Dirge FAQ 2.0

Discussion in 'Dirge' started by ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    As those famous Dirges of Liverpool said: 'Whysprr Words of Wisdom
    I got tired of reading the same questions over an' over an' over. This won't help, but it does allow us to be snooty and point people to the FAQ when they ask 'em. This version (2.0) is broken into sections because it got too long to edit easily.
    I wrote the original version of this when I was a 57th level dirge, updated it along the way, and finally cracked 70. But this is a big game, and I haven’t done it all, far from it. I’ve shamefully stolen from other posts on these boards. In general, you should assume that errors are mine, and that accurate information comes from someone else. If you spot an inaccuracy, please point it out to me either in this thread or via PM.
    Senior dirges, as always, please contribute comments and further questions that belong here.
    <span style="color: #0000cc">Beware of falling frogs!!</span>
    Edit History: 1/21/07: Updated mount stats, fixed discussion of some God stuff. Thanks, Antryg!
    2/07 various dates trying to get the stupid editor not to put horrid crud into my edits
    3/9/07 another shot at updating, and again on 5/18/07
  2. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    General Dirgeliness
    Q. What’s being a dirge all about?
    A. Dirges are the best of the scout subclasses; actually, dirges are simply the best thing going. Ask anyone. No, not the troubs, they’re prejudiced.
    Like all scouts, dirges have the ability to be sneaky, safe fall, evac, and disarm chests. Used to be we had the best native running speed around; if you were rolling along on your great big expensive warhorse and a short red-haired Ayr-dal went zipping past leaving behind only a cloud of dust, a languorous wave and a sweet, distant memory, that was a dirge. Now, who knows, could be a ranger, could be a fury or someone who knows a fury or whomever. If I seem testy about this it’s because I am.
    In combat, you have ranged attacks, positional attacks, stealth attacks. There are debuffs, buffs, snares, a root, even a daze. On a real good day you can do a bit of crowd control with fear + root. You can combat rez, and you can look good doing it. Being a dirge is about always having something to do. Except in raids, but that’s why the Hedgehog Song has seventeen verses.
    It’s about not getting any invitations to romantic walks on the beach because you’re in such demand for groups to go kill ferocious beasts. Life as a single dirge in the big city isn’t all roses, let me tell you. Dirges are extraordinarily group-friendly. We don’t have all-out-fierce dps, but we bring buffs and debuffs that make everyone else look good, much like large multicolored drinks at a club late at night. This happened to me once, but I digress.
    And some dirges – I’m not naming names here – are too group-friendly, going waay past the ‘friendly’ part into, well, I’m done with this question now.
    Q. I’m trying to decide between a dirge and a troubadour. Which is best?
    A. You’ve GOT to be kidding. Dirges sing dark, profound songs that remind us that life is short and death comes to us all, and there’re just a whole lot of directions you can go from there; ranging from: 'Live for today because tomorrow we're worm-food' to: 'Life is real, life is earnest, and there's a horrible beast just over yon hill let's kill it' to: 'We all die and I'm depressed but isn't this black eyeshadow and lipstick just coool' to my personal favorite: 'All the good-looking High Elf paladins are taken and tomorrow we may be dead, so let's make fun of the troubs.'.
    Troubadours know one song that goes ‘la-la-la-lally / down in the green valley / I met a young shepherdess / and got into her pants’. They claim to know lots of songs but it’s really all just the one. This is fine for the shepherdess but rough on the audience.
    What, you meant in combat? Oh, sorry.
    We’re both centered on making everyone else look better than us. Both have the only song that the other classes really know about, the one that improves power regeneration. Dirges can steal health, fear the target, rez; troubadors can steal power, can charm and mez, and can sing a health-regen group song. Dirges are oriented to buffing melee, troubadours to buffing casters.
    Q. I want to play a dirge, but I don’t want to be evil.
    A. Well, then don’t for goodness' sake. Evil is a matter of personal choice, my dear, and if you don’t want to be evil what you have to do is look in the mirror each morning and say: ‘I will NOT be evil today’.
    And, totally off the topic, dirges are so wonderful and charismatic that they’re welcome anywhere. Freeport and Qeynos both welcome dirges with open arms. Troubs, too, Heaven knows why.
    Q. What’s the best race to be to play a dirge?
    A. Whatever race suits your fancy. As the levels increase equipment effects swamp racial attributes, you couldn’t tell a well-equipped ratonga from a well-equipped high elf, unless of course you had a sense of smell and / or a snootiness detector.
    Q. I want to run a dirge, and my <husband / wife / significant other / father / mother / son / daughter / brother / sister / cousin / best friend / imaginary friend / live-in dalliance poodle / macro ‘bot running in my second computer> wants to run a <monk / bruiser / paladin / shadowknight / guardian / berserker / inquisitor / templar / fury / warden / defiler / mystic / coercer / illusionist / warlock / wizard / conjuror / necromancer / assassin / ranger / brigand / swashbuckler / troubadour / dirge. Will this work?
    A. Of course it will, for goodness’ sake. Dirges make everyone better. With a tank we’re dps, with a cleric we’re tanks, with another scout we bounce the mob back and forth using our backstab / stealth attacks, and with a mage we’re trying frantically to hold aggro so the mob doesn’t paste the mage right out of that skimpy robe.
