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Black Dragon drop statistics

January 1, 2014 2 comments

Now that the week of dragon farming frenzy is over, it might be a good time to post a bit of statistics. Considering the size of the Black Dragon loot table and the low probability of some of the items, we can of course not get anywhere near to estimating the probabilities of various drops, unless we could get a large number of players to report their drops in an unbiased way (i.e. not just when it’s something exciting) — but that would be harder than herding cats. So the following table is just a simple summary of the drops I got from the 175 or so kills on my guardian. It might give us a rough idea of the relative frequencies of different kinds of drops (e.g. social armor, raid armor, buffs/potions, etc.). A lot of the outcomes are surprisingly skewed; for example, I got one social set 11 times, one 9 times, one 4 times and the other two sets not even once. And I got twice as much HP food as stamina food.

Count Item
Social animations, particles etc.
8 Electric Boogie, Bottled Spirits, Sticky Fresh Blood, Void Essence, Cowardice Remedy, Ritual Knife
14 Mitra’s Blessed Ointment
6 Prayer Book
6 Fermented Brain Juices
Food, potions, buffs
4 Potent Daggamalt, Dire Sweetpressed Haste
10 Ta Neheh Leaf Elixir
5 Kingsmight Ale
3 Elixirs (2 Precision, 1 Invigorative Rejuvenation)
3 Philtres (1 Constitution, 2 Strength)
1 Minor Elixir of Resurgence (self-rez)
Bags
3 Traveller’s Merchant Contract
Social armor sets
11 Sanctum Atlantis set
9 Shattered Colossus set
4 Slayer’s set
0 other two social armor sets
Other social armor
3 Crown of Summer
3 Tigerskin cloaks
1 Atlantean Spellbinder’s Tunic
3 Tarantian masks (1 Amber, 2 Azure)
Raid gear
20 T1 armor
17 T1 weapons (4 swords, 3 shields, 10 polearms)
6 T2 armor
1 T2 weapons (1 shield)
AA urns
10 Flask of Completion (20000 Mastery XP)
5 Flask of Direction (50000 Mastery XP)
0 Coffer of Radiance (62500 Mastery XP)
Pets
12 animal pets (1 Barrachan Gull, 2 War Piglets, 3 Hippo Calves, 1 Black Cobra, 2 Field Mice, 1 Fire Salamander)
5 dancing pets (1 Khitan male, 3 Stygian males, 1 Stygian female)
Purple caches
2 Slayer’s Cache of the Black Dragon (purple cache)
Categories: Age of Conan, World Bosses

The First Portent

December 28, 2013 13 comments

As has recently been announced, open-world raid bosses will now be spawning in Age of Conan for one week each month, and the first one has already been spawning since December 24. It’s a Black Dragon and can spawn either in Tarantia Noble District in front of Conan’s castle, or in Tarantia Common District at the top of the cliff (where the Rat NPCs are throwing a Crow NPC over the edge). In terms of appearance it looks just like Vistrix, or like the Black Dragon that we had for the 5th anniversary event in May 2013. The current Black Dragon has 20.1 million hit points, which is a new record in AoC (the 5th anniversary Black Dragon had “only” 17.3 million HP).


(Click to enlarge.)

Encounter mechanics

The mechanics of the fight are very simple. Several unattackable Dragon Cultist NPCs spawn first, which is a sign that the dragon will appear soon; it spawns about 5 minutes later. It does crushing white hits on the aggro holder; it also has two frontal cone fire aoe attacks, Dark Flames (hits for 2-3 k) and Funeral Flames (hits for 5-6 k). Funeral Flames has a slower cast and, I think, a narrower cone, so it’s pretty easy to avoid. Even the aggro holder can avoid these cones since the dragon doesn’t turn while casting them. There is also a 360-degree aoe knockback called Shockwave (as always, doubletapping helps you get back into the fight faster), and a ranged single-target attack called Fireball, which the dragon will use on the aggro holder if it can’t reach him with melee attacks.

Hunting the dragon

The dragon spawns are fairly predictable. When the cultists appear, you can set a timer for 2:20 hours or so and that will give you the time when the next set of cultists will appear in the same instance (assuming that the dragon spawned by the first set of cultists will be killed promptly). By keeping track of the timers of as many instances as possible, you can have a pretty good idea of where to go next. Note that in the busier times of the day, instances sometimes fill up as much as 30 minutes before the next boss spawns there.

To switch between instances, you should be near a rez pad and click the yellow triangle next to your minimap to bring up the instance selection window. If the instance you’re looking for isn’t shown in the instance selection window, that’s usually a sign that it’s already full. The capacity of each instance seems to currently be limited to 70-ish players, which is an annoyingly small number (during the 5th anniversary events, the limit was much higher; as a result, the fights were more laggy but it was much easier to get into an instance, and they hardly ever filled up before a boss actually spawned). Another possible reason why an instance might not be shown in the instance selection window is because it has already reset and despawned. This can happen if there are no players in it for a couple minutes.

Note that both the Common District and the Noble District support epic instances in addition to normal ones. You can recognize epic ones by the fact that they are labelled as “Playfield” in the instance selection window, instead of with the actual name of the playfield. You can’t use the instance selection window to switch from a normal instance to an epic one or vice versa; for that, you’ll actually need to zone out to a different playfield (the Armsman’s Tavern is a good option for switching in the Noble District, for example) and then choose normal or epic appropriately when zoning back in.

If you are in a group and the group leader is in a different instance than yourself, you’ll probably get a popup message asking if you want to switch to the leader’s instance. If you try to do so, but the leader’s instance is already full, you’ll get stuck on the loading screen and you’ll have to restart your client, so don’t do that.


(Click to enlarge.)

Quests and loot mechanics

There is a quest called The Twelve Portents, given by the new Astromancer NPC on the steps of the Old Tarantia library. It requires you to kill twelve open-world bosses and gives you one of four new legendary cloaks as quest rewards. Which four cloaks you get to choose from depends on the archetype:

  • Soldiers:
    • Dragon Scale Mantle of the Living Legend: 95 str, 40 con, 38 hit rtg, 41 hate inc rtg, 5% ooc movement speed
    • Fallen Leviathan’s Mantle of the Living Legend: 187 armor, 75 con, 55 hit rtg, 43 immunity rtg, 70 crit dmg rtg, 126 protection, 5% ooc movement speed
    • Conversant Mantle of the Living Legend: 529 combat rtg, 60 hit rtg, 50 fatality rtg, 74 crit dmg rtg, 73 offhand rtg, 5% ooc movement speed
    • Infernal Mantle of the Living Legend: 52 con, 90 magic dmg, 45 hit rtg, 40 crit dmg rtg, 120 protection, 5% ooc movement speed
  • Priests:
    • Savior’s Mantle of the Living Legend: 56 con, 13.1 nat mana regen, 425 heal rtg, 50 hit rtg, 60 crit dmg rtg, 126 protection, 5% ooc movement speed
    • Beast Hunter’s Mantle of the Living Legend: 94 str, 227 heal rtg, 292 combat rtg (2hb), 55 hit rtg, 70 crit dmg rtg, 5% ooc movement speed
    • Thunder Mantle of the Living Legend: 187 armor, 75 con, 55 hit rtg, 43 immunity rtg, 70 crit dmg rtg, 126 protection, 5% ooc movement speed
    • Star Touched Mantle of the Living Legend: 42 con, 60 wis, 64 magic dmg, 60 hit rtg, 68 crit dmg rtg, 5% ooc movement speed
  • Rogues:
    • Conversant Mantle of the Living Legend: same as above
    • Slayer’s Mantle of the Living Legend: 100 dex, 274 combat rtg, 45 hit rtg, 22 hate dec rtg, 72 crit dmg rtg, 5% ooc movement speed
    • Fallen Leviathan’s Mantle of the Living Legend: same as above
    • Terminator’s Mantle of the Living Legend: 75 str, 362 combat rtg, 62 hit rtg, 62 fatality rtg, 74 crit dmg rtg, 5% ooc movement speed
  • Mages:
    • Demon Mantle of the Living Legend: 169 int, 59 hit rtg, 74 crit dmg rtg, 5% ooc movement speed
    • Infernal Mantle of the Living Legend: same as above
    • Thunder Mantle of the Living Legend: same as above
    • Ash Mantle of the Living Legend: 80 magic dmg (fire), 52 hit rtg, 48 fatality rtg, 74 crit dmg rtg, 480 combat rtg (fire), 5% ooc movement speed

The idea is that a different boss will be spawning each month, but the quest doesn’t specify which world bosses you have to kill. This means that if you miss one of them, you don’t have to wait for an entire year before that boss spawns again; you simply get a new quest update each month when you manage to kill a boss. (See the dev’s testlive forum post.) Currently killing the dragon gives you a Slayer of the Black Dragon buff, which persists through death/zoning and can’t be cancelled; my guess is that the purpose of this buff is to prevent you from getting multiple quest updates from the dragon, and that it will be removed at some future point after the dragon stops spawning for the rest of the year.

Apart from that, you don’t have to take a separate quest each time before you kill the dragon, like you had to do during the 5th anniversary events. Instead, when the dragon dies, a loot cache simply appears directly in your inventory. Normally you get a blue cache (Hunter’s Trove of the Black Dragon), but sometimes you get a purple one instead (Slayer’s Cache of the Black Dragon).

Furthermore, when you open the blue cache, sometimes a purple cache drops out of it.

I was half hoping that the purple cache would then drop a blue cache and I would get stuck in an endless loop, but unfortunately this didn’t happen :P

So far, out of 184 kills, I got 6 purple boxes directly and another 2 purple boxes from opening blue ones.

What can drop from the blue caches?

A bewildering array of items can drop from the caches. I’m sure many things are missing from the list below, and I’ll update it as I get more information. An asterisk * marks items that I didn’t see myself, but were repoted in the comments.

Novelty animations, particles etc.

  • 3 Electric Boogie (gives you an electrical particle around your feet for 5 min)
  • 3 Bottled Spirits (gives you a drunk animation for 30 sec)
  • 3 Sticky Fresh Blood (makes your skin red for 30 min)
  • 3 Mitra’s Blessed Ointment (gives you a halo particle effect above your head for 5 min)
  • Void Essence (makes you look like a ghost — black and semitransparent — for 30 min)
  • 3 Fermented Brain Juices (makes you drunk for 30 sec and makes your skin green for 30 min)
  • 3 Cowardice Remedy (makes your skin blue for 30 min)

By analogy with the 5th anniversary event loot, I would also expect Cool Runnings (gives you a cold mist particle for 5 min) and Flaming Sanducca (gives you a fire particle for 5 min), but I haven’t actually seen anyone getting them yet.

Food and drink

  • 2 Potent Daggamalt
  • 2 Dire Sweetpressed Haste
  • 2 Ta Neheh Leaf Elixir
  • 2 Kingsmight Ale

I never got mana food or potions on my guardian, so I guess these drops adapt to your class, so classes which use mana can probably get those as well.

Old guild renown items

  • Crown of Summer (social head armor)
  • 3 Ritual Knife (makes you drip blood for 60 sec)
  • 3 Prayer Book (creates a 1-minute particle effect that looks a bit like the old Shield of the Risen — a vertical column of light beaming on the ground at the place where you stood while using the book)

These items are the same as those sold by one of the NPC vendors in your guild city tradepost (if you have a sufficient renown level, but the requirement is not very high). That vendor solds several other items, e.g. crowns of other seasons, and I’d expect that those can also drop here; but I didn’t see anyone get one of the other three crowns yet.

AA XP items

  • Flask of Completion (20000 Mastery XP)
  • Flask of Direction (50000 Mastery XP)
  • Coffer of Radiance (62500 Mastery XP)

Buff consumables

  • Elixir of Precision (+73 hit rtg for 4 hours)
  • Elixir of Invigorative Rejuvenation (+15 nat stam regen for 4 hours)
  • Elixir of Guile (+73 crit rtg for 4 hours)*
  • Elixir of Mystical Excellence (+40 magic dmg for 4 hours)*
  • Refined Philtre of Constitution (+5% con for 2 hours)
  • Refined Philtre of Strength (+10% str for 2 hours)
  • I guess that numerous other consumables of this type can also drop, I just haven’t seen them yet. Maybe it depends on your class.
  • Refined Philtre of Intellect (+10% int for 2 hours) [reported by a demo]
  • Refined Philtre of Wisdom (+10% wis for 2 hours)*
  • Minor Elixir of Resurgence (green bop; self-rez at 25% health)

Old raid items

You can get T1/T2 armor and weapons for your class. In my experience, T1 drops more frequently than T2. I got a full set of T1 armor by now, as well as a couple of T2 items.

