Funcom’s approach to monetizing AoC has been despicably greedy ever since they first introduced the item shop about a year after launch. But with today’s changes, they have surpassed my wildest fears. All vanity items and a great many other things have been removed, prices on many of the remaining items have been increased dramatically, and you can now buy full sets of T3 armor as well as treasure chests which have a chance of dropping T4 and T5 raid tokens (rare as well as common ones).
And meanwhile the community manager has the unspeakable, bald-faced impudence to say that they only “streamlined the item shop and removed some clutter”!
Fuck off and die, Failcom, you worthless, pathetic excuse for a game company.
This is one of the armor sets that were introduced with the unchained dungeon system and parts of it drop from the various boxes that you get there, either as direct drops from bosses or as quest rewards from the quest to clear all 4 unchained dungeons. Bloodhunter is the assassin set.
One of the many wonders of Funcom’s software development is that somehow they manage to make some items look vastly different on the character selection screen than they do in game. This set is one of them. On the character selection screen, it has a hideous combination of colors, some parts are purplish and some are a sort of greyish green that can best be described as puke-colored:
Looks like a cosplay effort gone horribly wrong.
Fortunately, in game it looks almost completely black instead. That’s much better and especially suitable for an assassin:
And it looks even better without the headpiece and the belt
I was quite lucky with this set; I got the whole set after doing just 3 full unchained runs (i.e. where each run consisted of all four unchained dungeons), whereas on my guardian it took me about 12 runs to finish collecting the full-plate set and over 30 runs for the heavy set.
The HoX unchained set (Crimson Slaughter) looks exactly the same, as far as I know. And the demo/necro set (Hell Walker) looks the same too, except for the fact that it isn’t (nearly) black in game — it’s vomit-colored, same as on the character selection screen (another way to describe this set is by saying that it’s worn by Black Ring Reanimator mobs in BRC Wing 2).
So I’m half afraid that one fine day, someone at Funcom will decide that the badass black color of the HoX and sin sets is really a bug, and the set will be ‘fixed’ into having the same vomit color that the demo/necro set already has now.
Since all parts of the unchained armor sets are bind-on-pickup, the various caches only drop items from sets that are suitable to your character’s class. If you want to wear this stuff on a character from some other class, one possible option might be to farm Caravan Raiders Hideout in normal mode (i.e. not unchained). The bosses there can drop items that have the same names and appearance as those from the unchained armor sets, but not the same stats (for example, items from CRH normal mode don’t have any critigation). Another difference is that in the unchained sets, hands are always purple, but in CRH normal mode the hands are blue. I don’t know if the drops in CRH normal mode cover all possible locations; I’ve seen hands, belts and feet so far, but admittedly I don’t do CRH normal mode much.
Steel Behemoth is one of the two T6 full-plate sets. I recently got the last piece I was missing from it, so here’s a screenshot of the whole set:
If you went on a safari wearing this stuff, you’d either get molested by a rhino or shot at by poachers 😛
I actually rather like the look of most of the T6 raid armor sets, and I’m glad that the developers took the trouble to design new sets rather than just recolor old ones like they did in T5. Of course, they had to cut some corners anyway, and so for example the other T6 plate set (Warded Brute, the protection set) looks the same as this one, just in a different color (a kind of violet). One minor complaint is that for a full-plate set, it sure doesn’t look very plate-y. In fact the chest piece is delightfully revealing:
There are of course the inevitable clipping issues, or in case of the dangly bit in the front (which is part of the leg piece), they aren’t so much issues as lifetime subscriptions and charter memberships😛 Still, overall I’m definitely happier with the look of this set than I was with the T5 set.
In terms of stats, Steel Behemoth is a physical tanking set, with an emphasis on armor and HP; thus, it’s similar to the Courageous Souls set from T4, but with most attributes increased by 5–10% (the DPS and critical damage rating got a more substantial increase). In addition, wearing T6 armor gives you a buff called Emerald Lotus Coating, whose strength depends on how many T6 armor pieces you’re wearing:
- 2–3 items: 220 armor penetration, 152 spell penetration, 158 tenacity
- 4–5 items: 470 armor penetration, 330 spell penetration, 340 tenacity
- 6–7 items: 845 armor penetration, 590 spell penetration, 610 tenacity
- 8 items: 1250 armor penetration, 875 spell penetration, 900 tenacity
In addition, the buff includes some negative PvP stats to make T6 armor unattractive in PvP. For PvE, my understanding is that tenacity is only useful in T6 for now, since that’s the only place where mobs have critigation. Armor and spell penetration might also be useful in some lower raid tiers where the mobs have a lot of armor and protection (see also this interesting recent forum thread about penetration stats).