    Dirges are especially good with classes which generate a lot of their dps via disease-based attacks, most particularly defilers, warlocks, and shadowknights. You want to lose aggro in a hurry, try to tank for a warlock while you’re casting Verlien’s and Zander’s on group mobs.
    Q. What instrument do I have to play to be a dirge?
    A. We don’t have instruments yet <grumble>. You don’t have to play an instrument at all to be a dirge. In fact, Godstalk can’t even carry a tune, she's some sort of battle-poet. And you thought necromancers were scary.
    Q. I’m a troubadour, and I’d just like to say I do too know more than the one song you just mentioned. The other one goes ‘One bright morning in May / As I was a walkin’ down by the seashore / I met a young milkmaid / And got into her pants.’ So there! :smileymad:
    A. I beg your pardon, dear. My mistake.
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-19-2007 08:11 AM
  3. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Equipment – The Joy of Gear. Shopping, too.
    Q. What stats are important for dirges?
    A. Bloody near everything. Agility improves power pool and avoidance, strength improves autoattack and combat art damage, intelligence improves power pool and spell damage and keeps you from doing stupid things, stamina improves survivability and the chance of getting a second date, and wisdom improves resistances and keeps you from doing really stupid things, including some of those second dates.
    In choosing equipment, people have different approaches. Scout-oriented gear tends to be weighted toward agi, str, and sta, so it can be hard to get good int gear – which many dirges value highly. It also depends on what you do; the best gear for solo isn’t necessarily the best gear for raids.
    Q. What equipment should I upgrade first?
    A. Whatever’s the ugliest, of course.
    Again with the obsession with effectiveness, sheesh. You’d think that was all there was to life. Well, maybe it is all there is to life, considering how hard it is for a single dirge to get a date.
    I tend to pick weapons over armor over jewelry because except for soloing, your firepower is your asset, not your defenses. If you solo, I think it's still weapons first, you're not a tank for Heaven's sake. Raiders obsess over resists, so it's whatever gives the best resists for the God-Whomper of Doom.
    So, weapons first. This is despite being a modestly-successful jeweler myself. Wait, what am I saying!? IT’S ALL ABOUT THE JEWELRY, OK??
    Q. What armor do dirges wear?
    A. Whatever looks best, naturally.
    Oh, all right. I declare, everyone wants to hunt, nobody cares for style anymore. That’s probably why I don’t get any dates. Dirges, like the rest of the scouts, can wear up to chain-type armor, and most do for the mitigation. There’s little reason any longer to wear leather or less, though in group or raiding situations an isolated piece with helpful stats or a good special power can make sense.
    Q. What weapons do dirges use? Should I use a shield?
    A. 90% of dirges dual-wield. The STA AA line is quite good, though, and has lured many to sword-and-board, especially in PvP; with enough points in that line damage output approaches that of a dual-wielder, with improved defense and a couple of very nice added abilities. The conventional wisdom, though, is that the increased firepower from dual-wielding plus the advantages of a non-STA AA line outweigh the defense from the shield for all but the most dedicated solo or PvP dirges. Plus, dual-wields are waaay better-looking and dirgeliness isn’t just about buffing and debuffing and dps, it’s about style and pizzazz, too. Any dull dirge has to answer to ol' Whysp, and that's not a good thing, let me tell you.
    Technical Discussion from Godstalk / Sorschae:
    Should I dual wield or go sword-and-board (use a shield)?
    Shields provide a shield bonus to your avoidance. Unless the shield has special statistics related to physical resistances (or magical), it has no mitigation properties of any kind.
    Dual wield weapons each do approximately 75% of the damage of an equivalent level and quality one-handed weapon, for a total of 150% target damage… or they did until Live update 16, which increased dual wield weapon output approximately 10% each, to address the fact that they had a larger propensity to lose versus two-handed weapons (which are targeted to be the same raw DPS level, though no scout can use one) since you cannot autoattack while using combat arts.
    One handed weapons cannot be combined with dual wield weapons… you either use one or two dual wield weapons (never use one… but you CAN), or a one hander and a shield.
    As for which way you wish to go, again, that depends. Some dirges swear by them, most (in the author’s opinion) do not. In almost all scenarios, dual wield output more than compensates for the targeted 8% avoidance difference gained from a round shield (the largest shield a scout may employ). You may pick up a dirge usable fabled 1handed weapon of dirgey-uberness… and fabled one handers easily compete with equal level handcrafted or treasured dual wield weapons for output. A dirge’s primary role is to fill that of the scout archetype, however, and output is a major factor of that. Alternate advancement abilities in the stamina line also compensate for lost DPS related to carrying a shield, making this a strong contender for solo play, pvp, or alternate-tanking.
    Q. Do Jboots stack with my Selo’s/Horse/Carpet?
    A. You betcha, and a fine thing it is to grin as you sail past people on flying carpets. Actually, we’re only 1% faster than the carpets, but it still gives us gloating rights. Not over most of the rest of Norrath these days, and did I mention this makes me testy?
    Technical discussion from Godstalk / Sorschae (slightly updated)
    Your movement speed in EverQuest2 is your base speed plus the faster of one of two modifiers. Those two modifiers are runspeed and mountspeed.
    Runspeed modifiers work in any zone type and stack in a manner that is very similar to haste stacking: That is, you can have one “spell” modifier, and one “item” modifier. This means you can stack jboots with Selo’s, or any one spirit of the wind item with Spirit of the Wolf. Bards with the top level runspeed ability can move at +34% of base runspeed. Bards with jboots can run at +44% of runspeed, not counting alternate ability enhancements.