Bag merchants

You can get a stack of 3 Traveller’s Merchant Contracts. Despite the name, this is a considerably different item than the one sold in the guild city keep (an easy way to tell the difference is by the level; the guild city merchant contract is level 80, the new one from the world boss is level 1). It can be used anywhere, not just near a rez pad, and the resulting merchant sells just one type of bag and nothing else.

The type of bag seems to be chosen at random when you spawn him; with some luck, you can even get a merchant selling the Coffer of Nullity (122-slot bag, which otherwise sells for quite a bit of real-world money in the item shop). The merchant despawns in 2 minutes, but during that time any player can buy the bag from him.

Note that the bags sold by these merchants are exactly the same as the original bags in every way, including their price and binding status. Thus, those bags which are normally available only through /claims or the item shop, and which therefore don’t have a price in gold, will be “sold” by this merchant for free (and will be bind-on-pickup). Bags which are sold by normal vendors elsewhere in the game will also be sold here at the same price (which isn’t very useful as those bags date back to the release of the game and are correspondingly small and expensive).

You can also get a merchant selling crafted bags (Soldier’s / Commander’s Haversack), which are free and bind-on-equip, so you can try reselling them to other players.

Some of the bags are very bizarre; I once saw a merchant selling a bag that was literally called [56 Slot Bag] and it cost 2000 rare trophies (yes, two thousand). This type of bag must have been dragged from somewhere deep within the bowels of the game’s item database, since no vendor hitherto visible to players has AFAIK been selling a bag with such an odd name or such a ridiculous price.

Another “bag” that you might get is a purple one called [Bank Space 50 slots]. The idea presumably is that it will give you 50 new slots in the bank, but from what I’ve heard, it’s currently bugged and overrides your backpack (inventory bag) instead, which is particularly disastrous if your previous backpack was larger than that. So I didn’t dare to use it on my character until this bug is resolved. (I suspect that even then, this item won’t do any good for people like me, who already bought 50 extra bank slots in the item shop.)

[Update: for a while, there was a warning on the patcher, advising people not to buy the [Bank Space 50 slots] bag. From the way the warning was phrased, I got the impression that they don’t intend to fix this item at all — probably it was made just for internal testing purposes and wasn’t really meant to be seen by players, just like the 2000 rare tropy bag.]

[Update 2: one of the subsequent patches disabled these traders, so that consuming the contract didn't do anything at all. Since update 4.1.6, the contracts spawn a merchant again, but reportedly this merchant now just sells worthless social drink consumables. Apparently Funcom never intended to give away any of the decent bags at all :(]

New social armor sets

You get an entire set (all 8 armor pieces) from a single cache. If you don’t have enough inventory space, it will go into an overflow bag on the ground. These are blue, bind-on-pickup items. See near the end of this post for a few screenshots.

  • Sanctum Atlantis — looks like old assasin armor, painted green
  • Shattered Colossus — looks like a retextured Bloodseraph’s (old-world DT dungeon level 80 set)
  • Fallen Leviathan — looks like cloth sets from Ardashir Fort, but red instead of green
  • Titan Killer — looks like the heavy/plate sets from the House of Crom
  • Hero Ascendant — looks somewhat similar to Skyshear set (old-world ToS dungeon level 80 set)
  • Slayer’s — I haven’t found an exact counterpart of this set; the chest is the same as Hyperborean Scout Harness (green social armor from the item shop), and similar to things such as Goremonger’s Harness (barbarian dungeon set) and Hyperborean Grimsword Hauberk (DT culture); the legs are similar to Grizzly Breeches (medium armor from the Iron Tower); the boots, shoulder, wrist and hands are the same as in Balthus’s Woodsman set (medium armor from the Iron Tower).

Other social armor

Some of the following items are green and bind-on-equip.

  • Atlantean Spellbinder’s Tunic (green boe) — looks the same as Alvazar’s Vest (from Atzel’s Fortress)
  • Snowskin Tiger Cloak (green boe) — looks like one of the recent cloaks from Coils of Ubah Kan, and IIRC was already available at some point in the item shop; other cloaks with models corresponding to Coils of Ubah Kan cloaks can also drop here (see below)
  • Shadowskin Tiger Cloak (green boe)
  • Emberskin Tiger Cloak (green boe)
  • Ivory Tigerskin Cloak (green boe)
  • Amber Mask (blue bop) — a face mask in the style worn by some NPCs in Tarantia Commons (you can also get similar things as quest rewards there)
  • Azure Mask (blue bop) — like as the previous one

Pets

Several of the pets dropping here are, as far as I know, new:

  • Pet: Barachan Gull
  • Pet: Charcoal Firebird Chick
  • Pet: Fat Harry — a big fat toad; I love frogs and this one looks great, but I wish it could hop instead of just walking
  • Pet: Fire Salamander
  • Pet: Frost Salamander
  • Pet: Hippo Calf
  • Pet: Topaz Comodo
  • Pet: War Piglet — to make this of any use in warfare, you’d have to duck-tape a few grenades to it and send it into the enemy lines :P
  • Pet: Wolverine Kit

Some of the pets are also available elsewhere:

  • Pet: Black Cobra — the same that is sold by one of the NPCs in the tradepost of Stygian guild cities; it is tradable, so you can also buy it from other players
  • Pet: Field Mouse — probably the same as the one sold by an NPC in Old Tarantia
  • I would imagine that other pets from the same vendors also drop here (e.g. the cats that you can buy in Aquilonian guild cities, and dogs/wolves that you can buy in Cimmerian ones, but I haven’t actually seen anybody get these here yet.

Several dancing pets also drop; there’s one for every combination of sex and race:

  • Pet: Aquilonian Folk Dancer (Male)
  • Pet: Aquilonian Folk Dancer (Female)
  • Pet: Cimmerian Folk Dancer (Male)
  • Pet: Cimmerian Folk Dancer (Female)
  • Pet: Khitan Ceremonial Dancer (Male)
  • Pet: Khitan Ceremonial Dancer (Female)
  • Pet: Stygian Snake Dancer (Male)
  • Pet: Stygian Snake Dancer (Female)

What can drop from the purple caches?

In my experience, by far the most common drop from these caches is 3–5 Simple Relics III (i.e. same as those that drop in Thoth-Amon’s Stronghold). It can also drop an urn with 10 simple relics III instead, or a T3 Rare Relic (suitable for the recipient’s archetype, of course).

By far the most coveted drop from these caches is a new legendary pet, Mini-Pet: Black Dragon. It’s annoyingly rare, but with enough farming your chances of getting it are fairly decent. In my guild we’ve had 8 of them drop so far; I got mine from the 106th dragon kill (most of the people who got the pet so far, got it with considerably less farming than that). See near the end of this post for a few screenshots.

Additionally, I’ve also seen people linking a large number of new purple weapons and accessories (all bind-on-pickup), which can presumably drop from these purple caches. You will always get something suitable for your class, keeping in mind of course that Funcom’s idea of what is suitable might be slightly different from yours. I’ve seen the following items so far:

  • Weapons and shields:
    • Bounty Hunter’s Dirk (dagger): 79.7 dps, 409 combat rtg (dagger), 50 hit rtg, 48 crit rtg, 60 crit dmg rtg
    • Hero’s Clan Blade (1he): 117.9 dps, 355 combat rtg (1he), 28 crit rtg, 20 hate dec rtg, 46 crit dmg rtg, 35 offhand rtg, 45 health tap rtg
    • Paladin’s Baneblade (1he):* 119.6 dps, 32 str, 131 combat rgs, 56 hit rgs, 33 crit rgs, 35 hate inc rtg, 57 crit dmg rtg
    • Paladin’s Siege Shield: 939 armor, 60 con, 45 hit rtg, 34 hate inc rtg, 182 protection — uses the same model as the beloved old-world purple shield, Aegis of Five Mercies!
    • Paladin’s Widowmaker (2he): 139.9 dps, 591 combat rtg (2he), 81 hit rtg, 65 crit rtg, 55 hate inc rtg, 80 crit dmg rtg, 166 protection
    • Repressor’s Dagger*: 77.6 dps, 58 magic dmg, 40 hit rtg, 26 crit rtg, 16 hate dec rtg, 50 crit dmg rtg, 45 magic life tap rtg, 45 magic mana tap rtg
    • Repressor’s Flamebrand (2he): 140.4 dps, 111 magic dmg (fire), 70 hit rtg, 70 crit rtg, 25 hate dec rtg, 100 crit dmg rtg, 610 combat rtg (fire)
    • Repressor’s Trident (staff): 67.3 dps, 71 con, 205 int, 9.4 nat mana regen, 112 crit rtg, 30 hate dec rtg, 135 crit dmg rtg
    • Terminator’s Diremaul*: 119.5 dps, 347 combat rtg, 30 crit rtg, 48 fatality rtg, 50 crit dmg rtg, 46 offhand rtg
    • Terminator’s Dreadmaul: 139.2 dps, 171 str, 30 con, 128 combat rtg (2hb), 40 hit rtg, 80 crit rtg, 20 hate dec rtg, 100 crit dmg rtg
    • Savior’s Totem Pole (staff)*: 67.3 dps, 209 wis, 360 mana, 92 nat mana regen, 90 hit rtg, 60 crit rtg, 70 crit dmg rtg
  • Rings:
    • Asp of Mystical Supremacy (ring): 225 mana, 75 magic dmg, 18 hate dec rtg
    • Golden Ring of Dexterity: 85 dex, 195 combat rtg
    • Hallowed Ring of Divine Blessings: 74 wis, 225 mana, 186 heal rtg
    • Iron Band of Constitution (ring): 164 armor, 73 con, 52 crit rtg
    • Pearl Ring of Assault: 44 evade rtg, 55 hit rtg, 55 crit rtg, 44 immunity rtg, 120 prot
    • Ruby Ring of Strength: 82 str, 204 combat rtg
    • Runic Band of Inherent Hatred (ring): 78 con, 30 crit rtg, 30 hate inc rtg, 133 protection
    • Skull Clasp of Bloody Carnage (ring): 427 combat rtg, 50 crit rtg, 45 fat rtg, 15 hate dec rtg
    • Snakehead of Intelligence (ring): 126 int, 3.1 nat mana regen
  • Necklaces:
    • All-Seeing-Eye of Mystical Supremacy (necklace): 98 int, 3.5 nat mana regen, 50 hit rtg, 25 hate dec rtg
    • Bear Claws of Divine Might (necklace)*: str, heal rtg
    • Mitra’s Mark of Divine Blessings (necklace): 94 wis, 5 nat mana regen, 169 heal rt, 55 crit dmg rtg
    • Tribal Necklace of Bloody Carnage: 8.3 nat stam regen, 397 combat rtg, 28 hate dec rtg, 55 offhand rtg

A few screenshots

This is the Sanctum Atlantis set, one of the new social sets. Note that the head piece can clip very badly with your hair.


And this is the Shattered Colossus set:


Here’s the Slayer’s set:


The new Black Dragon mini-pet is in fact pretty decently sized:


(Click to enlarge.)

It has a nice fire-breathing animation:


(Click to enlarge.)


(Click to enlarge.)

And here’s that terrifying beast of war, the Pictish War Piglet:


(Click to enlarge.)

The Fire Salamander is less impressive than I expected:


(Click to enlarge.)

And here’s Fat Harry, great for frog-lovers like myself, I just wish it could hop instead of just walking:


(Click to enlarge.)

I’ll add more screenshots if/when I get more gear and pets.

New unchained loot

December 23, 2013 3 comments

As is well known, the new unchained dungeons have a somewhat new-fangled loot system: bosses don’t drop loot directly; instead, they just drop caches (Unopened Chest = green; Acheronian Cache = blue; Mystical Acheronian Cache = purple), which then drop loot when you open them. The green caches are tradable, the blue and purple ones are bind-on-pickup. Purple caches drop very rarely and you mostly get them as quest rewards from completing the new quest from a poster at the beginning of unchained dungeons. (The quest is called Mastering the Old World and requires you to clear four unchained dungeons: Amphitheatre of Karutonia, Scorpion Cave, Caravan Raiders’ Hideout, and the Halls of Eternal Frost.)

