A New Guide for New Dirges

Discussion in 'Dirge' started by ARCHIVED-Pattywak, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. ARCHIVED-Pattywak Guest

    First off, I'd like to say that this post is not for the Dirges who have been around the block a few times, this is for people coming back to the game after extended breaks or who are new to playing a Dirge.
    Welcome Dirges!

    The life of a Dirge is a complicated, but rewarding and fun one. This guide will help those of you who are new to this class, or have been away from the game for a bit. Before you read this too much, get to 90 with 250+ AAs (HIGHLY RECOMEND 280+!!!!) and you'll have a good start. I'll begin this guide talking about what it means to be a Dirge, followed by grouping and what we bring to groups, and finally delving into raiding and our roles there.

    First off, as a Dirge we are first and foremost Scouts. This means Agi is our primary stat and we look for DPS mod, Haste/Attack Speed, and Multiattack on gear. We like to get behind the mobs to be our most effective and we are right up it's rearend to melee. Secondly, we are Bards. Our role in most cases is to make others better at what they do. We rarely get the glory of seeing our name up in lights but we're always there to help. Most importantly though, we are built to assist melee classes. We have great buffs to help other Scouts, but our greatest strength lies in helping tanks. This seems to get lost sometimes, but Dirges really shine when we're in MT and OT groups supporting both melee classes and tanks.

    Gear and What to Look For:
    Gear is hugely important in Everquest 2. It is second only to AA's in factoring how well you can do your job . There are some very simply rules to follow, (many of these applying to all Scouts) that can help you tailor your toon.

    Green Stats:
    All gear in this game has a combination of green stats (STR, STA, AGI, WIS, INT). The most important green stat for scouts and thus Dirges is Agi like mentioned above. If it doesn't have Agi, than. In recent updates, this has become a bit confused, however. Right now, many jewelry pieces are coming with both Str and Agi. If there is both the Str (fighter) and Agi (scout) stat on a piece, then you have to look at the blue stats to find out who it's intended for.

    Blue Stats:
    In most recent expansions, blue stats are the cause of a lot of chaos and confusion. There are simply a LOT of blue stats to chose from. Our main focus as Scouts should be this:

    Crit Chance (You need 100+Crit Avoid of the mob to crit 100%. 300% will get you through Skyshrine EM raiding for the most part)

    Multiattack (Soft cap of 600, pretty easy to get there with Skyshrine gear. Up to 600, MA is 1 point = 1% chance to hit an extra time with autoattacks, meaning every 100% = 1 Extra hit. After 600 however, it takes 4 points of MA to = 1% chance to hit another time)

    Haste (Soft cap at 200 [200 Haste/Attack Speed = 125% faster autoattacks] but over 200, 30=1 Flurry)

    DPS (No real cap but seriously deminishing returns after 200 [100=100% more autoattack damage, 200=125%] so 250-300 is a good area to be until you get the left prestige line)

    Crit Bonus (additional damage to crits)

    Potency (% base damage increase)

    Flurry (This is a tough one to find. It's a chance to hit additional times after each Multiattack, we Mutiattack much more now-a-days so we also Flurry more. 100% is the cap)

    Ability Modifier (numerical base damage increase up to 50% base of any given ability, not great for scouts but still on the list of helpful)

    While Crit Bonus is hugely important for all classes, I put it so low for a very simple reason. Upgrades from tier to tier only jump .5-3% Crit Bonus but will jump 5-15 Attack Speed, DPS, or MA minimum. Also when an item shows up that includes an upgrade of Attack Speed, DPS, or Multiattack, that almost always includes an upgrade of Crit Bonus but not always the other way around. I would rather upgrade my Attack Speed, DPS, or MA by 5-15+ and lose a bit of Crit Bonus than the other way around, even with reforging. That's not to say I would drop my Crit Bonus 10% to get more of the other stats, never drop too much of anything when switching gear. If you get a chance at an item that will drop your DPS or Attack Speed completely but you would gain that much or more of the other, still look closely. With reforging, you get get it all back. In fact, I have almost all my DPS reforged to Attack Speed at this point because there's just so much DPS floating around on gear.

    What We Don't Need (aka what makes a piece for tanks vs scouts).
    Many Str/Agi piece will have a lot of the same stats on them, namely Multiattack, DPS, and Attack Speed. What makes a piece more for tanks than scouts is simple: Mitigation Increase, Block Chance, and Strikethrough. If any of those is on a piece, let the tank have it first. We're meant to be behind the mob, not in front of it. If the tank doesn't need it and it's a HUGE upgrade, ask if you can take it. Don't put up too much of a huff if your group would rather let a tank alt have it though, it's really meant for them afterall.

