Dungeons and Dragons Online The Carnival Epic Items Guide
Dungeons and Dragons Online The Carnival Epic Items Guide by sirgog
For each item, I’ll post facts comparing it to other items it might compete with (e.g. “Kronzek’s Cruelty has lower DPS than Shroud-crafted alternatives like a Lit 2 Khopesh”), and also opinions (in italics) about any changes I’d suggest or whether any are needed.
Firstly, the Phiarlan Carnival pack. Most quests in this pack are among the easiest epics in the game, and aren’t really much harder than Normal difficulty Shroud, except for two main differences – players with low To-Hit and/or low saves will be far weaker in these quests than they are in Shroud. That said, Shroud is easier, which makes it a little silly that there’s almost nothing in this pack that is even close to the power level of Shroud items.
Edit: Why the Carnival first? The pack has no truly impressive items. Every other pack (except the Sentinels pack, which was #2 to be looked at) has at least one or two items that are widely considered best-in-slot for a range of builds, or at least close to it. The Desert has Epic Marilith Chain, Epic Spellstoring Ring, Epic Staff of Inner Sight, Epic Bloodstone and Epic Chaosblade (among others; although this pack has major droprate issues); the VONs have the Epic Red Scale Armors and the best weapon in the game, and the Fens have the Epic Claw set and some niche items. The Carnival and Sentinels packs have no widely sought after items, and none of the Carnival content would be played much if eBigTop wasn’t the best epic token/hour quest in the game except for eVON6.
I’d rather the Devs look at the packs most in need of help, get them right, then go back to the ones that people already have a real incentive to run on Epic.
Item by item review:
Epic Antique Greataxe
Unaugmented, this item is terrible – roughly equal to a Tier 2 Shroud item in damage output, albeit with an extra +1 to-hit. With a Red Augment Crystal of Heaven’s Light (or alternately an Aligned Planes crystal), this item is basically a weaker copy of a Mineral 2 greataxe. Consider this comparison, and remember that these weapons are both mostly used against evil foes:
eAG vs. Min 2
To-Hit: Advantage eAG. However, if the Min 2 user uses no other weapons, they might elect to swap out Improved Critical for Weapon Focus, making this a tie.
Crit profile: Advantage Min2 (the eAG user must use a feat on Improved Critical to catch up; more than likely, however, they will take this feat anyway).
Base damage: 19 vs 15.5 (advantage eAG, 3.5 damage on hit, 10.5 crit)
Alignment damage: 0 vs 7 (advantage Min2, 7 on hit, 7 on crit)
Burst damage: Equal (Acid Burst vs Force Burst)
Blast damage: Advantage Min2, 0 on hit, 11 on crit, 14 more on 20 (average: 18 per crit)
Slicing: Advantage Min2, 2.5 per hit or crit
Duarbility: Advantage Min2 (seldom important, but is a nice convenience).
DR breaking capability: Both bypass three of the four main DRs at endgame: Good, Silver/Good and ColdIron/Good, but not blunt. As for rarer DRs, eAG with Aligned Planes gets most of them (eVON3 Marut, Thrakk Hounds), but that augment isn’t really sustainable. Advantage Min2, as it gets ColdIron/Evil as well (currently not an important DR except for one quest, but may be in future).
Overall: Since the removal of Acid resistance from about half the endgame DR bosses, the Min2 is now 6 damage per non-crit hit and 17 damage per crit ahead of the eAG against those ones, and ahead by a smaller amount against the other 50% of DR bosses. And remember that this is a comparison to a Min2 greataxe – most players would craft a Min2 falchion instead, which is a better weapon than the greataxe.
Upgrade base damage to 3d12 and add inherent Good DR bypass. This adds 6.5 damage per non-crit hit and 19.5 per crit, leaving the weapon a smidgen better overall than a Mineral 2 for characters with Improved Critical.
This allows players to use the weapon against high DR bosses (such as Horoth or Turigulon) immediately upon having the seal, scroll, shard and base item, without needing to burn 30 dungeon tokens (which take about as much effort to acquire as the entire Min 2 greataxe). Then, if the eAG becomes a key part of a player’s arsenal, they can invest tokens to upgrade it to +7, which would actually make it a noticeable upgrade from the Mineral 2 weapon they were able to use at level 12.
I notice Genasi’s comments of considering adding Righteousness (perhaps with a 3d10 base damage) – that would be an interesting change that really ups the To-Hit of this weapon against evil foes. If you go that way, the eAG will become the Turigulon beater of choice for most players, and it may even dethrone the (non-DR breaking) eSOS as the best weapon for eLailat.
Epic Big Top
This item servesa very specific niche purpose (boosting UMD to the magic 39 mark). It’s best-in-the-helm-slot for that purpose, and so needs no changes. The clicky is unique, powerful and quite fun.