In another departure from their usual practice, the devs posted pictures of all the new loot on the testlive forum some time ago. As we can see from that thread, among other things there are nine ‘new’ sets of armor — in terms of appearance, they are just copies of various existing sets (mostly from Xibaluku and the Amphitheatre of Karutonia), but they have new names and stats here. Each set consists of four purple parts (head, chest, hands, wrist) and four blue ones (legs, feet, belt, shoulder). In my experience, green caches don’t drop any of this armor; blue caches drop the blue parts and, very rarely, purple ones; purple caches drop only the purple ones.

What exactly can drop from those caches seems to depend on the class of the character on which you’re opening them. For example, among those nine armor sets, my guardian only gets two: Fallen Empire (plate) and Red Ruin (heavy). I wouldn’t be surprised if most non-soldier classes just got one set. Thus, you can’t really collect other sets than those which the system allows to drop for your class. From what I’ve heard, the non-unchained version of Caravan Raiders’ Hideout now also drops new sets with the same appearance but presumably worse stats, and doesn’t employ the new cache system, so it should be possible to collect sets there with any class you like; but I haven’t been there yet myself so I don’t know anything definite about this.

The Fallen Empire full-plate set

Anyway, after opening 36 purple caches and 56 blue ones, I finally completed one of the new armor sets, namely Fallen Empire:


As we can see, it looks exactly the same as the Acheronian Keeper set, i.e. guardian culture armor. The only difference is that culture armor sets lack wrists and shoulders, whereas the Fallen Empire set has all 8 parts.

In terms of stats, the purple parts of the set are pretty nice, comparable to Khitai faction sets or perhaps even slightly better. Too bad that only half of the set is purple.

I don’t have the complete heavy set (Red Ruin) yet, but it appears to be using the same models as full-plate armor from Xibaluku. (There also exists a heavy set in Xibaluku, but AFAIK none of the nine new unchained sets looks like it.) I like the Fallen Empire set better than Red Ruin, mostly because of its black color and golden sheen. Additionally, the helm from the Red Ruin set looks completely ugly, sort of like an Acheronian equivalent of a gimp mask.

I have long had a soft spot for Acheronian-style plate armor. I remember first seeing it in a screenshot of the guardian culture armor which was published by the devs some time before they launched the culture armor system (update 1.03); I was impressed by its menacingly bad-ass overall appearance, as well as by how revealing and non-platy it was. It is a common complaint against video games that they make female characters’ armor look unrealistically skimpy, but the armor that was available in Age of Conan at launch seemed to avoid this problem better than I would have expected. The full-plate armor that my guardian was wearing (from the Resolute and Steelspirit sets, especially the former) covered her up pretty thoroughly and made her look like a tin can. Compared to that, Acheronian-style plate was like a breath of fresh air.

But in the early months after culture armor was introduced, the recipes were so rare and the resulting items so expensive that I didn’t even think about buying any of it. A few months later, update 1.04 included Xibaluku, which had plenty of new Acheronian-style armor drops. This included several pieces of full-plate gear; I got myself a chest (Voidcage) and legs (Impenetrable Legguards), both of which were in fact small upgrades compared to what I was wearing before (probably the Steelspirit chest and Resolute legs), but what I liked even more was how much better my character looked wearing them :P It was this discovery that set my previously demure guardian on a long road of wearing slutty plate armor. In any case, I’m glad that both styles of Acheronian plate armor have now become more widely available as a result of the new unchained loot system.

The Red Ruin heavy set

I was plagued by bad luck when farming this set; it took me about 5 months to get the chest piece (after opening 134 blue and 111 purple caches; meanwhile I got most of the other parts of the set multiple times, of course).

The main problem with this heavy set is of course the helmet, which makes you look like Hannibal Lecter’s more dangerous and less well-adjusted cousin:


Having zoomed in and checked carefully, I think I can safely say that there are no holes for the eyes whatsoever. Let’s hope the helmet is well-padded as you’re going to bang into a lot of things if you wear it :P

If you get rid of the helmet and the belt (the latter seems to have been pilfered from a semi-retired wrestling hero), you’re left with a pretty decent-looking set of slutplate armor, though I think I still prefer the Fallen Empire / Acheronian Keeper set. The shiny black color makes that set look much more badass and menacing, as you would expect from an Acheronian set. You can almost hear the screams of victims on the altars as you walk around wearing it :P

Much like the other “new” unchained armor sets, the models of this set are anything but new. It’s the same as the full-plate set from Xibaluku (Voidcage (chest), Impenetrable Legguards, Nescient Helm, Warlord’s Cinch (belt), Spiteful Gauntlets; there reportedly also exist boots called Bloodfeint Sabatons; I’m not sure about wrists and shoulders). The same models are also used Some of these models are also used in the normal (level 63) version of the Amphitheatre of Karutonia (full plate: Bloodbrute Chestguard, Bloodbrute Legguards; heavy: Frostmaw Helm, Frostmaw Gauntlets, Frostmaw Boots, Frostmaw Vambraces). The helmet model is also reused as the Mask of the Master Gaoler, which drops from Norach + Surberec in Xibaluku since 4.1.

In terms of stats, the purple parts of the Red Ruin set are similar to e.g. Tiger heavy armor from Khitai, but with a bit less constitution (and some combat rating replaced by strength).

Pharaoh’s Guard social set

This set isn’t new either; it’s been available in the item shop for a long time, pretty much ever since the item shop was introduced. (Currently it doesn’t seem to be available individually but only as part of the “Hyborian Steel Style Pack”.) It’s a green social armor set with no level requirement; somewhat surprisingly, it consists of just 7 parts — everything except the belt. It drops from green and blue Acheronian caches.

In terms of appearance, it’s similar to other Stygian-themed sets, especially Stygian Deathcoil (ToS culture armor). In fact the legs, feet and hands are exactly the same in Stygian Deathcoil and in Pharaoh’s Guard. So if you don’t like the fact that Pharaoh’s Guard lacks a belt, you could use Stygian Deathcoil Belt and it would probably match the rest of Pharaoh’s Guard pretty well.


What do the new unchained sets look like?

Hell Walker (demo/necro): several parts of this set (shoulder, hands, wrists, legs, feet) are the same as in the Bloodseer’s set (HoX level 80 old-world dungeon set). The chest is the same as Catacomb Tunic, a level 59 blue item dropping from the Catacomb Stalker Queen in the Catacombs. The rest seems to be mostly in the style of cloth gear from Xibaluku.

Bloodhunter (sin): judging by the pictures in the testlive forum, this seems to be the same shape as the previous set but completely black. I don’t think I’ve seen items like that before.

Crimson Slaughter (HoX): judging by the pictures, it seems to look exactly the same as Bloodhunter.

Blood God (PoM/ToS): looks the same as the Crusader’s Abyss social armor set from the Amphitheatre unchained.

Death Master (barb): looks the same as the Abyssal Battle social armor set from the Amphitheatre unchained.

Blood Drinker (ranger): looks the same as the Acheronian Convoker social armor set from the Amphitheatre unchained.

Sanguine Disciple (BS): this is an interesting mixture of several earlier sets. Some parts are the same as the Blood Drinker / Acheronian Convoker set; a few parts, however, look as if you took the shape of the Doomsayer set (HoX PvP T1 armor) but the color of the Ashbone of Oblivion set (social armor from the Amphitheatre unchained). This is very easy to see on the chest, but also applies to the head.

Red Ruin (heavy): looks the same as full-plate armor from Xibaluku.

Fallen Empire (plate): looks the same as the Acheronian Keeper set (guardian culture armor).

Cloaks from the Demigod of Acheron

The Demigod of Acheron, the last boss in Caravan Raiders’ Hideout (unchained), drops one of four new cloaks.

Here’s the Abyssal Cloak of the Death Master (with melee DPS stats: 167 armor, 531 combat rtg, 62 hit rtg, 67 crit dmg rtg), though it seems to me that all four cloaks look very similar anyway.

Next, here’s the Abyssal Cape of the Fallen Empire (with tanking stats: 151 armor, 52 con, 30 hate inc rtg, 262 protection; it’s like taking Amra’s Pride and replacing hit rating and crit damage rating with hate increase rating).

And this is the Abyssal Cloak of the Hell Walker (33 con, 75 magic dmg, 41 hit rtg, 30 hate dec rtg, 56 crit dmg rtg):

Finally, here’s the Abyssal Cloak of Crimson Slaughter (28 str, 76 magic dmg (fire), 35 hate dec rtg, 60 crit dmg rtg, 178 combat rtg (fire)):

Considering how hard it is to kill that boss, I was expecting the cloaks to look more impressive and less faded. And it seems they all look more or less the same, with slight variations in color.

Accessories from the Excavators quest

I got the following beautiful bind-on-pickup purple cloak, Great Cloak of Blessed Winds (117 wis, 193 heal rtg, 45 hit rtg, 54 crit dmg rtg), on my ToS from a Mystical Excavator’s Kit (purple cache that you get as a quest reward from the excavators quest):

Given the stats, I would imagine that PoMs can also get it. The amount of heal rating is unusually high for a cloak; only the Cloak of Shivering Stars (from the Coils of Ubah Kan) is comparable (201 heal rtg), but has just 80 wisdom and no hit rating. The T4 cloak has only 72 heal rtg, but on the other hand it has 122 wis and an extra 20 magic damage. (Two of the legendary cloaks from the Portents quest will have still more heal rating: 227 on the BS legendary cloak and 425 on the non-DPS healer cloak.)

Judging by the dev’s post on the testlive forum, there is also a Bear Shaman cloak with the same style, but orange instead of white; as well as a dexterity necklace and a HoX ring.

Pets

The new caches from unchained dungeons also have a chance of dropping various pets. Here are some screenshots of the ones I’ve found so far:

Pet: Shredder

This is a hyena pet that dropped from a green cache. It’s about the same size as normal hyenas in Kheshatta.


(Click to enlarge.)

Mini-Pet: Demigod

When they say mini-pet, they aren’t joking. It’s intended to look like the Demigod of Acheron, the difficult final boss of Caravan Raiders’ Hideout, but in practice this also makes it look like a tiny chill crawler. It dropped from a blue cache.


(Click to enlarge.)

Occasionally, an even tinier humanoid figure spawns in front of it and starts worshipping it:


(Click to enlarge.)

The worshipper appears to be wearing the Hell Walker armor set (see above).

Pet: Living Statue

This pet looks like one of the Acheronian statues that come alive in the Halls of Eternal Frost (and is also the same size). It dropped from a blue cache.


(Click to enlarge.)

Pet: Scorpion Archer

I really like this pet. It’s at least as large as the Scorpion Archers in Kheshatta. For some of us it brings back uncomfortable memories of that time in Summer 2008 when one of the patches unintentionally buffed all archer mobs in the game, making the Scorpion Archers ridiculously overpowered :) It dropped from a purple cache. Occasionally it’s surrounded by a nice green particle, as you can see in the screenshot below:


(Click to enlarge.)

Mini-Pet: Forsaken Child of Yig

This pet dropped from a Mystical Excavator’s Kit, i.e. one of the purple caches that you get as a reward from the other new quest, “In the Service of the Excavators” (which requires you to clear Ardashir Fort, Sepulcher of the Wyrm, Coils of Ubah Kan and the Vile Nativity). As you can see, it’s basically a small skeletal serpentman.


(Click to enlarge.)

Mini-Pet: Un Nefer

This pet dropped from a purple cache (Mystical Acheronian Cache). He looks like a miniature Un Nefer from the Halls of Eternal Frost and has various spell-casting animations:


(Click to enlarge.)

Eventually he spawns two even tinier pets. Then he turns towards you, does the /rude emote and then they all stand there and stare at you :P


(Click to enlarge.)

You can’t accuse him of being undergeared, however — he’s wearing the Filament of Nightmare (T3 crafted staff):


(Click to enlarge.)

Pet: Emperor Scorpion

This pet dropped from a green cache; the pet itself doesn’t seem to be bind-on-pickup either, so I guess you could even buy one on the trader. The description says it’s a “giant scorpion”, which in practice turns out to mean that it’s about the same size as the regular scorpion mobs in Kheshatta.


(Click to enlarge.)