    There will always be some debate on the 4Sec or 6Sec delay of weapons. First off, always have the same delay on each weapon no matter which you chose. Secondly, 6Sec will give you more DPS over longer fights as it will make Rezzes and spells easier to get in without delaying your Autoattack, and now that Multiattack is actually on them they seem to be the better choice. That being said, 6Sec weapons under 92 are kinda crap when it comes to Blue stats so don't sacrifice too much to get them.

    Here's the big thing about adornments... I can't tell you what you should have in each slot because I don't know your gear, your group setup, your stats, or the content you're pushing into. These are very dependant on you as an individual. What I can tell you is that following the Blue stats above will give you a good guideline. Remember stat caps and if nothing else is useful, you can always go for Casting Speed or Reuse Speed (Preferably Ability over Spell) or Magical Skills. We are a hybrid class that has spells, especially our Debuffs, that can and will be resisted. That means Magical Skills (which you will never find on 80+ scout items) will give you very good returns.

    AAs for 90+
    So you've gotten to 90 (with the help of a merc, guildies, or some PuGs) and you want to hit up some group dungeon crawls, but where to start? First off, you'll want to make sure you make it to 90 with around 250 AAs (ideally you'll be over 280 and head straight to 92). This is going to help you be as effective as possible. But where to put those AAs? Well there are some key things you'll want to help yourself and, more importantly, help your group.

    One thing that I have seen far too often is splitting your AAs between things that could be important. Especially in the Heroic tree (and even in the Prestige), DO NOT split your AAs up into small amounts across more options, pick less places to completely max and specialize. This will help you far more than putting less than max points in more places. Take a look at how I have the heroic trees set up and you'll see what I mean.

    Here is a good start to your AA setup for grouping in 90 zones with 250 AAs: http://tinyurl.com/737xzns

    As I said, ideally you will have 280-320 AAs and can fill out everything more along the lines of this: http://tinyurl.com/7xzld5m or this: http://tinyurl.com/d62r5yw

    These specs WILL change when you get better gear, including and especially the MA line once you (and and more importantly your raid group) have 600+ MA.

    Now, there is debate over the best way to spec your first tree (Bard). This comes from an important mechanic that some classes are able to get in the AoE blocker (Ours is at the bottom of the far left line). This blocker will allow a Bard to stop their entire group from getting hit with any non-direct AoE for 30 seconds. The biggest thing that determines getting this is your group setup. If you often find yourself in PuGs or guild groups without a Druid, then you'll want to AoE blocker for some key fights. In Skyshrine and especially in raids, there are many mobs that have effects that can be prevented by AoE Blockers (Cataclymic Catalyst is cast by more than a few named in the new zones). I say that if you play with a Druid often that you may not want to get the Blocker. That's because Druids can get a blocker themselves that is an equal time with a far shorter recast and it has 100% Block chance for anyone inside it. That makes it a lot more powerful than ours and they can keep it up roughly 1/3 of the time. Make sure they use it! I highly recommend using the blocker spec (or at the very least getting an AA Mirror to keep this spec in) unless you have a standard group you play with that has a druid. If you don't have a druid, there are more than a few named mobs that will be more difficult because you don't have a blocker.

    The second tree (Dirge) is pretty standard. One thing of note is that Elergy of Reawakening (very bottom, far right) only gets 2 points. That's because with 5 points in each of your Rezzes above, 2 points will max out the health and power restored with a Rez. Anymore points into that, and you'll be wasting them. You are one of the few classes that can revive someone in combat with full health and power so make sure you take those points.

    The third tree (Shadows), again, is pretty standard. The only thing that may change in there are points into Offensive or Defensive songs. Most of that will come from what group you are in during a raid, but in groups I would suggest putting the points in Defensive songs but your offensive abilities. That's because this will help when you end up with a less than optimal group or a sub-par tank.