A rare panda boss spawns in Chosain, just southwest of the bamboo grove in the central part of the playfield (the one where you go as part of the quest chain to obtain your tiger mount from the Tamarin Tigers faction). I first heard of it (and of the unique thrown weapon that drops from it) when people were talking about it in the comments of my “About” page; since then I occasionally rode past that bamboo forest on purpose every now and then but never had any luck seeing it. So, more recently, I decided to look for it a little more deliberately, and yesterday I finally found it.
Take that, WWF!
There is a tiger mob (Wildwood Stalker) patrolling slowly south of that bamboo grove. If you kill it, it can take quite a long time to respawn, up to 2.5 hours when I was killing it. The impression I have is that this mob is a placeholder for the panda boss, so when you kill it (or you enter a new instance of the playfield), there’s a small chance that the panda boss will spawn in its place instead of a new tiger. The patrolling tiger spawns around (455, 755) and then moves in a sort of rectangle south and east of there.
So getting the panda to appear seems to be mostly a matter of killing that tiger again and again, and waiting for a very long time between the respawns. I was mostly standing at the nearby rock at (435, 775) and waiting, alt-tabbed away from the game. When the tiger respawns, its patrol route will soon bring it close enough to this location that it will aggro you, so I was simply standing there in defensive stance and checking back every few minutes to see if the tiger showed up or not. With some luck, I found find it nibbling on my guardian so I could kill it, but sometimes it had already managed to kill me by the time I got back into the game.
On one occasion I found my guardian dead but the combat log showed that she had been getting hit by a Panda, not by the Wildwood Stalker, which confirmed that I was on the right track Unfortunately, the panda had already despawned by then. After another day or two of waiting, I finally got lucky and alt-tabbed back into the game just as the panda was attacking me, so I could finally kill it.
The Panda was a level 83 boss and according to my combat log, it had around 22225 HP, which is just as one would expect from a level 83 Khitai boss. There’s a nice video on youtube where someone’s fighting the panda on a barbarian and almost gets killed by it so I was sort of expecting a harder fight than it turned out to be. (Incidentally, that video also shows that the panda appears in a sort of impromptu miniature bamboo grove, which then promptly disappears. I didn’t see that one myself, probably because it was already gone by the time I had alt-tabbed back into the game.)
The panda boss does have a few interesting abilities: occasionally it casts a buff called Bamboo Grove (+20% evade chance, +50 damage deflection for 20 sec) and eventually it got another buff called Shadow Style (-30% movement multiplier, +50% damage multiplier for 25 sec). Its white hits are crushing damage, but it also has an attack called Bamboo Paddle, which does slashing damage. When you kill it, you get a 12-hour debuff called Panda Killer (-500 charisma), same as from killing the panda pet in the new Pit Master’s Arena. (Charisma, of course, is a joke stat that doesn’t actually do anything. IIRC it appears in some other places in the game, possibly from one of the whores in Tarantia Common District.)
Another interesting thing about the panda boss is that it drops a thrown weapon called Bamboo Javelin with a unique 3-d model. Thrown weapons, of course, are largely a joke as well; they had some use in the very early times of the game, when most classes couldn’t use bows or crossbows until level 40, soldiers didn’t have the Irritate ability yet, so for some classes a thrown weapon was the only way they could pull a mob from range. But after these things were changed in update 1.05 or so, thrown weapons are mostly interesting as some sort of easter eggs, and by the time the Khitai expansion was released, the devs seemed to see them in such a light as well.
There is another famous joke thrown weapon in Khitai, namely The Rock (which drops from the somewhat uncommon mini boss in the Den of the Crowmen). I was naturally curious how the stats on these two thrown weapons compare. It turns out that The Rock is very defensively oriented (306 armor, 130 con, 99 hit rtg, but only 35.1 DPS) whereas the Bamboo Javelin is much more aggressive (62.3 DPS — twice as much as The Rock! — 86 hit rtg, 89 crit rtg, 93 crit dmg rtg, 61 hate increase rtg).
The introduction of the achievement system in update 4.5 has been an unexpected boon for my efforts to catalogue the world-drop blue loot. (For my previous posts in this series, see: level 10–19, level 20–39, level 40–49).
A large number of (moderately) rare open-world bosses were introduced for the Bane achievements, and these bosses always drop a piece of blue BoE loot, even in normal-mode playfields. The two big differences between them and the traditional open-world bosses that we’ve known since release are the following:
(1) From the traditional bosses, a blue drop is only guaranteed if you kill them in an epic instance; in a normal instance, a blue drop is very unlikely. By contrast, the new achievement bosses always drop a blue item, even in a normal instance.