Mini-Pet: Undead Guardian

Just like the scorpion, this one also dropped from a green cache and doesn’t seem to be bind-on-pickup. The description says that “his social skills are questionable at best”, and indeed he has various silly and rude emotes and animations, including the famous drunken piss emote:


(Click to enlarge.)

In fact this is pretty much the same behavior as the Corrupted Self pet from Xibaluku; just the model of the pet is different (and smaller), and it wears different armor.

Mini-Pet: Queen Cao-Polyphya

This pet dropped from a Mystical Excavator’s Kit.


Note: the pet is the ugly malevolent hag on the left,
not the beautiful guardian on the right :P (Click to enlarge.)

She does various emotes and has a couple of magic-looking animations:


(
Click to enlarge.)

Mini-Pet: Acheronian Raider

This pet dropped from a green cache. He doesn’t seem to do anything particularly interesting, just a few emotes such as /track and /poundchest.


(Click to enlarge.)

Mini-Pet: Deep Walker

This pet dropped from a Mystical Excavator’s Kit. It’s one of the adds from the General Arman fight in Ardashir Fort. It doesn’t do anything interesting, except turning left and right every now and then in a vaguely paranoid way.


(Click to enlarge.)

A bit of statistics

I haven’t really opened enough caches yet to be able to collect any reliable statistics; and besides, it’s possible that some of the drop rates were changed in the 4.1.5 patch. But we can at least have a rough idea of what things can drop from what kinds of caches.

Unopened Chest (green)

This cache can drop one or two of the following things:

What How many times it dropped
3 Daggamalt 21
3 Sweetpressed Haste 15
3 Moonspill 17
Manual of Instruction [2000 Mastery AA XP] 21
Manual of Discipline [10000 Mastery AA XP] 10
Flask of Completion [20000 Mastery AA XP] 2
2 Ta Neheh Leaf Elixir 4
2 Kingsmight Ale 5
money (1–5 silver) 34
an old-world level 80 blue BoE item (not from one of the level 70–80 sets); e.g. I got a Freestrider Tasset and a Deathvigil Tunic 2
Pet: Shredder 1

When we say that two of these things can drop, they can be the same thing twice, so you might get e.g. 6 Daggamalt from one chest. The table above shows 132 drops from opening 117 caches, so a double drop occurred in 15 caches.

It seems that food drops take your class into account, but potions don’t: my guardian sometimes gets Moonspill (mana potion), but never Bloodpurple Ale (mana food).

I guess that other pets besides the Shredder are also possible, but they haven’t dropped for me yet.

It would be interesting to learn more about the distribution of the amount of money that can drop from these caches, but this is complicated by the fact that if the cache decides to drop two things, and both of those things happen to be money, the game will show you just the total amount and not each individual drop. So what we would expect to observe in our data is really a mixture of two uniform distributions: one for regular money drops and one (with a smaller probability) for double drops. It is well known that many money drops in the game follow a uniform distribution of the form [a, 3a]; however, this can’t be the case here because the lowest money drop I’ve seen from these caches was 1.0062 silver, and on the other hand I once got 3 Daggamalt + 3.6016 silver from the same cache, so a regular (i.e. non-double) drop can clearly go at least up to 3.606 silver. What is more, if an individual drop can be up to 3.6 silver, you’d expect a double drop to go up to 7.2 silver, but the highest drop I’ve ever seen was 4.9216 silver. Indeed the distribution of money drops I’ve seen so far doesn’t look like a mixture of two uniform distributions, but like a single uniform distribution on the range from 1 to 5 silver. But I have just 34 data points so far, so it’s hard to be really sure about anything.

Acheronian Cache (blue)

Here are the results after opening 56 blue caches on my guardian. Again each cache can drop 1 or 2 of the following:

What How many times it dropped
money (10–46 silver) 3
Food:
2 Ta Neheh Leaf Elixir 8
2 Kingsmight Ale 1
Green armor:
Pharaoh’s Guard Gloves 1
Pharaoh’s Guard Goldmail 1
Pharaoh’s Guard Helm 2
Pharaoh’s Guard Shenti 1
Pharaoh’s Guard Sleevelets 1
Blue armor:
Belt of Red Ruin 3
Belt of the Fallen Empire 3
Greaves of Red Ruin [feet] 4
Greaves of the Fallen Empire 4
Rerebrace of Red Ruin [shoulder] 6
Rerebrace of the Fallen Empire 7
Tasset of Red Ruin [legs] 8
Tasset of the Fallen Empire 8
Purple armor:
Vambraces of the Fallen Empire [wrist] 1
Buffs:
Elixir of Guile [73 crit rtg] 4
Elixir of Invigorative Rejuvenation [15 nat stam regen] 3
Elixir of Precision [73 hit rtg] 2
Refined Elixir of Precision [183 hit rtg] 1
Pets:
Mini-Pet: Demigod 1
Pet: Living Statue 1

Oddly, I’ve never seen a case of a double food drop, e.g. getting 4 Ta Neheh Leaf Elixir or something like that. I also never saw a double drop of blue/purple armor pieces, though I did see a green + blue armor drop or 2 green armor drops. I guess that with more data, the missing combinations might also show up. It’s also very odd that stamina food is so rare compared to HP food.

The Pharaoh’s Guard is a green social set that is also available in the item shop — it’s been available there pretty much ever since the item shop was introduced. Currently it doesn’t seem to be available individually but only as a part of the ‘Hyborian Steel Style Pack’ (which includes two other social sets). It seems to consist of seven parts: in addition to the five in my above table, there are also boots and shoulders. (In fact I got the boots from a blue cache on my ToS.) The armor set has a Stygian style and is somewhat similar to ToS culture armor (Stygian Deathcoil; in fact the legs appear to be completely identical).

For the money drops, we have far too little data to say anything concrete. I saw 3 money drops on my guardian: 10.8027 s, 10.4923 s and 46.0483 s; the first two dropped together with an armor piece, while the third one dropped by itself so maybe it’s intended as a double drop. I also saw one drop of 34.5042 s on my ToS.

The Elixirs are part of the same system that has been in the game for a long time. They are all 4-hour buffs and persist through death; the Refined ones are blue instead of green and give you twice the stat modifier of their green counterpart.

Probably there are more pets and purple armor drops than shown in the above table; I’ll update it as I get more data.

Mystical Acheronian Cache (purple)

Here are the results after opening 36 purple caches on my guardian. Each cache can drop 1 or 2 of the following:

What How many times it dropped
Blue potions:
5 Potent Daggamalt 4
5 Dire Sweetpressed Haste 3
Purple armor:
Cuirass of the Fallen Empire [chest] 1
Gauntlets of the Fallen Empire 1
Helm of the Fallen Empire 2
Mask of Red Ruin 1
Vambraces of the Fallen Empire [wrist] 3
Other purple gear:
Ring of Ancient Python 1
Claw of the Death Master 1
Buffs:
Refined Elixir of Guile [183 crit rtg] 1
Refined Elixir of Invigorative Rejuvenation [30 nat stam regen] 1
Refined Philtre of Constitution [+5% con] 11
Refined Philtre of Strength [+10% str] 10
Other:
Minor Elixir of Resurgence [self-rez buff] 3
Phial of Tranquility [1 Expertise point] 2
Pet: Scorpion Archer 1

I’ll never understand how they imagine an elixir that gives you 30 stamina every four seconds — it would still be utterly worthless at twenty times the amount — to be equivalent to one that increases your critical chance by 5%…

The Ring of Ancient Python is a nice protection ring (52 con, 52 hit rtg, 267 protection) which, as far as I know, can drop pretty much for any class. It uses the same model as Devourer’s Ring of the Abyss (a protection ring from the Amphitheatre of Karutonia).

The Claw of the Death Master is a decent one-handed blunt (116.1 dps, 86 str, 47 hit rtg, 47 crit rtg, 55 crit dmg rtg). Judging by the name, it seems to be intended as a DPS-oriented weapon (the Death Master is also the name of the barbarian light armor set, see above), but it would also be good for a tank. Just like the ring, this blunt weapon also reuses an old model: identical looking weapons include Bonemaim (level 78 old-world BoE blue) and the Gargantuan Fist (which used to drop from the Gargant in the old Scorpion Cave; that boss is gone in 4.1.4 but presumably the weapon still drops from one of the bosses in the normal version of the dungeon).

See also the previously mentioned forum thread for other weapons and accessories that can drop from these caches, but note that the stats are now a bit different than what is shown on the old screenshots there.

Categories: Age of Conan, Gear, Vanity Gear

Scorpion Cave unchained

November 23, 2013 5 comments

Cave Crusher Tyrant

This is a boss that spawns after you destroy a scorpion nest. It’s just a tank and spank fight; it’s mostly interesting because it drops an Antivenom Sac, which is needed to remove a dot in the Shah boss fight (see below). You should let the tank(s) get the Antivenom Sac first, though eventually if you kill enough nests, you can get enough sacs for everyone.

The Shah

This is mostly a tank and spank fight. Occasionally the boss casts Relentless Venom, which puts a dot on the aggro holder; this dot stacks and eventually starts hurting pretty badly, so the tank should click his Antivenom Sac to remove his dot. The sac has a bit of a cooldown and the boss reapplies the dot often, but you should at least be able to keep your dot to 3 stacks or less this way.

The scorpion nest in the boss’s room will activate during the fight and spawn waves of minions, so it helps if you tank the boss by the nest so that you can DPS both him and the minions at the same time.

Scorpion Archer Prince

Every now and then, he targets a random player and casts Berserker Toxin. The targeted player gets charmed (Will of Selket, 35 sec) and also gets a +500% damage modifier and +40% hinder movement (Berserker Toxin, also 35 sec). At the same time, an add called Scorpion Dominator also spawns.

The charmed player hits very hard due to his damage buff, so be careful that he doesn’t kill other people. You can cc him or kite him. Focus your dps on the Scorpion Dominator; once this add is dead, the charmed player gets uncharmed, but his damage buff doesn’t get removed, so he can now do very high dps on the boss for a few seconds.

This extra dps on the boss is very important in this fight since the boss has 2.4 million HP (update: reduced to 2.1 million HP in update 4.1.5) and a 5:30 minute enrage timer. So you should focus on uncharming people as quickly as possible (by killing the adds), thereby giving them more time to dps the boss with their damage buff.

Scorpion Zealot / Scorpion Abomination

This is mostly a tank and spank fight, but the boss also spawns adds (Scorpion Vessel), which you should kill as quickly as possible, otherwise their aoe (Evolve) eventually hits too hard.

At 50%, the boss transforms (from Zealot to Abomination) and starts doing crushing damage instead of poison, but apart from that the fight is largely the same. He has two new abilities:

Scorpion Sting is a frontal cone root; you can avoid it by moving out of the frontal cone.

Dread Claw is a powerful frontal cone aoe attack, which comes immediately after Scorpion Sting.

The tank can avoid both simply by moving aside during Scorpion Sting and waiting until Dread Claw is over; other players shouldn’t be standing in front of the boss at all.

Constantius the Falcon

Strangling Grasp = 70% hinder movement on people nearby (you can break LOS to avoid getting this snare, but the cast is fairly short); it is followed immediately by Constantine Revenge.

Constantine Revenge = big aoe (16k holy dmg on my necro) over a wide area; people shouldn’t hope to outrun it, and they must break line of sight before the cast is finished. This is made more difficult by the fact that they are probably snared from Strangling Grasp. You should tank the boss near a rock or pillar or something of that sort to make it easier to break the line of sight.

A tank with good protection can stay next to the boss and use cunning deflection instead of having to run out and break line of sight. This is useful since he can then cc the boss quickly during Constantine Renewal (see below).

Note that the Constantine Revenge also hits any undestroyed scorpion nests within their range. This can eventually destroy the nests and cause Cave Crusher Tyrant bosses to spawn during the Constantius fight. So if you wiped a few times on Constantius, check the health of the nests before the next pull.

Constantine Renewal = comes immediately after Constantine Revenge; this is a massive channeled heal, 60581 points every 3 sec. Fortunately the boss is CCable during this time, so you should CC him to interrupt the heal as quickly as possible.

Float Away = knockback on the aggro holder; it occurs in the middle of the cast rather than at the end. This is a good moment to swap aggro, to prevent the boss from moving to the knockbacked tank (or, even better, you should tank him with your back to a wall). The aggro holder can also doubletap before being kb’ed to shorten the amount of time until he can move again.