    Mountspeed modifiers only work in overland or outdoor zones, and have no ability to stack with anything. Top tier horses can move at +50% over base, but those cost upwards of 400,000 status and 14 platinum, and require you to be in a 60th level guild to complete it. The tier below that costs a smaller amount (still measured in platinum, and available at guild level 40) and allows you to move at +48% over base.
    If you put on all three items (movement speed, item movement buff, and mount (carpet/horse), then you will move at the faster of those two speeds, run- or mount-.
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-19-2007 08:16 AM
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-21-2007 12:33 PM
  4. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Tactics and Adventuring
    Q. Can dirges solo?
    A. Absolutely not, dear, all those dirges you see running around the wilderness are just carrying messages and hoping to be picked up for groups.
    Dirges are modest-but-competent soloists. Well-equipped dirges can handle many yellow ^ mobs toe-to-toe, though there are some low times, when the blue ^s paste me right out of my J-boots. Some dirges even use kiting techniques (running around with the mob slowed by our excellent snare and slow debuffs, pounding away with ranged autoattack and spells) to handle heroics, though this is more a stunt or a situational thing than a strategy for most of us. It’s also a major PvP tactic for dirges.
    We’re not rangers or assassins, OK? You want to blow through yellow ^^^s, don’t play a dirge.
    Q. What’s dirge dps like?
    A. It’s like, the wrong question. In solo play, we have enough dps to solo effectively – we’ve also got lots of other tools; a root, debuffs, lifetaps, and so on. In groups our dps looks pitiful, but that’s because methods for measuring dps don’t take into account how much we increase party dps and hurt mob dps. A very-well-done parse by Numaru / Ekho in a level 70 group showed that our output overall is right up there where it should be for a scout-class, and you add that to the style and pizzazz factor and why am I not getting invited to groups by the good-looking High Elf paladins?
    It couldn't be my personality. Nah.
    Q. What do dirges bring to groups?
    A. Groups are where we just plain sing [ha-ha]. We bring buffs that can haste the lot, provide a group parry bonus, increase str and agi across the board, increase chance to hit against yellow-orange mobs, give resistance to poison or disease, give a disease proc chance to everyone (this is pretty lame right now), give the tank strength and extra aggo, and give a fab stoneskin to everyone. We can debuff mitigation to melee, slow, and strip away mob str/agi and (at least from L35 to 50) debuff magic,. And we can do decent dps, especially against multimob encounters with two respectable AOE attacks.
    Oh, yes, right, also, power regen, which is what you’ll get invited for.
    At level 58, we get Cacophony of Blades, which is good solo, very nice in the average group, and vicious indeed in melee-heavy groups. I still don’t get invitations to romantic walks on the beach, though.
    Q. What do dirges bring to raids?
    A. Dirges tend to be in the main-tank group on raids for power regen, stoneskin, agro, and parry songs. If there are two dirges, the second is best employed in a melee dps group.
    A raiding dirge’s primary duty is maintaining the buffs and debuffs. Properly done, this is nearly a full-time job, since the epic-effective debuffs include seven, count ‘em, seven different effects: encounter-wide slow (Daro’s), melee (Clara’s), and agi/str (Discante) debuffs; single-target disease (Verlien’s), melee (Tarven’s), side-attack dps (Stabbity-Stab), and finally stealth-attack wis (Garsin’s) debuffs. The buffs include periodic casting of Cacophony of Blades as well as the maintained buffs.
    The raiding dirge’s second priority is spot-resurrecting over-nuking mages and scouts, the silly things. Our rez is fast-casting and refreshes rapidly, and the group version can handle heavy-duty near-wipes. It’s better for dirges (and paladins and such) to handle raid in-combat rez duty, that way the clerics can keep the healing going, hopefully limiting the need for more rezzing.
    In whatever time and with whatever power is left over from the duties above, raid dirges also contribute as much dps as they can churn out. Scream of Death is the most power-efficient of our combat arts by a significant margin, followed in a clump by Garsin’s, Stab, Infected Blade, and Luda’s.
    In order to maintain all this junk, a dirge’s first raid priority has to be survival. There’s no point in diving into a lethal AOE to get off Scream of Death, your direct output doesn’t match your indirect contributions in buffs and debuffs. This takes discipline and self-restraint, and also a certain boredom tolerance as the battle wears on, but if you can master the mandolin, raiding is cake.
    I do recommend memorizing all seventeen verses of the Hedgehog Song to sing on the raid channel. This will make you popular with your guildmates, okay, it’ll drive ‘em nuts, especially the manic uber-raiders, but it’ll build character for them, and that counts as buffing. Despite the bloody tedium and the uber-raiding culture of mind-gnawing arrogance, raiding has a weird fascination. So, all you easily-offended uber-raiders just put a sock in it, OK?
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-19-2007 08:20 AM
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-19-2007 08:21 AM
  5. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Spells and Achievements
    Q. What spells should I upgrade first?
    A. Depends on what you do most.
    If you solo most, probably your lifetaps and then your other attacks.
    For a dirge who groups all the time, upgrade your group buffs and debuffs.