    For the fourth tree (Heroic) there are several choices here. The top line, I would suggest either Attribute Prowess as I have put or Spirit and Body (max health/power). I'd stay away from Ability Mod because as a scout, 40-60% of your damage is going to come from Autoattacking and Ability Mod is not going to help with that. The second line depends on your gear. I have put 7 into Crit Bonus and 10 into ability reuse because as Bards, we are half long-recast spells, especially our temp buffs. If you have the gear (in which case I don't expect you to be reading this for tips you may want to move 3 points over the Crit Bonus. The third line has some debate. 10 points in Dexterous Sonata is a must and 1 in Veil of Notes just to have the ability is pretty standard, as it's a nice defensive buff for yourself. I put 10 points in Enhance RO because I feel that extra time to charge up is helpful, others find moving 3 of those points to another ability is better for them - That's all personal choice. The last line is another standard choice.

    Prestige Talents: (not shown in those links)
    So once you get to 92 you'll have 10 prestige points for one last tree. These abilities are pretty cool, I think Dirge's got some good stuff here. Many people are going straight down the right side. To me, that is the best choice for someone new to end game on a Dirge for a while. You get good returns and nice VCs. HOWEVER, when you can get 20+ CB out of the left conversion (20 DPS -> 1 CB) the you can start thinking about moving the points into that line. Before you get to this point, though, your DPS will take a bit of a hit and your VCs wont see much change by using the left side.

    The role of the Dirge in any group is first and foremost buffage.

    Single Target Buffs:
    Most dirge buffs are group wide but two are for single targets.

    Hyran's Seething Sonata is going to go on your tank (THIS IS A GM CHOICE FOR A LOWER LEVEL! GET IT!), it provides them with more +Hate and more Agression (this will help their taunts and any other hate abilities).

    Battle Cry will be fought over by any Melee class. My best suggestion is put it on the highest parsing Scout (usually Assassin, Ranger, or Swashy) but with the Skyshrine gear, many are getting to or over the 600 soft cap of Multiattack. That means a large part of the buff (15 MA) is being wasted. I would instead suggest asking where people are with their MA. Whoever needs the Multiattack (I've been putting it towards the tank at this point) should get it. If the DPSers and Tanks don't need the MA, return it to the highest for the 5% Flurry.

    Group buffs:
    Dirge's have seven group buff songs that require concentration slot (8 if you are unlucky enough to not have Focus boots... GET THOSE NOW!). We have five concentration slots. Hyran's takes up one slot. Do the math and you get 4 slots to run group songs.

    Noxious Symphony and Bria's Inspiring Ballad are EXTREMELY situational. I almost never run these songs because they just aren't enough to make an impact anymore. That leaves us with Songster's Luck, Precussion of Stone, Dead Calm, Harl's Rousing Tune, and Jael's Mysterious Mettle. Here is where knowing your group and their capabilities comes in since we have a limit on what we can run. Precussion of Stone and Dead Calm are always a must, a stoneskin proc and damage proc are huge for groups. That leaves us with Harl's, Songster's, and Jael's. There are a few ways to play this one. I'd rather help out group survivability with Harl's and Jael's than push hit rates up with Songster's, especially when melee classes are easily hitting cap on weapon skill unless you have a Focus on your Chest. With 10% Accuracy on Songster's then I drop Jael's (+Parry w/ mitigation with AAs) to give non-scout melee classes a little extra help.

    Raiding on a Dirge is very simple. Debuff, DPS, Rez. If you can do those three things, you can raid on a Dirge.

    Debuffs: You have four, with the new group buffs attached with our prestige points, you want them up on every mob. Simple... just cast them first, recast them when they expire. They debuff both physical and magical resists, as well as the mobs offensive skills. These are super important to everyone in the raid, DPS, Healers, and Tanks, so make sure you keep them running.

    DPS: This section is a little more complicated. We are not T1 DPSers, but we can bring a good amount of DPS for a utility class. I wont post a casting order here, but I will say go test your rotation on an Epic Training Dummy with ACT running and you'll find a good start. Cast CoB when it's up (If you're part of a raid with 2-3 then time them to keep them going all the time) and use RO/VC often for better parses for your entire group (RO is a ~15 second charge up that records your DPS [~2 min
    recast before modifiers ] and VC is 12 secs of a portion of RO as a damage proc for your group [~5 min recast before modifiers]).

    Rez: You have two, a single target and a group. They aren't the fastest in the game, but they do more for the people being brought up than most. You're first priority is to get fallen comrades back up. After a Rez, you have a spell called Confront Fear that will get rid of Revive Sickness on one person. Use it on Healers
    and Tanks first. The biggest thing about rezzing is prioritizing who gets up first and who to cure of sickness first. Always go for tanks and healers, the closer to MT they are, the more important. Then the highest DPSers after all the tanks and healers are up. Easy enough.