Touch of the Grave = frost damage, single-target attack on the aggro holder + it drains all his mana.

The rest of his attacks are slashing white hits on the aggro holder.

He has 1.5 million HP (update: reduced to 1.42 million HP in update 4.1.5) and a 6:30 enrage timer, so the key thing here is to make sure people stay alive (during Constantine Revenge) and to interrupt his heals quickly (Constantine Renewal).

Caravan Raiders’ Hideout unchained

November 21, 2013 9 comments

This dungeon has been changed a fair bit compared to its original normal version (I’m not sure if the same changes have also been made to the normal level 80 version or just to the unchained level 85 version). Prince Abaddon, the fifth boss, has been replaced by a Demigod of Acheron; the shape of the tunnels has changed a bit, and a door has been added which now forces you to cycle through the dungeon in one particular direction and not in the opposite direction.

Blood for the Blood God

Each of the first four bosses here (Jathred, Medjian, Sethik, Vral), when his health drops to 10%, starts casting a spell called Blood for the Blood God. This does a (weak) aoe on the players, and at the end of the cast the boss kills himself and puts a debuff on all the players. This debuff is called X’s Ritual Mark, where X is the name of the boss. The debuff persists through death but it can be removed by going into the throne room where the Demigod of Acheron will appear later (or where Prince Abaddon used to appear in the original version of the dungeon; but there didn’t use to be a throne there before, IIRC).

If a player has all four debuffs on him, they are replaced by a single debuff (Acheronian Blood Ritual Mark), which has the same properties as all four individual debuffs put together. Having this new combined debuff allows a player to spawn the Demigod of Acheron by clicking the dinosaur head in the throne room.

However, the debuffs can be very annoying for actually fighting the other bosses; for example, Jathred’s Ritual Mark is a -50% received healing modifier, and you don’t really want e.g. your tanks to be tanking the remaining bosses with that. So what you should do is to have just one DPSer collecting these debuffs, while all the other players in your group go to the throne room after each fight to clear their debuffs.

If you kill a boss before he is finished casting Blood for the Blood God, you won’t get his corresponding debuff and thus you won’t be able to spawn the Demigod of Acheron.

Jathred the Life-Drinker

First phase: tank and spank the boss; he does physical damage; occasionally he runs up the slope and to the right, and starts channeling Sanguinary Revival. This heals him up quite quickly. To interrupt this heal, one of the players should run below the three little waterfalls of blood on the right side of the room. Once the player has done this, he can’t do it again in the same fight, so you should set up an order of doing this beforehand. Going below the blood streams also gives you a -20% received healing modifier, so you should put the tanks last in this order.

Note that when he runs up to start Sanguinary Revival for the first time, it’s likely that he is at 100% or nearly 100% health even before he starts casting Sanguinary Revival (because you didn’t have much time to DPS him and some of the adds might have put a heal on him as well). In that case there’s no point in interrupting this heal — better keep all players available to interrupt the heals later in the fight (as each group member can only do it once).

Second phase: starts when the boss reaches 35% health. Now he will spawn two adds every now and then; they are ranged and hit annoyingly hard, so the players should focus on tanking and killing them.

In this phase, you don’t tank or DPS the boss. Instead, the boss occasionally casts Mark of the Life Drinker on a randomly chosen player. He starts chasing this player around the room and if this player gets hit by the boss, the boss will heal up quite massively. So it’s important that the targeted player starts kiting the boss immediately and keeps a distance from him. Meanwhile other players should deal with the adds, especially because the adds can otherwise snare (and DPS) the kiter.

To make kiting easier, you can snare or root (but not stun) the boss during this phase.

A good way of kiting the boss is to run up the ramp and to the left, and then carefully jump down, to avoid taking too much fall damage and getting too long a snare from the fall.

In the second phase, you just have to focus on kiting him correctly (to prevent him healing up) and dealing with the adds; you don’t have to actually tank or DPS him as he’ll lose health automatically anyway.

Medjian the Unholy

This boss does magic damage, so tanks should wear protection gear. In fact it’s useful if everyone wears gear with lots of HP and possibly protection.

Frost Void = aoe attack centered on the boss; move away, out of the circle which you’ll see spawning on the ground.

Forgotten Soul = means that the boss will start spawning skulls. This is followed by one or more Soul Binder casts, each of which is targeted on a different random player.

For each Soul Binder, a skull spawns from one of the four sarcophaguses and starts following the player that was targeted by that Soul Binder cast. This player has to click the sarcophagus from which the skull emerged; this will despawn the skull.

If the player clicks any of the other sarcophaguses, he gets KB’ed. If the skull reaches him (or touches any other player), the boss heals up by about 10%, so it’s very important to avoid this. (Players touched by the skull also take some damage and receive a −100% unholy invulnerability debuff (Bound Soul).

So if you’re the one targeted by Soul Binder, it’s best to walk around the outer edges of the room, behind the sarcophaguses, until you reach the correct sarcophagus and click it. Don’t lead the skulls through the middle of the room (where the other players are tanking and spanking the boss meanwhile). Don’t waste too much time walking around while the skull is following you, as it eventually gets faster and faster and will catch up with you.

Ideally you should move near the entrance of the room when the boss starts casting Forgotten Soul; this way you’ll be a bit farther away from the sarcophaguses, which means you’ll have more time to start kiting the skull if it happens to target you.

Initially there’s just one skull, later the boss will spawn two or even three at a time. To make it easier to figure out which player has to click which sarcophagus, they are color-coded: the sarcophagus has a colored particle effect, and the player has a particle effect of the same color as the sarcophagus which he must click. The problem is that all these colors look like different shades of black, so they aren’t that easy to tell apart. Still, with a little practice, red and green are easy to recognize, and then of the remaining two you can easily tell yellow apart from black because yellow is lighter after all.

If you look from the entrance towards the boss, the sarcophagus colors are as follows: yellow = near right; black = near left; red = far left; green = far right.

Sethik Bloodblade

The boss stands in the middle of a room, surrounded by about 6 adds (I’ll call them dogs although I suspect they are really hyenas). Don’t charge the boss — that would activate all the dogs as well, and they are group mobs and will wipe you quickly. Instead, stay near the wide pillar at the entrance of the room and fight the boss there; pull him with Irritate.

Incapacitate Foe = frontal cone knockback, you can move out of the cone.

Capture = the boss targets a random player while casting this. The targeted player gets rooted and one of the dogs wakes up and locks its aggro on this player. So if the player is one of the squishies, he’ll have to kite the dog around the pillar. The root lasts 10 seconds, but it’s really a ruin (Capture Ruin) so you can remove with with Steadfast Faith. Various other anti-root abilities also work on it.

Order: Kill = when the boss casts this spell, the dog gets a +250% damage modifier and +50% hinder movement; so it will hit very hard, but on the other hand it will be easier to kite. A squishie gets one- or two-shotted by the dog when it gets buffed like this, so it’s best to just kite the dog all the time.

Order: To the Death = this seems to cause the dog to change its aggro lock to a different player.

So just kite the dogs and DPS them, and also DPS the boss meanwhile. He will wake up new dogs on a regular basis, so you should put enough DPS on the current dog to kill it before the next one is activated. On the other hand the boss also has an enrage timer (5 minutes), so don’t neglect DPS on him either.

Vral the Wrathful

The boss stands on a platform and you should stand on the same platform while fighting him (with one exception, on which more below), or you will take very heavy damage (probably some sort of retributive damage from his Ritualist’s Shield buff).

Invocation = activates some of the candles on the edge of the platform. These candles buff the boss’s DPS, so you should destroy them as quickly as possible. The candles don’t actually take regular damage, but your attacks drain their mana instead; the candle gets deactivated when its mana is down to 0%.

As the fight progresses, the candles get harder and harder to kill (initially each point of damage done by your attacks drains 5 points of the candle’s mana, but later this drops to 4, 3, 2 and finally 1), so make sure to focus enough DPS on them. The way the candles buff the boss is nonlinear (1 candle = 10%; 2 candles = 20%; 3 candles = 40%; 4 candles = 60%; 5 candles = 80%; 6 candles = 150%; 7 candles = 200%); having him buffed by 3 or so candles is tolerable enough, but at 6 candles he gets unsustainable.

Every 25%, he starts casting Reign in Blood. Trails of blood emanate from the players and start making their way towards the boss; when they reach him, he heals up a lot. To prevent him from healing up, everyone should stand near the edge of the platform as the boss comes close to 75, 50 or 25% health; then, when he actually reaches that percentage, everyone should jump off the platform. This way the blood trails will take so long to reach the boss that they won’t actually reach him in time and heal him. It’s a good idea to tank the boss near the edge when he’s close to 75, 50 or 25; he will run to the centre of the platform in preparation for his Reign in Blood Cast, and this will give you a little more time to jump down before he actually starts casting it.

P.S. Curiously, this boss was named Varl, not Vral, before the introduction of this unchained version.

P.P.S. I suspect this dungeon was developed by people with OCD CDO, because the bosses appear in proper alphabetical order :P

Demigod of Acheron

I’m still not quite sure what is the best way of killing this boss. I’d be interested to hear how other people are killing him — let us know in the comments.

Note that when you start the fight, everyone in the group gets a Acheronian Blood Ritual Mark debuff (see the Blood for the Blood God section above for more information), and you’ll have to fight the whole fight with this debuff.

In the first phase, the boss has the following abilities:

Withering = frontal cone aoe attack, it puts a poison dot and a debuff on you (-50% damage modifier, -50% received healing modifier), much like the Unknown in the Coils of Ubah Kan. To avoid this, just move out of the frontal cone. Note that this is the first ability he will use immediately after you start the fight. When you pull him for the first time, everyone will get ported in front of the boss, so be prepared to move out of the frontal cone immediately. For later pulls, it makes sense to have everyone stand behind the boss when you start the fight.

Tail Lash = a wide cone attack that hits behind the boss and on his right side. Either move in front of the boss, on his left side, or sufficiently far away from him (the cone doesn’t go very far). My ToS was getting hit by around 10-10.5k by it. In the first phase of the fight, Tail Lash always comes immediately after the fear (see below).

Will of Acheron = targets a random player and charms him. I’m not sure if Unbinding Charm works, but in any case you should just avoid hurting the charmed player with your splash damage.

Hell Barbs = his primary single-target attack; slashing damage.

Wail of the Darkest Dark = an aoe fear; it starts when the cast begins and ends when the cast ends. A Tail Lash will come immediately afterwards, so be ready to move to the correct side of the boss.

At 50% of health, two adds (group mobs) spawn in the boss room, while the boss himself goes out and starts casting Abyssal Revival, a 30-second channeled self-heal which soon heals him back up to 100%. He then comes back and the fight resumes. In this second phase of the fight, he still has the Withering and Tail Lash abilities, but not the charm and fear. Additionally, every 28 sec or so he casts Seasons of the Abyss, which is a huge magical aoe spell that will oneshot everyone (unless they have a bubble or immunity buff). This spell also ignores line of sight. If someone survives this oneshot spell, the boss casts it again not too long afterwards, etc.

To interrupt his self-heal (Abyssal Revival) and later his one-shot ability (Seasons of the Abyss), you will need to drop barrels on him from the bridge upstairs. You might remember that there are black spots on the ground in front of the boss room, and that mobs standing on the bridge upstairs used to throw exploding barrels on you if you stood near those black spots. Actually, you probably reached that bridge yourself at some point in your walk through the dungeon (on your way from Sethik to Vral). It turns out you can click those barrels by yourself to throw them down, and if you throw them down on the boss, you interrupt whatever he’s doing at the moment; including his self-heal or his oneshot spell. The boss doesn’t have to be exactly on the black spot for this to work; a couple meters away from it is still OK. Any players close to the spot will still take damage (and be briefly stunned) when a barrel drops, so they should stay away from the black spot when a barrel is being dropped.

The boss goes to one of the spots near the entrance to the altar room before casting Abyssal Revival; it’s always the same spot, so you know exactly which barrel to drop to interrupt his heal. Then the tanks will need to move him to a new black spot so that a new barrel can be dropped on him there when he casts Seasons of the Abyss; then you move him again and get ready to interrupt the next Seasons with yet another barrel, and so on until he’s dead. Note that you still have to DPS him in the second phase; the amount of damage he takes from the barrels is fairly small.