    For a dirge who raids, upgrade stoneskin, parry buff, agro buff, and power regen, as well as the group and single-target debuffs. Invest in a good book. Practice all seventeen verses of the Hedgehog Song until you’re letter-perfect.
    And, tip your jeweler well.
    Q. What ‘special’ spells are there for dirges?
    A. At level 35 Zander’s Choral Rebuff is the magic-mitigation debuff song. Careful work by Salmastryon / Kurai indicates that after caster level 50 this is a modest buff for the foul beasts. If it's a raid your guild has done fifty times and it's getting a little tedious, use this, otherwise, best not once you hit 50. This is not fair relative to the other scout K'lorn spells, but we're dirges, we understand that, life isn't fair either. It's been broken forever, but a fix is promised. You’re turning blue!!! Don’t hold your breath, please, that’s just not a good idea.
    The Splitpaw Saga has a snare-magic debuff, but it's on the same timer as our main disease debuff, which is almost always more important for us.
    At 52 we get Percussion of Stone, which is our fab stoneskin defensive proc spell.
    At 55 we get Scream of Death, a high-damage-but-extremely-long-fizzing-DoT-nuke that has to be cast from behind in stealth. Powerful but situational.
    At 58 we get Cacophony of Blades, which is a huge haste with procs-and-interrupts built in, usable 12 secs each minute. Also known as the Wailing Cuisinart of Doom.
    At 65 we get Oration of Sacrifice, which allows us to transfer health to the tank when the healer drops and all eyes turn to the dirge, pleading ‘save us, save us’. I mean, healing was the only thing we couldn’t do before, now it’s truly one-stop shopping.
    All of these can only be gotten from critter-dropped Adept or Master I runes, or from your friendly jeweler, who you should tip well.
    Q. What are the dirge ‘fun’ spells like?
    A. We don’t have any fun spells. We have Melancholy Melody at level 20 which allows us to make someone else look like they have an embarrassing intestinal disorder. We have Disguise: Dark Elf at I think 40 that’s entirely useless for the dark elves and humiliating for the rest of us, you’ve absolutely never seen anything like ol’ Whysp as a dark elf, it takes you straight to a different and a dreadful world. And there’s another one at 50 that I haven’t even bothered to try that makes you flash away like a Godforsaken wandering lighthouse.
    None of this is fun.
    Q. What are the dirge AA lines and which is best?
    A. Like everyone else, we have two sets of Achievements, Kingdom of Sky and Echoes of Faydwar.
    The KoS lines are:
    Agility: this line focuses on abilities which improve attacks and firepower, as well as a group stealth
    Strength: this line focuses on abilities which improve survivability, especially against AOEs.
    Stamina: this line requires a shield, and focuses on both defensive and offensive abilities
    Intelligence: this line has several group-friendly abilities
    Wisdom: this line focuses on group talents; aggro control, runspeed, casting speed, and critical hits.
    Thanks to Darammer, I've got a more extensive chart. I don't believe it's updated for the (minor) changes in LU 24.
    Bard's Luck - HO starting ability, reuse sped up by 100%. This power opens the entire KoS line.
    Strength Line Bladesinger's Strength - Increases STR by 4.0 per rank
    Turnstrike - DD & prevents AOE(except direct) if Sword equipped in primary
    Bladeturn - Group songs that increase avoidance improved by 2% per rank
    Bladesing - Group songs that increase attributes more effective by 5% per rank
    Bladedance - Prevents AOE to group; breaks on damage;
    Loved by raiding dirges everywhere. Well, most places, we’re a contentious lot.
    Agility line Wayfarer's Agility - Increases AGI by 5.0 per rank
    Bump - DD & applies shroud if Dagger equipped in primary; must be flanking or behind.
    Wayfarer's Watch - Increases Parry skill by 3.9 per rank
    Poison Concoction - Adds poison proc (DD + DoT) to attacks
    Vanishing Act - Group invis - 2 minute duration
    Once you get Bump you’ll never want to be without it. Poison adds significant dps.
    Stamina line Skald's Stamina - Increases STA by 6.0 per rank
    Round Bash - DD & applies knockdown (4 sec) if Shield equipped in secondary
    Skald's Defense - Increases chance to block by 1.0% per rank (requires shield)
    Fortissimo - Increases chance to double attack by 7.0% per rank (if shield in secondary)
    Shield Focus - Rooted and immune to knockdown; chance to break on damage; if shield in secondary
    See discussions above under weapon choices. PvP and solo dirges use this line a lot.
    Wisdom line Harbinger's Wisdom - Increases WIS by 8.0 per rank
    Harmonizing Shot - DD & detaunt (Bow attack)
    Harbinger's Sonnet - Increases speed of group: in-combat 0.8%, out-of-combat 1.5% per rank
    Allegro - Reduces casting timers of group by 0.8% per rank
    Don't Kill the Messenger - Increases Heal/Ranged/Melee/Spell crit chance of group by 7.5%
    DKTM is extremely popular with everyone. The rest of this line is trash, but most consider it worthwhile for the end power anyway.
    Intelligence line
    Minstrel's Intelligence - Increases INT by 7.0 per rank
    Rhythm Blade - DD & increases casting & melee skills of bard (if rapier in primary)
    Minstrel's Aria - Increases effectiveness of combat skill buff by 7% per rank
    Minstrel's Melody - DPS group songs more effective by 5% per rank
    Coin Toss - Instantly shift any HO, complete Scout symbol of HO, can be used while stunned/stifled
    Coin Toss seems pointless to all except a handful of dirges. Some of the interim abilities are nice. Good rapiers are harder to find than swords and daggers.