    Other than these three things, follow the group section, and you'll be on your way to being a decent Dirge.

    A note for non-tank group dirges: If you find yourself in a scout group that does not have a tank during a raid, always drop Jael's in favor of Songsters always. No scout should need to have that +Parry so getting hit rates up is the better option.

    Please, if anything is off, something is not clear, you have your own suggestions, anything, leave a comment and I will do my best to fix/add it. I want this guide to be relevent for a few expansions at least.

    Written with the help of Liepha, Jamisia, Meeke, and others of Butcherblock
  2. ARCHIVED-Philtronx Guest

    Excellent guide! Cleared a lot up for me. I've bookmarked and will be checking back as my dirge grows. How do you request a sticky?
  3. ARCHIVED-Pattywak Guest

    Bump for edits and relevence
  4. ARCHIVED-Fairin Guest

    nice to see someone else is making an effort to update these... heres my info for you to share
    tank "weapons" have strike through on them.
    haste is , every 15 over 200 gives 1% haste, the increaseing factor begins at 250 , needing slightly more haste for 1%, upwards to 27 haste for 1 flurry at 480 hasterateing

    crit bonus is your most important stat , Besides Reuse

    be sure to smack around the tank that snags your flurry gear, no tank gear has flurry on it, else they take it when all the scouts have theirs. and vice versa...

    adorments , whites - i'd reccomend adorning for what you need on gear. same as you said =P, im 99% positive troubs/dirges use weaponskills as casting skills as well.
    yellows/reds , crit bonus or reuse, there are other choices .but for the most benefit.

    dont kill the messanger is rather worthless, no one joins a group or raid expecting a bard to bring their crit to cap, ever (non leveling spec.. obviously)

    dodge and cover is exceedingly powerfull, and no one ever takes it... and the poisons ... agi tree ftw

    heroic tree - 10 points in dex sonata is wasted aa. 8 points in Veil of sound makes it 100%, 10 points in enhanced RO is always a must, (RO/VC is the most damaging ability in the game. use it buggers!) and Deadly Dance would increase your scouts DPS since they stand next to you . unlike my troub and my caster squad, that just outright refuse to stand with me in melee range...

    The role of the Dirge in any group is first and foremost buffage.DPS - because it does not take you all of your attention to res / throw a debuff or two on the boss, or cast CoB/charge a RO for a VC

    Battlecry- no one uses it for MA, its a "flurry buff" to us raiders, just dont waste it on a tank. unless the tank is just killing everyone (includeing you) on the personal parse

    - not all tanks need the Hate buff to hold aggro either, but generally you are expected to put it on them regardless

    unfortuntately dirges lack the cure portion of the nox ward. so Noxious symphony and Bria's ballad, are 100% worthless. not even situational sadly.

    songsters luck pushes weaponskills over cap which increases auto atk dmg, this is possibly your most important song. Far more than agi/str

    gu64 . tanks now require your mitigation song.. that also has parry on it. hehe > : )
    , agree on the debuffs, but i have to encourage a point - you really -are- t1 dps, you just dont "do it yourself", because you do not personally parse for 300k+ does not mean you did not do it. your songs and abilities (expecally VC) doesn't add to your "personal parse" which everyone only cares about. for grins, if your the only dirge, and feel like messing around with acts redirects.. you can redirect your buffs from others to yourself. and actually see. although you still wont get credit for other scouts parses from your 10% increased damage on combat arts. though you can safely say 5% of their dps is still yours.. from that >: )

    on that note i'd rather not have people see my troub pulling 800k... >: ) i'll still be the underdog doing 300k personal while just knowing im making the warlock do an additional 300k, the conj do 200k more.. not counting all the potm's and whatnot...
  5. ARCHIVED-Pattywak Guest

    Hey Fairin, thanks for the reply, a lot of good info there. I have updated the top post with a good bit of what you said, some as full changes and others as new extra notes. I will reply directly to your post shortly (just doing some scanning of the forums before work), I wanted to get my thoughts together on what you've said before I just start typing away (that's gotten me into trouble more that a few times ).
  6. ARCHIVED-Pattywak Guest

    Before I fully respoind to this I want to add in again that this guide isn't for a dirge who is pushing HM or has been around for years, it's for someone new to the class and doing Heroic and possibly starting EM raiding.

    Fairin wrote: