I’m the first to admit that some character builds are stupidly powerful. These are usually the result of creative players scouring through character builder and looking for loopholes to exploit. I fall squarely into this camp. My feeling is that if I do my homework and find a really cool and atypical build that gives me an unexpected advantage then I deserve it. But every now and then a build or power gets used in a way that it clearly wasn’t designed for, and after much abuse Wizards steps in and updates the rules. The latest causality to befall this fate is the Daggermaster paragon path.
Earlier this week Wizards of the Coast released a sizable Rules Update (errata) and although it makes a bunch of powers and items clearer, it also closes the exploited loopholes in some build and powers. I know that I have three different LFR characters that need some significant rework following this update.
The changes that are likely to have the most significant impact to the most people are the changes to the Daggermaster paragon path and the changes to the Cleric’s Healer’s Lore class power.
For those not “in the know” about the Daggermaster here’s how it’s been exploited. Characters that can use daggers as implements multiclass into Rogue and choose the Daggermaster paragon path. The greatest benefit to doing so it that dagger attacks crit on 18-20. So if you’re playing a Sorcerer you have the potential to do crazy damage multiple times every round.
The clarification to the Daggermaster paragon path nixed the benefit of scoring a critical on 18-20 when using a dagger with any power other than a Rogue power. So implement casters (like me) who exploited this loophole are once again scoring crits only when we roll 20. So my choice of feats and items, many of which were made to boost damage on a critical, are a lot less likely to be as useful as often – which was clearly the point.
Up until now, I’ve been playing a Drow Storm Sorcerer, who at level 12 is capable of delivering over 100 points of damage on a crit. And with attacks that affect multiple targets, like the level 1 at-will Blazing Starfall, I can attack more than one target. Using this at-will attack I’ve hit multiple opponents, critted as many as three in a single round and delivered a combined 250 damage. I usually crit at least three or four times each encounter and the damage usually averages out to 65 per target. Add to that my Bloodiron Dagger’s secondary damage and the total damage gets even higher.
As a side note, the Bloodiron Dagger is another item that was updated this week. Fortunately it was just a clarification and it won’t affect the way I use the item (I was doing it right all along).
For those interested in the math, here’s how my critical damage gets so high. Lets look at my other level 1 at-will power, Acid Orb (since it does more damage).
- 1d10+19 normal damage
- 3d6 Sneak Dice
- +3d10 Bloodiron Dagger +3 (this damage is applied again the next round)
- +1d10 Devistating Critical feat
- +2d6 Exicutioner’s Bracers
- +6 Ring of Giants
So the maximum damage, including the sneak dice is 105 (29+18+30+10+12+6). However, the average damage without the sneak dice is closer to 65, and then the Bloodiron Dagger delivers another 15 points (average) the following round.
After reading these updates I realized that I’ll have to overhaul the entire character. I’m going to retrain his multiclass feat and choose a different paragon path. This may not be entirely legal, but Wizards nerfed the power that made me choose that paragon path in the first place so I feel I’m entitled. I’m also going to look at getting a Jagged Dagger, so at least I’ll crit on a 19-20. I’m sure there are other adjustments that I’ll make along the way, but these should keep the feel of the character despite the errata.
Healer’s Lore Update
The other update that deserves some mention is the Cleric’s Healer’s Lore class feature. The power lets Cleric’s add their Wisdom modifier to the hit points a recipient regains when that Cleric uses a power with the healing keyword. The update now specifies that Healer’s Lore only applies to healing powers that require a healing surge be expended. So powers that heal without expending surges, like the level 1 at-will Astral Seal, no longer benefit from this class feature. A Cleric with an incredibly high Wisdom no longer provides more healing with an Astral Seal than your surge value (which was often the case).
I don’t think this update is really that bad, even though it will impact a lot of characters. By providing such powerful and plentiful surgeless healing, I find that PCs never tend to run out of healing surges. As a result the other combatants give little forethought to the consequences of taking lots of damage. They assume that a strong Cleric will provide healing and they won’t have to expend many surges. It makes players reckless and gives a huge advantage to parties with optimized Clerics among their ranks.
What are some of the loopholes you’ve found and exploited? Are there any good builds left that haven’t been “fixed” yet? In a case like mine, the PC was built around this loophole and by closing it off I need to rebuild the character. How have you handled big changes to your class or paragon path?