    The EoF lines provide improvements to existing spells except for the end abilities. The lines are:
    Luck: The end power is Luck of the Dirge, which increases all spell (not item) proc percentages by 25% of the original percentage. Works with Percussion of Stone and Tomb’s, as well as other classes’ procs.
    Enhance: Shroud – decreases casting time
    Enhance: Selo’s – adds group safe-fall
    Enhance: Bria’s – increases power regen rate
    Enhance: Noxious – adds a modest ward vs. disease / poison
    Enhance: Cacophony of Blades – increases duration (I love this!)
    Enhance: Tomb’s – increases proc percentage, to the point where with Luck of the Dirge and 5 points here it’s almost worth casting at times. It’s silly that it takes that, but what can you do?
    Life and Death: The end power is Confront Fear, which removes revival sickness and fear effects. Widely considered to be lame.
    Enhance: Grievance: increases healing from this line.
    Enhance: Wail of the Dead: increases healing from this line.
    Enhance: Elegy at Death’s Door: increases health / power granted on rez by a humiliatingly small amount.
    Enhance: Elegy of Awakening: decreases casting time.
    Enhance: Oration of Sacrifice: improves reuse time.
    Control: The end power is Magnetic Note, which is claimed to force aggro to target for 5 sec. May be broken, but even the uber-raiders consider this pointless when it works.
    Enhance: Jael’s: improves reuse time. Why?
    Enhance: Lanet’s: improves reuse time. Well, OK, I suppose.
    Enhance: Garsin’s fear: decreases both casting time and reuse timer. Honestly, who wants to spend points on this?
    Enhance: Wail of Horror: increases knockback chance. No comment.
    Degredations: The end power is Degredation, which decreases casting time and power cost of the continuing encounter debuffs (Clara’s, Daro’s, Discante) while increasing duration. Well-loved by dirges everywhere.
    Enhance: Garsin’s stealth attack: Increases Wis debuff
    Enhance: Shrieking Stab: increases dps debuff
    Enhance: Verlien’s: increases disease debuff. Note that this improves just about every attack we have.
    Enhance: Discante: increases str / agi debuff
    Enhance: Clara’s: increases melee debuff
    Enhance: Daro’s: increases attack speed debuff
    As far as which AA lines are best for a particular style of play, well, half the message volume on this forum is probably about that subject, and it makes me grumpy, so you’ll have to sort this out for yourselves.
    Q. I’ve got ten buffs and only five concentration slots? What’s up with that? Which buffs should I use?
    A. There’s a reason we sing all these songs of misery and despair – it’s because we’ve got too many spells for our concentration slots.
    There’s no absolutely simple answer for the ‘what buffs do I use’ question. What follows is a discussion of the buffs with notes on when to use what. As with anything in this FAQ, I don’t claim to be an authority, so you should use your own judgment, post corrections, or, in extreme cases, hire assassins to pursue disagreements. Some assassins have that shadowy-black bad-boy vibe going for them and I might get a date out of it.
    In addition to the discussion, I’ve rated each song purely subjectively for usefulness. The ratings look like this:
    <S1/G2/R3> where S, G, R refer to the value of the spell in solo, group, and raid situations, respectively, and 1 refers to ‘must-use’ spells, 2 refers to spells which are often valuable, and 3 to spells which are situational only, or even pointless. Unless otherwise noted, for raid ratings I’ve assumed the dirge is in the MT group.
    Offensive Buffs
    Relentless tune / Rianna’s line: gives a significant increase to autoattack dps. Bread-and-butter. <S1/G2/R2>
    Crypt’s Quiet / Grave’s Peace / Tomb’s Stillness / Tomb’s Calm: Grants the dirge's group a chance to strike for additional disease damage on a successful attack. This is currently broken; it was weak-to-balanced before the LU where they took procs away from everything except the main-hand weapon; it’s never been rebalanced and now it’s a pitiful shell of a buff, essentially useless except in a dps raid group where every little bit helps and you don’t need any defense at all. Achievements, lots of ‘em, can make this competitive, see that discussion. <S3/G3/R2>
    <Whatever’s> Boon line: Increases the group’s slash/pierce/crush/ranged skill. This improves hit probability without modifying damage per hit. There’s no clear consensus on the value of this buff in the wake of the recent combat changes; it’s clearly useful for yellow and orange opponents, less clear on others. In groups several other classes have combat skills buffs which make this one redundant. <S2/G2/R2>
    Defensive Buffs
    Jael’s Elusion / Jael’s Mysterious Mettle / Wailing Elusion / Screeching Elusion: Increases the parry skill of the fighters and scouts in the group. A bread-and-butter choice in almost any situation where defense matters. Sometimes raid MTs with the right AA line are near-capped in parry, though. <S1/G2/R1>