(2) From level 40 up, the loot tables of the traditional bosses include 12 armor sets (see my old posts for screenshots: level 40–69, level 70–80), which account for around 90% of the items in these loot tables. So if you’re only interested in farming the other items, those which aren’t part of the sets, you’ll have to kill the bosses a lot more times than on lower levels because most of the time they’ll be dropping the set pieces that you don’t care about. The new achievement bosses don’t have these 12 armor sets in their loot tables, so the problem is gone.
This makes the new achievement bosses very attractive for farming the open-world blue loot. They do have one disadvantage, however: they are, in principle, rare — you have to kill a placeholder mob and hope that your boss will then spawn in its place. But in practice, they aren’t *that* rare, so farming them isn’t that much of a problem.
When the Khitai expansion was released, the old open-world blue drop system was extended with a number of new level 80 items — armor pieces (which do not form complete sets), weapons, and accessories. Unlike in the old world, these items did not drop directly from bosses, but had a small chance of dropping from various bags which you could get as random drops from mobs (not just bosses) or as quest rewards. I got a few blue items that way, but the drop rate is very low, and there was simply no practical way for an individual player to explore the whole loot table.
But now, these Khitai blue BoE items also drop from the new achievement bosses in Khitai and the Dragon’s Spine, so they are quite easy to farm and I was able to explore the loot table in the same way as in my earlier posts for low-level open-world BoE blues; I kept killing the bosses until I had seen each item drop at least five times. Who knows, I just might eventually do the same for old-world level 50–80 blue drops.
|Administer’s Gloves||80||light hands, magic dmg|
|Band of Introspection||80||str/con ring|
|Bands of Consequence||80||heavy shoulder, str/con|
|Belt of Adulation||80||cloth belt, str/con|
|Bracers of Evaluation||80||light wrist, magic dmg|
|Bracers of Quick Study||80||ranger wrist|
|Ceremonial Blade||80||1he, wisdom|
|Cloak of Flourishes||80||cloak, magic dmg|
|Dagger of the Ninth Rank||80||dagger, magic dmg|
|Dragon Grips||80||plate hands, str/con|
|Drape of the Headless Man||80||cloak, combat rtg|
|Examiner’s Skirt||80||cloth legs, magic dmg|
|Exemplar’s Breastplate||80||plate chest, str/con|
|Girdle of Courage||80||heavy belt, str/con|
|Gloves of Remark||80||light hands, str/con|
|Greaves of the Bold||80||plate feet, str/con|
|Hammer of Fortunes||80||2hb, con, combat rtg|
|Harmonious Sword||80||2he, con, combat rtg|
|Heirloom of the Barren Line||80||DT talisman|
|Helm of the Wise One||80||medium head, wisdom (WTF?!)|
|Helm of Tribute||80||ranger head|
|Hoop of the Fox Demon||80||ring, magic dmg|
|Intruder’s Wrist-straps||80||light wrist, str/con|
|Lance of the Province||80||2hb, con|
|Lively Bands||80||ranger shoulder|
|Martial Blade||80||1he, con, combat rtg|
|Master’s Bolts||80||xbow bolts|
|Mysterious Necklace||80||necklace, magic dmg|
|Officer’s Chestplate||80||heavy chest, str/con|
|Pendant of Longevity||80||necklace, str/con|
|Prefect’s Hammer||80||1hb, hate inc|
|Red Fletched Arrows||80||bow arrows|
|Ring of Leverage||80||ring, combat rtg|
|Shield of the Scale Mountain||80||shield, con|
|Shirt of Contention||80||light chest, str/con|
|Shoes of the Long Road||80||cloth feet, magic dmg|
|Silent Treads||80||cloth feet, dex|
|Skirt of Sustaining Fire||80||cloth legs, str/con|
|Staff of Justice||80||staff, mage or priest|
|Steward of Secrets||80||dagger, combat rtg|
|Stifling Cord||80||cloth belt, dex|
|Survivor’s Luck||80||necklace, combat rtg|
|Swordsman’s Shoes||80||HoX feet|
|The Fifth Arm||80||guardian polearm|
|The Rose’s Bloom||80||crossbow|
|The Subtle Disguise||80||assassin legs|
|The Two Cranes||80||medium wrist, con|
|Thickened Silk Rope||80||cloth belt, magic dmg|
|Tightly-woven Armbands||80||BS shoulder|
|Truncheon of the Lawgiver||80||1hb, magic dmg|
|Tunic of Talent||80||light chest, magic dmg|
|Waterbuffalo Horn Bow||80||bow|
|Wind of Battle||80||cloak, str/con|
|Wise Man’s Trinket||80||talisman, int|
An interesting difference compared to the old-world BoE blues is the absence of procs on these new ones — things like retortive revenge, sacrarial guard, and countless others. Such procs were a prominent feature of AoC combat and itemization at release; they were present on many pieces of gear and you could also get them from crafted gems. Later the developers seemed to change their mind; from the big changes in update 1.05 onwards, procs of that sort are more or less irrelevant, and none of the items added since then (including anything from the Khitai expansion) have them.