Epic Brawn’s Spirits
This item also serves a very specific niche purpose and is a clear best-in-slot for that purpose, and so needs no changes. Few players want it, but for those that do, it’s an excellent item indeed if it pushes their Intimidate up to the magical 79 mark.
Edit: Completely forgot the eClaw gloves provide an Intim bonus, I’ve always thought of them as 6 Str, 30 Healing Amp and a set bonus. This item probably does need more; maybe Incite 10% (which is the most difficult Incite bonus to slot anywhere else, as it is currently (IIRC) only available on the bottom tier of Dragontouched armor, and most toons with Intimidate want to wear Red Scale armor or something else; even if they elect to wear DT it competes with +5 to saves)
Epic Brimstone Verge
Eternal wands need to do a lot of damage to be even remotely worth carrying. Players don’t often use Shroud damage-spell clickies on items they may already carry, and those clickies are better than this wand is. This wand does of course have twinking uses, but is still pretty bad.
Replace the wand spell with Maximized Meteor Swarm. 320 damage per shot, 80 being no-save. It will still be weak, but at least it will be fun to use and unique. Maybe minimum level 16 would suit it then.
Epic Full Plate of the Ringleader
This armor has equal second best AC potential, the very powerful (if buggy) Radiance Guard and DR 5/- – a very powerful combination of effects. For the rare character that cares about AC, it’s a clear upgrade from Dragontouched and a fantastic item to use as a stepping stone to an Epic Red Dragonscale Fullplate.
Adjust monster To-Hit values so that armor class is a worthwhile defense against epic purple nameds. Adjust player behavior so that the needed debuffs to make AC useful against epic rednameds are applied to them. Both of these are beyond the scope of this post.
Epic Garos’ Malice
This weapon is terrible. It appears designed as an offhand weapon for a rogue, however it suffers from the following weaknesses:
Flaming Burst – this weapon uses a widely resisted element, and deals small packets of damage that will often be completely ignored. Even 15 fire resistance will almost never be penetrated by Flaming Burst.
Sneak Attack +5 – this is a powerful mutation, but does not stack with other, far superior sources of Sneak Attack, such as the Epic Brawler Gloves or Tharne’s Goggles. (These items are better as they do not take up as valuable an item slot as the offhand weapon).
Poor critical profile – 19-20/x2 is one of the weakest profiles in the game.
Put simply, this weapon needs a lot more DPS for a rogue (or other TWF) to even consider it as an alternative to a Lit 2 khopesh.
Add ‘Greater Incineration: On (every) Vorpal strike, this weapon calls forth the power of flame, dealing massive fire damage’. This deals ~300 fire damage, just as per the Shroud effect, but with a much higher proc rate. This provides an extra 15 damage per swing that works against all foes except those massively resistant (or immune) to fire.
Even with this change, it still does less damage than a combination of a Lightning 2 Khopesh and Tharne’s Goggles, but it’s within the same ballpark and has a higher To-Hit. And it’s possibly best-in-slot against foes that take double fire damage (although most endgame foes that take additional fire damage take 125%, not 200%) .
Epic Grim’s Bracelet
This necklace is also weak. Clearly intended as an AC tank item, the only powerful effect on it (Natural Armor +4) is only a Wisdom Yugoloth potion away for those builds, and then they are looking at a +6 Str necklace with a slot.
Keep in mind that the seal drops from the hardest Carnival quest, and this item is competing with ToD sets that offer other tank-oriented effects such as enhanced threat or AC boosts.
As such, I recommend replacing Natural Armor +4 with Heightened Awareness 4 (the Shroud +4 AC ability) or Dodge +3 (as per the Chattering Ring). Either would make it into a useful item for the AC niche.
Genasi, whatever you do, do NOT add the Parasitic Breastplate’s +3 AC bonus to this! It will just add more fuel (a lot more) to the Player AC/Monster To-Hit arms race.
Epic Illusionist’s Garb
Whilst this is the weakest of the +7 Int items available in the game, it’s also the easiest to acquire. This item is fine as-is; it’s an exciting upgrade for many an arcane. (They can then upgrade further, in harder content like eChrono).
Epic Kron’zek’s Cruelty
Another example of a weapon with no utility effects and DPS that is massively lower than Greensteel weapons. This weapon is out-DPS’ed by a Great Commander Shroud Lightning weapon, let alone a Supreme Tyrant one.
I’d suggest adding Improved Destruction and Lightning Strike. Lightning Strike brings the weapon’s DPS into at least the ballpark of a Supreme Tyrant Shroud weapon, and Improved Destruction is a powerful utility effect that fits the theme of the weapon and is of comparable power to the third upgrade utility options (+2 exceptional stat, +4 AC, elec absorb 20%) that are options on a Shroud weapon.
I could see Elf melee/healer hybrid FvS builds at least wanting to use this weapon, or other feat-starved dual wielders.