    Percussion of Stone: A song that grants the group a chance to absorb physical damage for a short duration after having taken any physical damage. A fab spell with two usually-annoying but occasionally-catastrophic ‘undocumented features’. The first is that occasionally it’ll proc on the pull against some big honkin’ attack, and you’ll suddenly – surprise! – have the monster’s undivided attention. This is usually of minimal consequence, you get whomped a bit, you get some good out of your lifetaps, and save the healer a bit of power, but I’ll bet it’s led to a raid wipe or two. The second is that when it procs it breaks stealth. Again, usually no biggie, though it’s frustrating to have Scream of Death all lined up and pop out, but if, to pick a purely fictional example, one had had to lag behind in Cyclopsland due to the juxtaposition of an urgent call of nature and a conveniently placed rock, and one was sneaking back to the group, one could easily draw unwelcome attention by suddenly appearing out of nowhere when the stoneskin procs a mile away. <S1/G1/R1>
    Stat and Resistance buffs
    Death’s Door / Death’s Scent / Lithe Disbelief / Supple Disdain/Death Bringer: <note: where DO they get these names???> increases your own personal agility and intelligence and procs a bit of damage sometimes when you get hit. Essential solo, value in groups and raids depends on how selfish one is feeling and what else needs to be done. <S1/G3/R3>
    Harl’s line: increases strength and agility of the entire group. These are good things. <S2/G2/R2>
    Noxious line: gives a substantial boost to disease and poison resistance. This is a situational buff, resistance to various damage types becomes of critical and increasing importance with increasing level, and on raids. There are two ways to figure out when to use this; one is to do your homework and know what sort of damage the critters do, the other is my method, which is, on raids, to make pitiful whining sounds on raid chat until someone gets annoyed enough to tell me, and otherwise to look at the critter and if it’s a plague-bearing rat or a humongous spider or snake to assume it uses poison or disease, otherwise to not use this buff. <S3/G3/R3>
    Utility Buffs
    Bria’s line: increases in-combat mana regeneration for the group. The great unwashed assume this is our reason for being, which at least in my case is not so. I get a good deal more pleasure out of fine food, elegant wine, music, and good company than I do out of Bria’s. OK, maybe I’m stretching it with the company part, since I’m still not getting any dates months after posting this FAQ which in case you haven’t noticed is basically a very long ‘Personals’ ad, and I don’t think the assassin thing is going to have a big impact there. But Bria’s does help when chain-pulling in groups; though, if power doesn’t seem to be limiting anyone, drop it and see if an offensive buff works better. Bria’s is absolutely, utterly essential during the prolonged boring part of a raid battle when everyone’s out of power and just sitting on their hands waiting for some to come back so they can do something. Which, for me, comes just after the AOE that drops me like a rock. <S3/G2/R1>
    Hyran’s line: gives a modest strength increase and a substantial percentage boost to aggro to a single target e.g. The Tank. Essential in raids, and with unskilled tanks or undisciplined dps in groups, probably not needed in groups where everyone’s on the ball. If you ever run into a group like that let me know, I’ll watch the skies, always wanted to see it raining pigs. <S3/G2/R1>
    Buffs and Crafting: In addition to our natural creativity, sense of style, and the discipline that comes from practicing the same tune on that dopey mandolin that plays when we play our buffs over and over and over, our dirge powers make us good crafters. Bria’s is quite nice while crafting, also, you should cancel the agi/int and str/agi lines to minimize base power and enhance power recovery during crafting. Yes, this is weird and counterintuitive but it’s well-known in crafterland, see any of the threads in the various crafter forums on ‘crafting naked’. And you can just stop those mental pictures right there.
    Q. What are my Master 2 choices, and which one should I take?
    A. Here are the choices, with my personal-and-highly-idiosyncratic feelings about how to parse the decision. Remember, particularly for the early choices, the impact of this decision goes away after 10 levels or so, so don’t get all bent out of shape on this.
    Level 14
    Rousing Tune
    Piercing Shriek
    Bria's Stirring Ballad
    Relentless Tune
    Pick: Probably Piercing Shriek. It’s the best high-damage attack you’ve got at this stage, and the group-friendly buffs aren’t as consequential, since most people aren’t heavy into groups at this level. If you are heavy into groups as a teen, and I really don’t want to know the details, OK?, any of the others is good. If you’re splitting the difference, I personally always find health more limiting than power when soloing, so Bria’s wouldn’t be my choice at this point in life.
    Level 24
    Lanet's Excruciating Scream
    Crypt's Quiet
    Harl's Quickening Euphony
    Clara's Chaotic Cacophony
    Pick: No clear choice. Lanet’s is a terrific solo and group tool, with modest damage but an effective 7 sec daze. Harl’s is the Str/Agi group buff, useful in many social as well as combat situations for dirges with a better romantic life than mine. Clara’s is probably our best debuff, a great aid in taking one’s social frustrations out on rampaging monsters. Crypt’s Quiet is in the currently-nerfed-beyond-help Tomb’s line, don’t pick this.
    Level 34
    Lucky Boon
    Jael's Mysterious Mettle
    Daro's Dull Blade
    Lanet's Agonizing Scream
    Pick: Jael’s or Daro’s. Boon is situational at best (see the looong discussion of our buffs for why). Jael’s is the parry buff, possibly our most important single buff in every single setting. Daro’s is one of our bread-and-butter attacks, a side/backstab which debuffs dps significantly. Lanet’s is good, but probably not as primary as the other two.