This is not strictly speaking an AoC post but I found it funny so I’ll post it anyway. Zhu-Khang is the NPC in Tarantia Noble District who offers to sell you thirty gold for the low price of forty gold. I was reminded of him when I saw the following package deal on Steam:
This is the Vanir counterpart to the post about Nemedian armor from a few weeks ago. Age of Conan contains a decent amount of low-level green Vanir-themed gear; much like the Nemedians, any Vanir mob can drop armor that is within a couple of levels of the mob’s own level. Most of this gear occurs across several levels, such that the different-level version of an item have different stats (and often also different names) but the same appearance. The lists below will try to indicate which levels each item is available on, but this information is probably a bit incomplete; there is so much Vanir gear that I didn’t explore it as thoroughly as I did Nemedian gear for my previous post. When not mentioned otherwise, the gear in this post is green and bind-on-equip.
Each sub-list below is a group of weapons with the same 3-d model, but different names (the corresponding levels are given in parentheses). Many of these 3-d models are used numerous times in the game for various quest rewards, dungeon drops, etc., and I don’t pretend to have collected all these variants; the lists only include those that I’m aware of.
- One-handed blunt
- Crazed Vanir’s Mace (41)
- Vanir Prospector’s Mace (45, 47)
- Vanir Raider’s Mace (23, 25)
- Vanir Avenger (80 blue bind-on-pickup) from Overseer Olik in the Vile Nativity
- Scoundrel’s Spiked Mace (80 green bind-on-pickup), quest reward from War on the Roofs, Tarantia Commons
- Skullcracker (31 blue bind-on-equip), drops from Commander Vakarr in Conall’s Valley (I’ve seen it in the epic instance, not sure if it also drops in the normal one or not)
- One-handed edged
- Vanir Aggressor’s Axe (20, 22)
- Vanir Beastmaster’s Axe (26, 28)
- Vanir Sentry’s Axe (24)
- Vanir Butcher Axe (80 blue bind-on-pickup) from Overseer Olik in the Vile Nativity
- Vanir Ambusher’s Dagger (21, 23)
- Vanir Flametender’s Dagger (25, 27)
- Vanir Oracle’s Dagger (31)
- Vanir Ritemaster’s Dagger (45, 47)
- Vanir Fleshcarver (80 blue bind-on-equip) from Overseer Olik in the Vile Nativity
- Two-handed edged
- Vanir Assailer’s Greataxe (40)
- Vanir Infiltrator’s Greataxe (20, 22, 24)
- Redspray (80 blue bind-on-pickup) from Tramplerage in the Onyx Chambers
- Two-handed blunt
- Vanir Basher’s Battlehammer (46)
- Vanir Cutthroat’s Battlehammer (20, 22, 24)
- Vanir Deathbringer’s Battlehammer (30)
- Vanir Reaver’s Battlehammer (28)
- Oxleg (80 blue bind-on-pickup) from Nefru in the Onyx Chambers
- Spinebreaker (29 blue bind-on-equip), world drop
- Icebreaker (32 blue bind-on-pickup); prob. a quest reward
- Remorse (50 blue bind-on-pickup); prob. a quest reward
- Malignant Crusher (80 bind-on-equip), old-world drop
- Vanir Beastmaster’s Shield (27)
- Vanir Champion’s Shield (31)
- Vanir Desecrator’s Shield (29)
- Vanir Raider’s Shield (21)
- Vanir Sentinel’s Shield (25)
- Vanir Warrior’s Shield (43)
- Vanir Champion’s Throwing Axe (30)
- Vanir Raider’s Throwing Axe (20, 22, 24)
- Vanir Reaver’s Throwing Axe (26, 28)
- Vanir Warder’s Throwing Axe (40, 42)
- Vanir Warrior’s Throwing Axe (44, 46)
- Throwing Axe of the Ziggurat (80 blue bind-on-pickup) from Narvi in the Threshold of Divinity
- Vanir Digger’s Bow (39, 41, 43)
- Vanir Lookout’s Bow (21)
- Vanir Master Scout’s Bow (31)
- Vanir Sharpshooter’s Bow (45, 47)
- Vanir Skirmisher’s Bow (23)
- Vanir Square Shield (80 blue bind-on-pickup) from Overseer Olik in the Vile Nativity
Each of these sets consists of 7 parts (everything except hands) at every possible level. They occur under two names: Vanir Champion’s (level 30, 32) and Vanir Warrior’s (level 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48). Regardless of name and level, all these sets look exactly the same.