When moving the boss around in the second phase, there are a few things you should be careful about. If you try to run too far up the walls of the room, you might fall out of his aggro list, which can be pretty bad if you’re the tank. Other people must of course be careful to avoid his tail lash and withering aoe.

When tanking the boss in the second phase, it’s IME a good idea to keep him turned so that the wall is on his right side; that way, there won’t be any players there that could get hit by Tail Lash. The DPSers can be on the boss’s left side, and the tank should be in front of him; during Withering, he can move to the DPSers for a few seconds to avoid the frontal cone of Withering.

How do you get people up on the bridge to click barrels? One possibility is to have someone waiting up there from the very start of the fight. The advantage of this is that this player can drop a barrel as soon as the boss starts casting Abyssal Revival, so he won’t heal up at all; the disadvantage is that this player is not available downstairs in the first phase of the fight. Another way to get people upstairs is to use the pink teleportation circle that appears at 50% next to the dinosaur head with which you spawned the boss. It appears that this circle starts to work only after the two adds which spawned at 50% are dead, so by the time you can port someone up and have him click the barrel, the boss will probably have healed up to 100% already.

The main problem in the second phase of the fight is the fact that increasingly large numbers of adds start spawning on the bridge upstairs and attacking any players who might be standing there, trying to click barrels. There are several possible ways of trying to cope with this:

- Perhaps the most obvious idea is to port about 3 people upstairs and hope that this will suffice to kill the adds. However, in my experience, the adds spawn in such large numbers (and have so much HP) that even 3 people get overwhelmed. And, of course, the more people you port up on the bridge, the fewer you have left downstairs to actually DPS the boss.

- Apparently some people tried leaving 3 people upstairs on the bridge from the start of the fight. The first phase must be extremely slow and hairy with just 3 people downstairs, but the advantage of this idea is that people who were on the bridge at the start of the fight don’t get the Acheronian Blood Ritual Mark debuff, so they will now find it much easier to fight the adds on the bridge. But in my experience, if they go back down at any point, they will get the debuff then and it will be stuck with them for good (until they zone out etc.).

- Another idea is to have a soldier port up about 10-15 seconds before the boss will start casting the next Seasons of the Abyss; he should just ignore the mobs, run to the correct barrel and click it. The problem is that the mobs’ attacks are very likely to interrupt his clicking of the barrel; if this goes on for too long, the boss will finish his Seasons cast and everyone will die. Using a bubble helps to prevent being interrupted, but sooner or later your bubbles will be on cooldown. After he has clicked the barrel, the soldier should jump down (try to land so that the fall is not too deep, and that you won’t drop in the area reached by Withering or Tail Lash), heal up a little, and get ready to port again in time for the next Seasons.

- Another idea is to have a soldier on the bridge all the time, kiting the adds when he isn’t clicking a barrel. This can get a bit tricky because there are so many adds eventually, but often some of them reset while they are being kited. The adds also have an annoying tendency to interrupt you while you’re clicking the barrel; you might have to CC them or use a bubble to prevent that. Note that having one soldier on the bridge all the time typically means that just one solder is available downstairs for tanking the boss; this is doable with one tank and two healers if they are well geared. This seems to be the most common way of killing this boss nowadays.

Occasionally the boss forcibly teleports one of the players from the bridge back downstairs. IIRC someone said this happens if he feels that he can’t reach the current aggro holder. In any case, you should try to avoid this because it can interfere pretty badly with your barrel-clicking efforts.

A small historical note: before 4.1.5, you could also do this fight by leaving the yellow mobs on the bridge alive, which then meant that you could get *them* to drop barrels simply by having any player move close to the black spot where you had positioned the boss. Thus you didn’t have to send players to the bridge at all. However, the yellow mobs no longer drop barrels during the Demigod fight, so you should just kill them along with all the other mobs on the bridge.

Apart from the usual Acheronian Chests, the boss drops one of four possible purple cloaks with very nice stats:

All cloaks look very similar, with small variations in color:


Abyssal Cloak of the Death Master


Abyssal Cape of the Fallen Empire


Abyssal Cloak of the Hell Walker


Abyssal Cloak of Crimson Slaughter

Halls of Eternal Frost unchained

November 21, 2013 5 comments

Spirit of Un Nefer

There are four mobs with this name, and although they are labelled as bosses in the game, they are really more like minibosses.

Their primary single-target attack does electrical damage, so the tanks should use protection gear. Apart from this, each of them spawns a different kind of adds:

1. The first Spirit casts Raiseth the Dead, which spawns several solo adds (easy to kill).

2. The second Spirit casts Awakening, which spawns several minions (even easier to kill).

3. The third Spirit also casts Awakening, but this now spawns a group trashmob (Living Statue); it can be cc’ed.

4. The fourth Spirit also casts Awakening, which now spawns a group trashmob named Risen Bloodhunter. This add can’t be cc’ed.

The Risen Bloodhunter will occasionally petrify (i.e. stun) one of the players; anybody can unstun a petrified player by clicking him, as if he was a clickable object.

After you’ve killed all 4 spirits, you should click the sands on the balcony as you’ll need them for the Acheronian Warlord fight later. Every player in the group should pick up the sand.

You should also break the urn on the balcony. This will cause the Soul of Un Nefer to spawn (see below). After this point, some of the statues in the dungeon will start becoming active when you move near them, so be careful when moving through the dungeon again.

Soul of Un Nefer

This boss spawns after you break the urn on the balcony; you’ll find him waiting for you in the first big room just after where you killed the first Spirit.

He doesn’t actually hit you by himself. Instead, he spends all of his time spawning adds, using the four abilities that we saw earlier on the Spirits of Un Nefer. So you’ll be getting some minions, some solo mobs and some group mobs — make sure to tank the group adds so that they won’t kill the squishies. As before, the Bloodhunter adds can petrify people, and you will have to click the petrified player to unstun him.

If the boss activates all the statues in the room before you kill him, everyone gets oneshotted.

Acheronian Warlord

- Dealing with the statues and Shatterfield

The boss stands in the middle of the room, and there are 8 statues around him: 4 in the corners and 4 on the sides of the room. Each statue has a Gift of Acheron debuff; at the start of the fight, this debuff has 4:00 minutes left on the corner adds and 2:30 minutes on the side adds. After a statue’s Gift of Acheron debuff expires, it comes alive and has to be tanked and spanked. To avoid having to do this, you should use the Shatterfield mechanic to oneshot the statues (see below).

Occasionally the boss casts a long cast called Shatterfield, during which he targets a random player. This player has to run to a statue and it will get oneshotted; if he isn’t near a statue at the end of the cast, the player himself gets oneshotted instead. Note that this only works on statues that haven’t woken up yet. You can also break line of sight at the end of the cast to avoid being oneshotted.

You should use this mechanic to oneshot the statues before they become alive; make sure to destroy the statues on the sides of the room first, and the ones in the corners later as they have a longer timer before they will wake up.

Other players should avoid being near the player that is being targeted by Shatterfield, or they will take very heavy damage (and likely get oneshotted). Note that this damage already comes during the cast itself, not just at the end!

- Using the sand

The boss has a heal (Acheronian Revival) running on himself all the time (without a corresponding icon above his name and healthbar), which heals him by 1% every 3 sec. To remove this heal, a player has to target the boss and click the sand (which you picked up earlier on the balcony, see above). This will not only block the boss’s heal but even put a dot on him, called Sands of the Ancients, which takes away 1% of his HP every 3 sec. The icon for this dot is easy to recognize, as it looks just like the ToS root (Quicksand).

Eventually this dot will expire, or the boss will remove it from himself by casting Cry of Acheron. At that point another player should click his sand, etc. The sand has a relatively long cooldown so it’s a good idea to set up a rotation beforehand; that way, you can keep the dot on the boss pretty much all the time.

- Other abilities

Flames of Acheron = frontal cone fire aoe attack by the boss, it hits very hard and the cone seems uncomfortably wide (in fact it sometimes feels as if at least a part of this attack is 360-degree aoe rather than any kind of cone), but it isn’t very long, so you might want to run away to be safe. I have the impression that Flames of Acheron always comes immediately after Shatterfield, and that it’s directed towards the most recently shattered statue.

Apart from that, he does physical damage (and crits quite a bit).

From protection to mitigation

September 16, 2013 1 comment

Protection is the attribute that enables you to mitigate incoming magical damage. Just as there are five different kinds of magic damage (holy, unholy, cold, electrical, and fire), there are also five corresponding kinds of protection: “protection (holy)”, “protection (unholy)” and so on. When you see generic protection without anything in parentheses after it, as is the case on many pieces of armor, feats, etc., this means that your piece of armor (or feat, etc.) will contribute that amount to each of the five kinds of protection.

Besides protection that you find directly on gear, feats, buffs, etc., you also get some protection from wisdom and intelligence. Each point of wisdom contributes 0.5 points of holy and unholy protection; each point of intelligence contributes 0.5 points of cold, fire, and electrical protection. Wisdom and intelligence come mostly from gear, though some of it is also innate (the exact amount depends on your class and level).


(Click to enlarge.)

In the above example, we have 1213 holy protection, of which (as it turns out) 450 came from having 5/5 points in Holy Wards (passive AA perk) and the rest came from our having 1527 wisdom (of which 190 was innate and 1337 came from gear). Similarly, we have 510 cold protection, of which 450 comes from 5/5 points in Frost Wards and the rest comes from our having 120 intelligence (all of which is innate — this was taken on a ToS, so my gear didn’t have any intelligence on it). I didn’t have any gear or buffs that would be specific to just one type of protection, so the amount of holy and unholy protection is the same, and the amount of fire, cold and electrical protection is likewise the same.

But what I’m really interested in today is the little floating tooltip next to the mitigation column. We see that our holy mitigation is 17.3%, so a hit that would otherwise (if we didn’t have any mitigation) hit us for 1000 points will now hit us for only 827 points of damage. But how exactly do we get from 1213 to 16.5%, and from there to 17.3%?

As you are no doubt familiar with if you’ve been doing any tinkering with combat-related numbers, the most important magic number in Age of Conan is 36.6. It occurs in all sorts of stat-related conversions and calculations. But when it comes to protection, the magic number turns out to be 73.7. You get the initial percentage of mitigation by dividing your protection by 73.7. Sure enough, 1213 / 73.7 = 16.4586…, which the GUI rounds to one digit after the decimal point and thus shows us 16.5%, as we saw in the above image.

After that, invulnerabilities get applied. Invulnerabilities are yet another set of stats, again one for each type of damage; they were more prominent in the pre-1.05 days than now. In my case above, I just have 1% invulnerability, which, as it turns out, comes from guild city buffs: Temple III and Architect Workshop III give you +0.5% invulnerability each, to all types of magic damage. (Tier I and II versions of these buildings give +0.2% and +0.3%, respectively, but it appears that these buffs do not stack.)

So a hypothetical incoming hit of holy damage that would hit us for 1000 points if we had no mitigation or invulnerability would, in our above example, first get mitigated by our protection, which would reduce it by 16.5%, leaving about 835 points of damage. This would then be further reduced by 1% by our holy invulnerability; now, 1% of 835 is 8.35, so that leaves us with 835 – 8.35 = approx. 827 points of damage. Thus you might say that these two things together, protection and invulnerability, have mitigated 1000 − 827 = 173 points of damage, which is 17.3% of the original 1000 points.

So you might say that our overall holy mitigation is 17.3%, and this is the figure that gets shown in the main part of the GUI (which is reasonable, since when you’re getting hit by an enemy, you probably don’t care very much whether incoming damage gets mitigated by your protection or by your invulnerability, as long as it actually gets mitigated).

Let’s summarize these things with formulas:

• Mitigation from protection, in %, is mp = protection / 73.7.

• Mitigation after applying invulnerabilities, in %, is ma = 100 − (100 – mp) · (1 – invul/100), where invul is the bonus invulnerability in %.

The magic number

But how did we get the magic number 73.7? And how reliable is it? To test this, I was swapping my gear around a bit and observing the numbers in the GUI.