    Level 44
    Bria's Exalting Ballad
    Riana's Spiteful Sustain
    Cry of the Departed
    Daro's Sorrowful Dirge
    Pick: Daro’s for the long-term. The Master II of this spell is within a percent or two as effective as the T7 – yep, you heard right – the T7 version, while using significantly less power. We’re assured by the Powers That Program that spell resistance is related only to caster level and spell tier (App / Adept / Master), not to spell level, so there’s just no downside; some raiders disagree with that, however. Riana’s, similarly, is nearly as good as the T7 version but there’s no power benefit that matters. If you’re absolutely a solo dirge, either due to choice, personal hygiene problems or a mysterious lack of interest and maybe I’d better check the expiration date on that deodorant now that I think about it, Cry of the Departed is one of the critical damage/lifetap spells that make such a huge difference. But, even so, I’d say pick Daro’s, it’s a big world and there’s someone for everybody. I hope.
    Level 54
    Lanet's Violent Scream
    Tomb's Stillness
    Harl's Rousing Strain
    Luda's Heinous Cry
    Pick: Most people pick Luda’s, because it’s really our first opportunity to break 1000 points with a single nuke and seeing those numbers pop is just so darned gratifying. A good case could be made, though, for Harl’s; by this time grouping becomes more-and-more attractive for those without serious personality problems, and Harl’s probably packs more group punch. Lanet's, see above.
    Level 64
    Hyran's Seething Sonata
    Lanet's Tumultuous Scream
    Tomb's Calm
    Noxious Dissertation
    Pick: It's Hyran’s or Lanet's, hands down, because the other two choices are pitiful. Tomb’s, well, we’ve discussed that. Confirmed uber-raiders who live-and-die by resistances might pick Noxious, except that Hyran’s, the aggro-sucking tank buff, is also an essential raiding tool. Lanet's fiddles for the solo-group dirge; no, it doesn't rock, it fiddles. I’m a confirmed traditionalist; to me, saying something ‘rocks’ implies that it has vapid love-lyrics which you can’t hear anyway because the drums have paralyzed your ears and the singer’s too busy committing an unnatural act with the microphone to enunciate the words properly. But I digress. There’s always the CD notes, whoops, not any more. Progress isn’t always forward, you know.
    You might want to pick Master 2 here on the basis of which Master I is either available or cheaper.
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-19-2007 08:33 AM
  6. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Miscellanity and Links
    Q. Which God choice will make me the uberest?
    A. Gods forbid anyone should choose anything for role-playing reasons. Here’s a summary of the choices.
    Evil Gods
    Cazic Thule: Lots of fear – imagine that – and modest crowd control powers. Some powers that work well with mental damage types, good for troubadours. Cloak procs a fear effect. Probably not a great match for dirges.
    Innoruuk: Lots of offensive stuff, threat management, weird little charm / mez thingies, a big powertap and a big lifetap at the high end. Cloak procs a small powertap. A solid choice.
    Rallos Zek: Lots of offensive melee powers, some tank-oriented, some not. Cloak procs slashing damage + dps increase. Also a good choice.
    Neutral Gods
    Solusek Ro: Almost everything is built around heat-based damage, which we do precisely none of. Cloak adds damage to spells. A decent nuke and a 10 min 100% proc on all spells, but overall a weak choice for dirges. Wizards, on the other hand, just worship Sol Ro. I guess that's the point.
    Brell Serilis: Lots of powers that aid crafting, as if it weren’t already absurdly easy. A fair number of damage and defensive abilities, some shrink you and I’m not giving away any inches, thank you. Cloak gives in-combat health regeneration. Decent choice, but if you’re evil you can probably do better.
    Good Gods
    Mithaniel Marr: A mix of defensive and offensive abilities, quite tank-oriented in places. Some terrific ward / resist stuff, and enough general-use combat abilities to make many Good dirges consider this the deity of choice. The cloak procs a substantial strength and dps increase.
    Tunare: Lots of – you guessed it – healing spells and aids to same. A big anti-undead attack and a ranged combat booster are the only offensive powers. Some very solid defensive stuff. Healer pet is well-suited to dirges, procs a group heal off offensive spells and combat arts. Cloak increases healing spells by up to 30 – it helps our lifetaps and OoS only marginally. I chose this on my personality; I’m darned nurturing and don’t let anyone tell you different; on the soloability of the quest – important for the time-limited; and the usefulness of the abilities in a raid environment, I can’t imagine using powers this expensive except in high-end situations – I’m just an awful tightwad that way.
    Quellious: Lots of pacification / mez abilities, some that even work on epics. You can hear the enchanters screaming from here. Powers that help mental-casters again, ~sigh~. Power regen / decreased casting cost powers. Cloak procs a deaggro effect. Some nice stuff here.
    Q. For goodness’ sake, all I want is a spell list!! Quit whining about your lack of a social life and tell me where the spell list is!!! Don’t you know desperation is unattractive?!?
    A. All right, already, it’s right here:
    And say, what are you doing Friday night anyway?
    Q. Where can I get detailed information on dirge tactics?
    A. At these links, which aren't stickied any more because they took up a whole pile-o-screen space:
    Solo tactics:
    Group tactics:
    Raid tactics:
    PvP tactics:
    Q. What are the current 'hot topics' in dirgedom.
    A. They're right here:
    Q. Who are the major posters in this forum, and what are they like?
    A. Look at this thread, which is where we introduce ourselves:
    You could introduce yourself too, if you’re new in these parts. We’re a friendly bunch, probably because we’re desperate but just ignore that, and we like to know who we’re talking to so we can be supportive. Or, occasionally, so we can gather up the children and run for the hills, but you’re not like that, I’m sure.