Each of these sets consists of 2 parts (head and chest) at every possible level. They occur under various names: Vanir Assailer’s (level 40), Vanir Deathbringer’s (30, 32), Vanir Raider’s (level 20, 22), Vanir Reaver’s (level 26, 28), Vanir Sentry’s (level 24), and Vanir Sharpshooter’s (level 44, 46, 48). Regardless of name and level, all these sets look exactly the same. In the following screenshot I combined the two medium parts with the other 5 parts of the heavy set (legs, feet, belt, shoulders, wrists).
Each of these sets consists of 7 parts (everything except hands) at every possible level. They occur under various names: Vanir Ambusher’s (level 21), Vanir Berserker’s (level 27, 29, 31), Vanir Hunter’s (level 41), Vanir Infiltrator’s (level 25), Vanir Pathfinder’s (level 45, 47, 49), Vanir Skirmisher’s (level 23), and Vanir Warder’s (level 39). Regardless of name and level, all these sets look exactly the same.
Each of these sets consists of 7 parts (everything except hands) at every possible level. They occur under four names: Vanir Acolyte’s (level 20, 22), Vanir Mystic’s (level 30, 32), Vanir Ritemaster’s (level 44, 46, 48), and Vanir Runecaster’s (level 24, 26). Regardless of name and level, all these sets look exactly the same.
Vanaheim Conquest armor
This is conqueror culture armor; like other culture armor sets, it consists of 6 parts: the head, chest, and legs are level 78, and the hands, belt, and feet are level 79. These are all crafted blue bind-on-equip items and the recipes (one for the big pieces and one for the small pieces) drop from the Ghost of Rorik in Atzel’s Fortress. This set looks exactly the same as the Vanir heavy armor we mentioned above (except of course that it lacks wrists and shoulders, and on the other hand it includes hands, which the Vanir green sets lack).
In principle you could combine the conqueror culture armor with low-level green Vanir heavy armor to obtain a complete set (the conq culture set has hands, the low-level green sets have wrists and shoulders, and the other 5 parts are available in both sets and look identical). However, the result isn’t that great, in my opinion; as the following picture shows, the hands don’t go too well with the wrists.
This is a level 80 social armor set (containing all 8 parts) that drops partly from the Overseer Olik in the Vile Nativity and partly from Narvi in the Threshold of Divinity. It’s closely related to the Vanir heavy sets shown earlier. Here’s a screenshot of it from my old post about the House of Crom armor sets:
One of the Clan Vigdis vendors (in Conarch Village) sells level 39 purple chests using the same models as the green bind-on-equip sets we’ve seen above (to buy them, you need rank 2 in that faction): Housekarl’s Harness (light), Vanir Bloodied Mail Jerkin (medium), Pathfinder’s Jerkin of the Wilds (medium), Raider’s Feral War Coat (heavy).
Narvi in the Threshold of Divinity also drops a few additional pieces of armor (blue, bind-on-pickup, often with interesting stats, especially a high amount of constitution) that reuse the same models:
- Vanir Armguards of Subterfuge (heavy shoulder, using the same model as shoulders from the low-level heavy sets above): 446 armor, 102 critigation, 74 str, 40 evade rtg, 46 hit rtg
- Vanir Bracers of Deterrence (light wrists, using the same model as wrists from the low-level *cloth* sets above): 284 armor, 132 critigation, 75 con, 30 hit rtg
- Vanir Helmet of Vitality (medium head, using the same model as heads from the low-level medium sets above): 699 armor, 263 critigation, 96 con, 5 nat stam regen, 45 hit rtg, 48 crit rtg
- Vanir Boots of Rapidity (cloth feet, using the same model as feet from the low-level cloth sets above): 295 armor, 161 critigation, 65 con, 7.5 nat stam regen, 48 hit rtg, 58 crit dmg rtg, 5% out of combat movement speed
There are also several low-level cloth feet that use the same model as the feet from the Vanir cloth sets: you can get Frayed Padsoles (level 5, white) and Coarse Padsoles (level 10, white) from the armor vendor NPC in Tortage; green versions (with additional adjectives in the name, e.g. Dense Frayed Padsoles) in this level range also drop randomly from mobs.