent Enhancement Tree”

Comments (13)
  1. Just wanted to mention two things: 1. The Harper tree is expected to also be able to be unlocked through favor, although that will not be ready for the release of Update 23. 2. Vanguard is coming in Update 23, and will be available hopefully later this week to look at on Lamannia.

    Also, on Harper: Int to damage. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the write up!


    • Oops I meant to mention the INT to attack bonus and INT to damage. I think a Wizard Eldritch Knight Harper Agent could probably be a very effective build. Especially if Single-Weapon-Fighting. Very effective.

  2. all us rogue-assassin lovers are very excited about this tree. Plus, it single-handedly buffs pure builds.
    It should be bought, or favor-earned, and available to VIPs, I don’t see the issue.

  3. Yeah, I see this as adding more diversity and build options…that is a good thing :).

  4. Interesting…

  5. I think the tree looks interesting… sure there’s some nice stuff & depending on AP costs for certain abilities i’ll look into it, but especially for a guy like me who likes multiclassing, I honestly doubt i’ll be getting much use out of it, there simply isn’t much i’d be willing to give up from abilities i already have on characters that i’d be willing to give up.

  6. Ignoring the meta-magicking things, there are a lot of double ups with other classes/prestiges; If anything this will just make all classes more equal, as if your class doesn’t get something, just Harper it.
    (I may be over simplifying that.)

    Perhaps this is the intended direction for the pay-to-prestiges. Maybe more specialised trees are needed: I’m sure those that aren’t divine could benefit from the Silver Flame Acolyte tree; Deneith Mercenary for those that need more slicing and dicing; or perhaps the Jorasco Companion tree for those that just aren’t halfling enough already? Hehehe πŸ˜‰

    Since this is expected to be a favour unlock, perhaps all patrons will end up with something like this … very interesting.

    (The views of Bob don’t necessarily reflect Bob’s views, nor reality.)

    • Could be a benefit for hitting the top level of favour for different patrons – don’t make them full class trees but more like the racial trees, with just a handful of enhancements along a theme… PDK would be kind of paladin/fighter, member of the twelve would have a bunch of magical-related stuff, etc…could make for some interesting extra capabilities & would bypass a lot of the whole P2W thing if it was on a per-character basis when you hit that favour level, making it a genuine reward.

  7. The Extend Spell is on Tier 5, meaning that the only way to get it is to forgo Tier 5 in all your other trees. Will Sorcerers really want to make this their main tree, even to get free Extend?

What do you think?

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