    Q. Is there anything else I should know before I make my dirge?
    A. Sweet merciful heavens, isn’t this enough? Well, if it's not, drop a line on the global dirge channel in-game, guk.dirges. This is plural, you connect yourself to guk.dirge like I did to start with and you'll wonder why dirges are so quiet.
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-19-2007 09:50 AM
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-21-2007 12:36 PM
  7. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Shameless Self-promotion
    Q. What’s this Hedgehog Song you’re always nattering about?
    A. The Hedgehog Song is from the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. Those who've read my FAQ and those books will have noticed the influence. If you haven't read any of them run, don't walk, to your local bookstore or library and get a couple. The Colour of Magic is the first in the series, I think Reaper Man is the best, Soul Music is good for dirges, but if you love the English language and want to see it at its shining best, any of them will do, Pratchett's prose contains more original similes and metaphors per page than anyone since Wodehouse or Shakespeare (it could go either way).
    The Hedgehog Song is one of the favorites of Nanny Ogg, an elderly but irrepressible witch, who sings it at every opportunity, or rather, at every inappropriate time available. The full name of the song is The Hedgehog Can Never be Buggered at All, and only tiny bits of it are actually quoted in Pratchett. But filksingers grabbed the idea like a two-year-old grabbing something found on the floor of a bus station toilet, and the results can be found all over the Web, including here:
    and here:
    and here...
    And probably, lots of other places.
    Q. I'm a sociology graduate student doing research on peculiar Internet phenomena, and I wanted to see the original FAQ (1.0-1.9999) What’s the link to the original version of the Dirge FAQ?
    A. It’s here:
    Q. So, what do you look like anyway? Is your social life such a mess just because you're a gargoyle?
    A. A wonderful portrait of the author by Lunna is at:
    She couldn't do anything about the personality, though.
    Q. I love your writing!! Is there more?
    Psychiatric help is available online at www.psych.org.
    More writings: You mean you haven’t had enough Whysprr for a lifetime? Be careful, two paragraphs has been officially declared the recommended daily dose. If you’re still determined to live dangerously, my EQ2 dirge blog is here.
    And my guide to power-mad-speed-crafting for people with big patience problems is here:
    Beyond that, you’ll just have to live in dread anticipation of the next posting.
    Now, stop reading -- go spread dirgeliness across Norrath!
    And, be careful out there, all right?
    Whysprr Wyrdwynd (born during a severe vowel shortage)
    Brethren (And what about the sistren, may I just ask?)
    Qeynos (but not ridiculous about it)
    Dirge & Bespoke Jeweler to the Scouts of Norrath (at least the ones who are willing to put their rares at risk)
    Some level or other (who knows when you're reading this)
    Kithicor server (when it's up and lag isn't too dreadful)
    Message Edited by Whysprr on 01-19-2007 10:00 AM
  8. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Reserved for future use.
  9. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Reserved for future use. Please keep pets and children off the grass.
  10. ARCHIVED-munos Guest

    We pray for you.
  11. ARCHIVED-Aenielle Guest

  12. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Nobody's asked, but the reason that I haven't updated the FAQ in awhile is that the forums are still substantially broken for this complex a document. Some of the archaic information really grinds my bacon, but I can't touch this version or it'll become completely, horribly corrupted -- see the introductory post. And, if I post a new version it'll be entirely without text size or color enhancements, because both are currently broken. Thus, I've elected to choose readability over currency and leave it as is until things get fixed.
    This is in case someone was saying 'Why's that lazy carrot-topped Ayr-Dal not keeping the FAQ up!?' And if you're reading it for the first time, be aware that all the links within these forums are broken and some of the discussions have been superceded in fairly minor ways -- notably regarding runspeed, and some of the AA stuff. Sorry, as soon as I'm confident that I'll improve the situation rather than making it worse there'll be an update.
  13. ARCHIVED-Winterborne Guest

    I thank you for your write up. I despise you for your dark elf criticism... and because I'm Teir 'Dal, and that's what Teir ' Dals do best...and you made me laugh...which is not allowed! We hate everybody. But especially, we hate you.
  14. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Winterborne wrote:
    ACK!! First the troubadours, then the enchanters, now the dark elves.
    <looking for a place to hide>
    I've GOT to rethink my writing choices.
  15. ARCHIVED-livejazz Guest

    Whysprr@Kithicor wrote:
    Froglok Dirges, however, think you're adorable.
  16. ARCHIVED-Willian Guest

    How are Dirges in pvp?
  17. ARCHIVED-Lel Guest

    We are waiting for an update! :)
  18. ARCHIVED-Bithnar Guest

    uhm . . . can I get a date?
  19. ARCHIVED-Whysprr_Wyrd Guest

    Can you get a date. Well, not right now I'm on vacation and the ol' laptop doesn't like EQ2, though perhaps a couple of hours listening to people who know less than me giving tech support can fix that. After that, ask, my dear. I'd like to pretend that I'm selective about such things, but anyone who reads knows better.
    The update is written, I just need to carve out a couple hours to paste and format.
  20. ARCHIVED-TharanSaebelbein Guest

    This is, by far, the most entertaining and usefull posting I have read in SOE's official EQ2 forum EVER.

    Thank you very much for this minutes of joy, Whysprr.

    Additional I think this will help me with my twink a lot!!

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