At one particular combination of gear, I had 667 holy protection (most of which came 5/5 points in Holy Wards, and the rest from my 434 wisdom), and the GUI showed my mitigation to be 9.1% before invuls and 10.0% afterwards. Now, we know that these numbers are rounded to one decimal point for the sake of display, so the true mitigation after invuls can be anywhere in the range [9.95, 10.05]. If you plug ma = 9.95 into the above formula for ma (with invul = 1) and solve for mp, you get mp = approx. 9.0404%; if you similarly plug ma = 10.05, you get mp = approx. 9.1414. So from the fact that ma is in the range [9.95, 10.05], we can conclude that mp is in the range [9.0404, 9.1414]. But since the GUI showed mp as 9.1%, this means that mp must be in the range [9.05, 9.15]. Combining these two things tells us that mp must be in the range [9.05, 9.1414]. If we denote the ratio protection / mp by R, we now see that R must be at least protection / 9.1414 and can be at most protection / 9.05. Since in our case, protection was 667, this tells us that R must be in the range [72.9646, 73.7016].

I repeated this experiment with a different combination of gear, where I had 1006 holy protection (some from Holy Wards, some directly on gear, and the rest coming from my 812 wisdom), and the GUI showed my holy mitigation to be 13.6% before invuls and 14.5% afterwards. If we analyze this case in the same way as we did in the previous paragraph, we now see that R must be in the range [73.6996, 74.0476].

Combining both ranges tells us that R must be in the range [73.6996, 73.7016]. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s quite hard to imagine that the correct value of R is anything else than 73.7.

(I also observed the mitigation at numerous other values of protection and any R in the above-mentioned range would be able to explain all my observations.)

Extreme invulnerabilities

Incidentally, the way invulnerabilities work has some curious consequences. For example, the ToS bubble, Serpent Transmutation, is implemented as an invulnerability buff: it gives you +133% invulnerabilty to all normal types of damage (i.e. excluding things like fall damage, drowning damage and untyped damage). If we add 1% invulnerability from guild city buffs, we now have 134% invulnerability. This means that incoming damage is reduced by 134%, so it becomes negative and therefore heals you. You get healed by 34% of the amount that you would have taken as damage if you had no invulnerabilities.

The curious thing comes as a consequence of the fact that invulnerabilities are applied after the initial mitigation from protection. You get healed by 34% of the amount of damage that is left after it has been mitigated by your protection — so the better your protection is, the less healing you will get from your bubble. You can easily verify this by plugging invul = 134 into the above formulas, or by looking at the following screenshots. We had more unholy than electrical protection, but during Serpent Transmutation our electrical mitigation was higher than our unholy mitigation:


(Click to enlarge.)

Odd wisdom and non-integral protection

We said earlier that 1 point of wisdom contributes 0.5 points of protection. You might ask what happens if your overall amount of wisdom is an odd number. For example, 227 wisdom should theoretically contribute 113.5 protection. But can your protection be a non-integer? Will it get rounded to 114? Or maybe to 113?

That’s easy enough to test. Wearing nothing but Archpriest’s Gloves of the Underworld, my ToS had 227 wisdom (190 innate + 37 from the gloves), plus another 450 protection from Holy Wards. So theoretically my protection should be 227 · 0.5 + 450 = 563.5. The GUI showed my holy protection as 563, but the tooltip next to it says that my mitigation (before invulnerabilities) is mp = 7.6%.


(Click to enlarge.)

If we trust the 73.7 ratio that we established earlier, we can see that:

  • 563 / 73.7 = approx. 7.6391
  • 563.5 / 73.7 = approx. 7.6459
  • 564 / 73.7 = approx. 7.6526

If the game had rounded our protection up to 564 before further calculations, then the resulting mp would be above 7.65% and would therefore be rounded up to 7.7% when being displayed with one digit after the decimal point.

Walking around wearing nothing but gloves is a bit uncomfortable and makes horny people stare, so let’s put some shoes on as well! Boots of the Unutterable will increase our wisdom by 104, therefore our holy protection will increase by 52 and will now be 615.5. The GUI shows it as 615 and shows the resulting mp to be 8.4%.


(Click to enlarge.)

Just like before, we can see that:

  • 615 / 73.7 = approx. 8.3446
  • 615.5 / 73.7 = approx. 8.3514
  • 616 / 73.7 = approx. 8.3582

So if the game had rounded our protection down to 615 before further calculations, the resulting mp would be below 8.35% and would therefore be displayed in the GUI as 8.3%, not 8.4%.

So we can see that neither rounding down nor up can explain our observations — the game internally works with the correct protection value even if it isn’t an integer, and this value gets rounded (down, as it happens) only for display purposes (in the “Protection” column on the left).

Some related mechanics

While making a few tests on my guardian (on which more below) I noticed the following:

Bonus Protection: this stat (you see it e.g. on a guardian’s Mental Barrier maneuver or the Juggernaut ability) affects only generic protection, not the damage-specific kinds of it. Thus it also doesn’t affect the protection you get from wisdom, intelligence, or from the Wards AA perks.

Damage Mitigation: this appears as a stat on the tooltips of Defensive Stance and a guardian’s Defense tactic. In terms of how it affects magical mitigation, it seems to be nothing else than a synonym for invulnerability. If you switch to defensive stance, just add 10 to invuls in our above formulas and everything works the same as before.

Tests with the guardian also confirmed that protection is always rounded down for the purposes of display in the first column of the Magical attributes tab. At one point I had 3310 holy protection, of which 35 came from my 70 wisdom, 450 came from Holy Wards, and the rest was in the form of generic protection on gear, Stone Skin, and Chromatic Warding. Thus you would expect that 3310 − 35 − 450 = 2825 of this protection would be affected by Mental Barrier, and switching to it should therefore give us an extra 15% · 2825 = 423.75 protection, so our holy protection should now be 3310 + 423.75 = 3733.75. So you might expect the GUI to show the protection as 3734 if it wanted to round it to an integer, but in fact it displayed 3733.

High protection

I’ve made the measurements described so far on my ToS, but fortunately I then decided to do a few tests on my guardian to see if the formulas also work there. It turns out that the formula mp = protection / 73.7 that we’ve seen so far only works as long as the resulting mitigation is no higher than 50% (which happens at 3685 protection). After that point, the mitigation is no longer a linear function of protection; it’s something sublinear, but I didn’t manage to figure out the exact formula.


(Click to enlarge.)

Each dot on the chart represents one particular combination of gear (and buffs such as Mental Barrier maneuver and the Juggernaut ability, each of which gives you +15% bonus protection). The dots are of two different colors, but this difference isn’t really important. Blue dots represent spiritual protection (i.e. holy and unholy) and purple ones represent elemental protection (i.e. fire, cold, electrical) — they were different partly because my guardian has more wisdom than intelligence (70 wis, 60 int), and partly because I equipped a Quill of Ibis with an elemental protection gem (Sanguine Radiant Sapphire: +156 elemental protection). This was convenient as it allowed me to get two different data points from each combination of armor and accessories; and as we can see, both series of dots lie on the same curve anyway.

We can see how all the dots up to 3685 protection = 50% mitigation lie on a straight line; in fact this line is shown in orange below the dots, but it’s mostly hidden by the dots themselves. From that point onwards, the measurements no longer form a straight line, but a curve which grows more and more slowly. I showed two straight lines of different slopes for comparison, to make it easier to notice how the data is not on a straight line. In between those two is a curved orange line which fits the data a lot better, though not perfectly; it is based on the formula at the end of this section.

I suspect the origins of this nonlinear relationship go back to update 1.07; see the following post by a developer named Ilaliya, replying to people who noticed that their mitigation had been decreased [source]:

I apologize this was not in the patch notes.

In order to support a level-less expansion, we had to recalculate the section of the armor formula where armor values give above 50% mitigation (not including things like defensive stance). Note this change should only really impact soldiers who are in gear greater than T1. And even then, players will only be affected in most cases by less than 1%.

This change was to make armor much more future proof, in order to accommodate the substantial power increases obtainable through the expansion. Due to how %-based mitigation works mathematically, each additional % of mitigation is more valuable than the previous %. To illustrate this, consider that someone with 50% mitigation is taking half damage. 75% mitigation is taking half-damage of that, and 87.5% is taking half damage of that. The closer you get to 100%, the fewer and fewer % mitigation it takes to continually half incoming damage. At the extreme case, someone with 99% mitigation is taking half the incoming damage as someone with 98% mitigation.

When we raised the existing stat caps for the expansion, we found the existing armor formula scaled too quickly for the new values we wanted to give out. The armor formula above the 50% mitigation mark was changed as an outcome of this. Again, we apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused you guys.

He talks here about armor (and hence physical mitigation), but I suspect that the same thing happened to protection (and magical mitigation).

So perhaps the idea is that (once your mitigation is above 50%), adding a constant amount of extra protection should decrease your incoming damage in the same proportion regardless of what your initial protection was. Or in yet other words, it should cost the same amount of protection to move your mitigation from 50% to 75% as it would cost to move it from 75% to 87.5% or from 98% to 99%.

The proportion of damage that reaches us after mitigation is 1 — mp/100 (where mp is the mitigation in percent). Let’s call this quantity d. So if we had 50% mitigation, we’d have d = 1/2; at 75% mitigation we’d have d = 1/4; at 87.5% we’d have d = 1/8 and so on. If we take the base-2 logarithm of d and multiply it by −1, the result tells us how many times damage had been halved from the initial (unmitigated) amount. This quantity, − log2 d, is what we would expect (based on Ilaliya’s post above) to be a linear function of protection. Let’s explore this idea with a chart:


(Click to enlarge.)

Here we have protection on the x-axis and − log2 d on the y-axis. Thus y = 1 corresponds to 50% mitigation; y = 1.1 corresponds to approx. 53.3% mitigation; y = 1.2 corresponds to approx. 56.5% mitigation; and y = 1.3 corresponds to approx. 59.4% mitigation. The dots are based on the same measurements as the previous chart, except that they are all the same color and that those with less than 50% mitigation have been discarded. Unfortunately, as we can see, the relationship isn’t quite linear — our dots clearly don’t all lie on a single straight line. (The red trendline is a straight line, given for comparison.)

I tried a few other ways to transform the data in the hopes of finding some sort of elegant linear function somewhere, but without success. One of the best attempts was to use a logarithmic scale on both axes. On the following chart, the x-axis shows log(protection − 50 · 73.7) and the y-axis shows log(mp). The scattering of the dots on the lower left part of the chart might seem a bit odd at first but it’s just due to the fact that our mitigation values (as we see them in the GUI) are rounded to just one digit after the decimal point. The more annoying thing happens at the right end of the chart, where we can again see that the relationship between y and x is sublinear — the dots clearly don’t all lie on a straight line.


(Click to enlarge.)

So, anyway, I don’t have a nice exact formula for computing mitigation from protection above 50%. The closest one I managed to find is:

mp ≅ 50 + (protection − 50 · 73.7 − 15)0.892 / 78.55.

If you round the result of this formula to one digit after the decimal point, it doesn’t differ by more than 0.1 from the value shown in the GUI for any of my measurements (i.e. the dots in the previous charts). (The extra −15 subtracted from the protection helps with the accuracy, but it does mean that you can’t use this formula for protections below 3701. Between 3685 (= 50 · 73.7) and 3701 you can still use the old formula, mp = protection / 73.7; again the results, rounded to one digit after the decimal point, won’t differ from those in the GUI by more than 0.1.)

This approximate formula might be potentially useful for some rough calculations, but it isn’t really satisfactory if you want to be exact. The whole reason why I started this investigation of protection was because the mitigation rounded to 0.1% as shown in the GUI was too imprecise for some of my subsequent calculations. Now we have a more precise formula for mitigation below 50%, but above 50% our formula doesn’t really have any advantages over just taking the mitigation as it is shown in the GUI.

Dragon’s Spine armor sets

August 31, 2013 2 comments

If we don’t count the three social armor sets from the Sepulcher of the Wyrm, there are ten new sets of armor in the Dragon’s Spine:

  • Black Pharaoh (plate, defensive)
  • Dark Messenger (plate, DPS)
  • Haunter in the Dark (BS)
  • Howling Giant (ranger)
  • Ubah Kan (barbarian)
  • Oxmal (PoM/ToS, DPS)
  • Shivering Stars (PoM/ToS, healing)
  • Crawling Chaos (assassin)
  • Faceless Chaos (HoX)
  • Faceless Sphinx (demo/necro)

Each set exists in a blue and a purple version, but the purple versions are currently incomplete — no purple heads, chests, or wrists are currently available.