Edit: People have pointed out that adding both of these effects would almost make this weapon a carbon copy of the Epic Chimera’s Fang, and they are pretty much right. Maybe Lightning Strike and some other moderately potent utility effect, like Vampirism or +2 Exceptional Strength. With only Lightning Strike it may be used but as an alternative to Greensteel rather than as an upgrade.
Epic Mask of Comedy
Players that want a form of Devotion 7 want Superior, not Greater. Players that want some level of Healing Lore want Major or the not-yet-in-game Superior tier, not the basic Healing Lore. This item has a bunch of mediocre effects that aren’t epic and that don’t add up to an epic item.
It’s worthwhile as a clicky for a party buff and/or to dispel Crushing Despair, but still nothing special.
Upgrade Healing Lore to Superior Healing Lore. This makes the Mask potentially best-in-slot for Radiant Servants (healing crits are better on the Aura than on anything else) and also for the rare melee-oriented Healing Amp/Radiant Servant hybrid builds. Most importantly, it would make the mask into an item with a unique feel.
Epic Mask of Tragedy
Players almost always prefer Superior Potency 6 to Greater Potency 7. Anyone that cares about Void Lore wants only the best tier of it available. And Wisdom 6 is available for free on Greensteel items.
Upgrade Void Lore to Superior Void Lore.
This would make the item worthy of serious consideration to Pale Masters.
Epic Noxious Fang
The only time I’ve seen this used is to hit the ranged levers in VON5, and I want one for that purpose. Still, it’s a returner – nothing will make it worth using. Leave it as is for the laughs.
Epic Phiarlan Mirror Cloak
This item has two unique abilities (the +5 bonuses to stats) that are potent but rarely relevant (as the skill requirements to achieve stealth-based objectives are quite low). SR 22 is a joke, and Blurry is obtained on Supreme Tyrant Smoke cloaks that have a much better overall package of effects than this cloak (such as 30 Elec Resist and 15 stacking Fire Resist).
Replace Blurry with “Greater Smokescreen: This item provides a 30% Concealment bonus (this does not stack with Blur or Displacement)”.
Also upgrade SR to 35 (enough that you will occasionally see it prevent a non-damaging spell from Normal Horoth or from trash mobs in epics).
This would make the item unique and, while still not overly powerful, it would be sought after by solo players at least.
Epic Phiarlan Spy Dagger
This weapon is a dagger (almost the worst critical profile in the game), has only one DPS mutation (the mediocre Acid Burst) and awful base damage. The utility effects are not even remotely enough to salvage this weapon.
Add Improved Paralyzing (as on the Epic Timeblade) – this fits the theme of a spy dagger (the spy has added a numbing poison). Increase enhancement bonus to +10, both providing a not-insignificant DPS increase, and also a significant amount of To-Hit. (Spies and assassins try not to miss, after all).
The weapon would still be mediocre, but at least it would be unique and situationally useful.
Epic Ring of Elemental Essence
I’ve never seen anyone seek this ring out, as it is just downright bad. Compare it to the Amrath Warchanter necklace, which offers full Superior Potency 6, Wizardry 6 and a powerful SP conservation set bonus.
Upgrade the Glaciation, Combustion and Magnetism effects to their Epic versions (60% increase to level 6 and lower spells). That would make the item unique, and a useful backup for when your Amrath belts are out of charges, or for situations where you want a boost to spells that persists through death.
Edit: As pointed out below, Archmagi can be difficult to slot at endgame and this is the only ring with it, which is a redeeming feature of the item. Personally I have no qualms about playing an arcane/divine that uses only Wizardry 6; if you value the extra 50-100 SP more than I do, you might like this item more than I do.
Epic Roderic’s Wand
This wand is funny, but just doesn’t summon powerful enough monsters. The Hezrou is best, but even it is far from potent at endgame. It just keeps swinging and missing.
Up the To-Hit of any monster summoned by this wand to +50, letting them contribute to Epic combats (rather than just go ‘miss miss miss Chaos Hammer miss miss hit’. Up their hitpoints to 2000. Consider adding the same ‘set To-Hit to 50’ effect to the Augment Summoning feat (at least when level 20 characters use it).
Epic Shimmering Pendant
This item is a very minor upgrade from the Bard’s Cloak (the one most bards that run VOD have vendored three of) and a useful switch-in item for Fascinate checks in epic VON6. It’s far too weak to even consider wearing as a full-time item.
Consider upgrading the skill modifiers to 20, in line with other Epic items that have +skills. It still won’t be a full-time item, but at least it will be interesting.
Epic Utility Vest
Best in slot for a very, very niche use (swapping in as a trapsmithing item). Good at what it does, no changes needed. (It is a nuisance that it is not a quick-equip item like a Robe; if any change were to be made, hotswappability would not hurt).