Unfortunately, the naming of the items is a good deal less transparent than in the case of Khitai faction armor. There, each item name started with a prefix from which you could easily tell whether it was blue or purple: for example, if a Scarlet Circle piece is called “Summoner’s”, it must be purple, whereas if it is “Neophyte’s”, “Thaumaturge’s”, or “Sorcerer’s”, it is one of the three tiers of blues.

Here in the Dragon’s Spine sets, there is no obvious naming convention that would reliably separate blue from purple items; for example, in the medium sets, blue shoulders are called “Arm-straps” and purple shoulders “Armbands”, while in plate sets it’s just the opposite (well, with a hyphen in “Arm-bands”); there is at least one case where the purple and blue piece have the same name (Grips of the Ubah Kan). At best you can hope to find a few heuristics here and there, e.g. all the purple legs seem to be called “Breeches”.

Where to get this stuff?

The situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that Dragon’s Spine is being released by bits and pieces. Initially, in update 4.0, things actually started off very systematically: you could buy purple shoulders and belts for rare trophies from the NPC vendor in the northern excavation camp; the first boss in the Sepulcher of the Wyrm dropped blue feet; the second boss dropped blue wrists; the third boss dropped blue legs and purple hands. Other items weren’t yet available.

Additionally, of the 10 sets mentioned above, only 7 were available at that time; Dark Messenger, Shivering Stars and Howling Giant were introduced in 4.1 only. The purple shoulders and belts for these sets were added to the NPC vendor, but the Sepulcher of the Wyrm loot tables weren’t modified to include suitable parts (blue feet, wrists, legs, and purple hands) of the three new sets; instead, these parts were added to the Coils of Ubah Kan loot tables. Additionally, the Coils loot tables contain purple feet and legs, as well as blue chests, heads, shoulders, belts, and hands, for all 10 sets.

Color Part Original 4.0 sets (Black Pharaoh,
Haunter in the Dark, Ubah Kan, Oxmal, Crawling Chaos, Faceless Chaos, Faceless Sphinx)
New 4.1 sets (Dark messenger, Howling Giant, Shivering Stars)
Blue Belt Coils
Chest Coils
Feet Sepulcher 1st boss Coils
Hands Coils
Head Coils
Legs Sepulcher 3rd boss Coils
Shoulder Coils
Wrist Sepulcher 2nd boss Coils
Purple Belt vendor
Chest not available
Feet Coils
Hands Sepulcher 3rd boss Coils
Head not available
Legs Coils
Shoulder Vendor
Wrist not available

The loot tables in the Coils of Ubah Kan are, unfortunately, not nearly as systematical as the ones in the Sepulcher of the Wyrm (although some patterns certainly do exist). It is even possible for the same item to drop from multiple bosses.

Appearance

A few months ago I was grumbling about how many of the House of Crom armor sets are very similar to each other, distinguished only by slight changes in color. In the Dragon’s Spine, the situation went a step further and many sets of armor look exactly the same. As it turns out, among the Dragon’s Spine sets the appearance of a piece of armor depends only on its weight: both full-plate sets look the same; both medium sets look the same; all three light sets look the same; and all three cloth sets also look the same. Furthermore, although each set is available in a blue and a purple version, both look exactly the same.

(Of course, I haven’t actually tried collecting and swapping around absolutely every piece of each of these sets, but I did try swapping around many of them, and in all those cases the above rule was confirmed: as long as the weight remained the same, the look was also the same, regardless of the set and color.)

I was initially somewhat taken aback at the idea that assassin and mage sets should look the same just because they both happen to be cloth armor, or that barbarian and PoM/ToS sets should look the same just because they both happen to be light armor; but on second thought we have to admit that this is nothing new — the same thing happened with many of the Khitai faction sets more than 3 years ago. (E.g. the Brittle Blade sets for assassins, HoXes, and demos/necros all look the same.)

Anyway, at least this makes it easier to collect a coherent-looking set for vanity purposes; you can mix blue and purple pieces from two or three sets, as long as they match in weight, and the result will be the same as if they had actually all been from the same set. So, as far as the appearance is concerned, we practically have just four sets here.

Full-plate armor

Two full-plate sets are available: Black Pharaoh, which is more defensive, and Dark Messenger (added only in 4.1), which is more DPS-oriented. (See my recent post for more.)

Medium armor

Two medium sets are available: Haunter in the Dark for bear shamans (rangers) and Howling Giant for bear shamans. Originally, only Haunter in the Dark was released in 4.0 and was thought of as a generic BS/ranger set, with generic combat rating; in fact those parts of it that were available then still have the same stats; but the parts that were added subsequently have more ranger-oriented stats (dexterity instead of generic combat rating). Howling Giant was released in 4.1 and has combat rating (2HB) on all parts, so there is no doubt that it’s a BS set.

Light armor

Three light sets are available: Ubah Kan is for barbarians, Oxmal is a DPS-oriented set for healers, and Shivering Stars (added only in 4.1) is a healing-oriented set for healers. Oxmal lacks heal rating altogether, except on the purple legs.

Cloth armor

Three cloth sets are available: Crawling Chaos for assassins, Faceless Sphinx for demos/necros and Faceless Chaos for HoXes.

Miscellaneous loot from the Coils of Ubah Kan

The following screenshot shows the Blade and Shield of the Black Pharaoh (tank sword and shield), but the devs employed the same level of economy in designing the weapons as they did for the armor, so that the Edge of the Ubah Kan looks exactly the same as the Blade of the Black Pharaoh, and the Shield of the Shivering Stars (healer shield) looks the same as the Shield of the Black Pharoah.

Here’s a screenshot of the Staff of Shivering Stars (healer staff), along with the Oxmal / Shivering Stars armor set. The mage staff, Totem of the Faceless Sphinx, looks the same.


(Click to enlarge.)

The Omni-Prophet (last boss) in the Coils of Ubah Kan drops several cloaks, which IIRC use the same models that were already made available in the item shop some time ago. The following screenshot shows the Cloak of the Black Pharaoh (153 armor, 556 HP, 101 protection); others aren’t exactly the same, but in a similar style.

And here is the Cloak of the Shivering Stars, which actually has more heal rating than any other cloak in the game (201 heal rtg, 80 wis, 10 hate dec rtg, 200 mana, 4.9 nat mana regen):

Categories: Age of Conan, Vanity Gear

Changes in Xibaluku in Update 4.1

August 29, 2013 3 comments

Several changes have been made in Xibaluku recently, probably in update 4.1, without any corresponding announcement in the update notes. Presumably these are some work-in-progress type of things that have been unintentionally and prematurely pushed to the live server. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to summarize the changes in a post. (See also the interesting forum thread.)

Changes in boss HP

Probably the most obvious change is that the amount of hit points for pretty much all the bosses there has been significantly reduced, by around 30–40%. (As usually, the HP measurements are only approximate.)

Boss Amount of hit points Change
Before After
Warlord Repadis 270 k 202 k −25 %
Master Gaoler Norach 238 k 151 k −37 %
Surberec 315 k 197 k −38 %
Acheronian Reaper 276 k 198 k −28 %
Balko 207 k 120 k −42 %
Martyr of Votantha 1178 k 744 k −37 %
Tia Shar 337 k 223 k −34 %
The Red One 302 k 218 k −28 %
Meskit the Fated 231* k 202 k —12 %
Iziel-Al’zeep 140–180 k 100–120 k −31 %
Jal Kor Bloodbane 355 k ?

(Some of the data is missing: I haven’t done any non-hardmode runs yet recently, so I haven’t seen Jal Kor yet either. The HP shown for Iziel doesn’t include his huge loss of health when the mirror is purified, and a range of values is reported since purifying the mirror doesn’t seem to always drop his HP to the same percentage. I’m not sure how reliable my pre-4.1 estimate of Meskit is; I couldn’t find a log in which I didn’t die during the fight.)

The latest combat log I can find with the old HP amounts was from April 2013, and it seems I haven’t done Xibaluku between then and this week. Some people in the forums say that the boss HP seemed normal as little as one month ago, which suggests that the changes were most likely introduced in update 4.1.

I’m somewhat disappointed by the nerfs to boss HP; in my opinion, Xibaluku was one of those places that didn’t require nerfing. I find it hard to imagine that the change from e.g. 300 k to 200 k would actually make a significant difference to anyone; even if you go there with a poorly geared group of newly-level-80 characters, anything that they can kill with 200 k HP they could also have killed if it had 300 k HP. And in the case of the Martyr of Votantha, it is now more tempting than ever to just tank and spank him instead of trying to deal with the platform puzzle, which is a bit of a pity (the platform puzzle has been fixed a long time ago so that it doesn’t require any jumping, merely walking, so isn’t unreasonably difficult now).

Loot changes

New epic accessories from Iziel-Al’zeep. Like before, Iziel drops one epic accessory, but the set of possible drops has been expanded. In addition to the Conviction of Will (magic damage ring) and the Fury of Iziel (combat rating ring), there is now a Might of the Wrathful (armor/con ring) and a Necklace of Thousand Souls (protection necklace).

I don’t think the new ring will be particularly popular, but the necklace is very nice; comparable to Scipio’s Necklace of Protection (45 con, 40 immunity rtg, 220 protection), which you get as a quest reward for killing Arbanus, but with a bit more HP and with armor instead of immunity. In fact I like the new necklace better than Scipio’s one.

Bone-Rattle of Gullah items. This is a social armor set that had originally been introduced for the fifth anniversary event a few months ago (May 2013). The five open-world raid bosses in that event would drop bags (called ‘pentasacks’), and opening them would get you various kinds of loot, among them this set. One particularly nice thing was that you would get the whole set (all 8 parts) from one bag.


Now it seems that at least some parts of this set drop in Xibaluku. In our recent runs, Iziel always dropped (in addition to his usual loot) one part (chest, legs, or head), and the Red One has a chance of dropping hands or wrists. I haven’t seen the other parts yet.

Other new social items. The (now separately killable) treasure chest behind Norach and Surberec can now contain (in addition to the usual loot) a social helmet called Mask of the Master Gaoler. It looks the same as the Nescient Helm (full plate protection helmet from Jal Kor / Iziel) and Frostmaw Helm (from the Devourer, Amphitheatre normal mode).

The Acheronian Reaper (rare boss upstairs) has dropped (in addition to the usual loot) a social belt called Reaper’s Loin Girding of Oblivion. This looks exactly the same as the Acheronian Convoker’s Belt (which drops from the Dimensionalist in Amphitheatre unchained). I haven’t seen any other parts of this new Reaper set dropping so far, and we only saw the Acheronian Reaper once in our recent runs, so I don’t know if he always drops a social item or only sometimes.

Other changes

Killable treasure chests. The treasure chest that becomes reachable after you kill Norach and Surberec is now a separately killable mob (which then drops a treasure chest with the loot), instead of a plain old treasure chest.

Likewise, Iziel-Al’zeep now doesn’t drop a loot box directly, but spawns a separately killable treasure chest (which then drops the loot box). One nice thing about that is that you no longer need to search for the loot box underwater — the killable chest now always spawns outside the pool.

Reduction of money drops. Formerly, each Xibaluku boss used to drop (in addition to the gear) around 3–4 silver per player (on average; if the group was full); this is a fairly standard amount for old-world level 80 group content. (See e.g. my posts about open-world bosses: 1, 2.)

Now, some of the bosses (Balko, Martyr of Votantha, Tia Shar) drop much less money than before — around 70 copper per player on average. Other bosses (Warlord Repadis, The Red One, Protector / Vindicator / Defender of Acheron) drop the same amount as before.

In the case of Iziel, it’s even worse; his new separately killable treasure chest contains almost no money (in our runs it was around 7 copper per player).

Reduction of trash mobs. Two mobs that were patrolling through Repadis’s room have been removed. This makes dealing with the trash at the beginning of the dungeon easier and less dynamic.

Boss levels. Whereas formerly bosses had various levels from 81 to 83, now they are all level 82.

[Update: according to the 4.1.6 patch notes, the changes in boss HP were unintentional and have now been reverted.]

Overpowered guardian specs

August 24, 2013 3 comments

Dual-wield polearms!


(Click to enlarge.)

Pole and shield!


(Click to enlarge.)

Bolts are for weaklings, real men shoot polearms from their crossbow!

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