Writing this guide at the suggestion of some people, though I was more motivated by the debate on the use of technique vs FD accessories ^^
I hope to encourage more people, especially fellow Artillery, to try for DDN. Will be more than welcome to share my DDN experience. For Scorpion at least, Artillery really has little pressure, and the gear requirements aren't as high as people think.
Please take note that I advocate the use of technique accessories for Artillery, over any FD accessories (Honorable or Great Ancestor both). For the reasoning, do refer to the accessories section. The 4 technique accessories I recommend are:
1. Aerial Chain Shot +1 Necklace (799 INT / 608 VIT)
2. Swift Shot +1 Earring (599 INT / 497 VIT)
3. Bulls Eye +1 Ring (411 MDMG, 110 VIT)
4. Magical Breeze + 1 Ring or Crossbow/Longbow Mastery +1 Ring (411 MDMG, 110 VIT)
Mainly decided to do this due to the huge number of artillery I see using honorable accessories. Before deciding that I am flaming people for their gear choices, do let me clarify that I am looking towards building an artillery from an optimal point of view (the effective ability to do most content group and solo), people are welcome to use whatever gear they want.
The basic skill build:
Artillery's 4 main DPS skills (in order of DPS Ranking) - Swift Shot EX, Aerial Chain Shot, Extension Arrow EX, and Rapid Shot EX are maxed in the most generic of builds. This build focuses only on these, as well as maxing the buffs to support them. See the below for a rough idea of how much each skill does - I did badly with ACS, but just use the rough damage x 24 hits, which is what you will get when you use it close to bosses.
This skill build is the most recommended for most artillery, especially if one has no idea why and how to use Arrow Shower. Is Arrow Shower worth taking? The damage is mad awesome -
The conditions for releasing it, the long cd, and the way damage is calculated under Magical Breeze
makes this skill not worth taking in general. It will never be a main DPS skill, and you will be squeezing SP to get it out. It's use in DDN is pretty limited as well. As the skill most often sacrificed to up Arrow Shower is Spirit Excellation, how much base INT you have can be a pretty big determining factor. (If you have over 4000 INT, dump Arrow Shower) Arrow Shower's damage under Magical Breeze is decided by the different between physical dmg and magical dmg, the larger the difference the better. This also makes your gear and pot choices very limiting (No PDMG or AGI).
Can Arrow Shower be worth the reward? Yes. Are there specific uses for it? Yes. The one I am most concerned with is the potential to solo Prof K Hell Mode. In Stage 2, there will be a point where you have to break 2 barriers erected by the Calamari. Arrow Shower is the best solution for Artillery to clear both barriers.
Example of an Arrow Shower Build:
There are 3 other considerations when making an Artillery's skill build -
1. Solo scenarios where DPS alone is or might not be enough - at the level 60 cap, this basically refers to Stage 3 Typhoon Hell. The 180s is incredibly hard to achieve without ankle shot (solo) - not impossible, but made much easier with it.
2. Using honorable accessories instead of technique - This isn't recommended, and I will go over why later. Falls behind in DPS so much that I am not making the effort to envision such a skill build.
3. The imminent arrival of Guided Shot EX, and the preference for letting ACS be used for movement instead of DPS. Make no mistake, ACS is the second highest DPS skill of artillery, your damage will most likely be lowered. In return, this allows for a much safer environment to DPS in. If you find yourself using guided more than ACS, maxing guided and lowering ACS can be considered.
ACS vs Tracking / Guided Calculations
Yes, the gear is supposed to be higher end. One reason is that DPS characters get kicked often for having sub-par gear. The other reason is for DDN considerations. Remember to adjust according to your own budget / goals. I will make the preferred recommendations, then focus on the minimum later
Cookie Cutter 1
4 pieces Honorable Armor (Helm, Bottom, Sleeves, Shoes)
1 high enhanced non-set (+12? ^^) Torso Armor
2 high enhanced non-set 60A weapons (+12, anything below stick to other choices)
Considering you can get +12 weapons cheaper than +10 honorable weapons for better results, it is worth the cost. If you can afford to build some FD, then bloody weapons +10 will outdo +12 non- set weapons. This gear is meant to be the most cost-effective setup possible. 4 pieces of honorable for 276 FD, 1 high enhanced torso armor for the best return on HP. From a practical perspective, you can leave sleeves and shoes at +6 really, the growth from enhancing them is too low to be worth the effort - channel all of that $$ for getting a highly enhanced non-set torso armor. To not get kicked by trigger happy chinese though, I would suggest minimum +8 head, sleeves, shoes, +10 torso, bottom.
Cookie Cutter 2
5 pieces Honorable Armor
2 Bloody (Arena) Weapons +10
In the freedom server, there is a very common trend of asking for minimal +10 weapons (chinese parties), so as a guideline, do attempt to obtain these if you don't want to get kicked ^^. This is a more offense oriented setup - the 5th set effect bonus for honorable is critical, which artillery lacks in general. The bloody weapons help to build FD. This is also the most common setup people use. Costs way more though. Same recommended minimum, +8 head, sleeves, shoes, +10 torso, bottom.
5 pieces Great Ancestor Armor
2 Bloody (Arena) Weapons +X
Well, pretty much common sense. If you end up building like this, you should hopefully know what you are doing... This is actually not very recommended by me. Ironic I know, since I am using the FD build myself. The reason to not use GA weapons is simple - the 27 FD doesn't really cover much, and you got to enhance it yourself most of the time. Bloody weapons are much easier to get +10.
- Gearing efficiently (cheaper over time Gear Progession)
Recommended Weapon Combinations
(Order of Preference)
1. 2x Bloody (Arena) Weapons - the FD boost is pretty useful, and with the ease of stacking FD at 60 cap, should be the prime consideration
2. 2x High Enhanced Weapons - The boost from highly enhanced weapons (+12) beats the boost from Honorable Weapons, most of which are maximum +10 on the market.
3. Honorable Weapons - the set bonus is always good. The fact that most sold are +10 and below hurts it bad though. +12 non set weapons > +10 set weapons
4. 50L Weapons - High vit boost, high board damage. The lack of FD and suffix really hurts it bad though. It does solve the critical problem for artillery, due to the raw agi gains from enhancement levels. Not recommended at all for Arrow Shower builds. Highly recommended for DDN, especially for fixed teams, not as recommended for wild parties.
As a DPS, we cannot afford to skimp on weapons. Recommendations 1-3 are in order of effectiveness. With 50L, you need luck, gold, and if you get that far, you should know what you are doing.
Head - INT
Torso - INT
Bottom - INT
Sleeves - WILL / LIFE-GIVING (Will by far more preferred for me)
Shoes - INT
Why not vit suffix for top and bottom? Artillery as a dps character has to strike a balance between damage and survivability. If you are going for a full vit build, then playing a DPS character has no real meaning. It is much easier to swap accessories and sources than changing suffixes. If you are too focused on survival, it is a disservice to the party. Remember, an artillery has the freedom to select the range she attacks from, as well as all kinds of position changing moves. We are not supposed to tank damage. Of course, we need an allowance for mistakes, but setting that allowance too high has no meaning at all.
The will suffix is a no brainer. Here's one scenario - If it activates, you can walk out of poison wall (DDN Scorpion) in the event of a mistake. Useful in plenty of other scenarios. Life-giving is an alternative, with the main use being keeping you alive at 1hp if it activates when you were going to die. Useful, but not as game changing as will in my opinion.
1. Magic + Tent (Highest damage potential when it matters, option 2 preferred if someone else already has tent in party)
2. Magic + Magic (Highest board damage)
3. Int + Int (Lower damage for more mdef, mp, good team suffix if playing often with elemental classes using L weapons)
4. Life Giving + Life Giving/Tent (Solo suffixes, I personally use Life-Giving + Tent. A second Life-Giving gives much more room to make mistakes, but tent really makes a difference at the more important content. )
Longbow vs Crossbow
Crossbow is the better weapon for artillery.
Longbow: Higher crit, slightly longer range, much lower minimum mdmg, usually slightly higher maximum mdmg
Crossbow: Lower crit, slightly shorter range, much higher minimum damage, usually slightly lesser maximum mdmg
Before you point out longbows have a higher maximum, that isn't always true. A 50L +13 crossbow and longbow have the same maximum damage. The average mdmg for crossbow is much higher. Crit is a concern for artillery, but it is way easier to push crit than damage. Critical also has a hard cap that is more easily reached. The range doesn't matter for artillery - we are an all range class that does way more damage close range, where we would ideally be if it was safe. I am using a longbow because I +11 it myself.
This is the biggest point of contention that people have. I really wanted to do the stats out myself, but fortunately or unfortunately, someone on duowan already did it. Please refer to http://dn.duowan.com/1303/227111654837_4.html
For those who do not understand chinese, let me translate part of and summarize the Article:
Great Ancestor = GA*
1. 2GA + 2 techniques (Bulls Eye + ACS / Swift Shot EX) vs 4 techniques
Around 800 FD, 2 GA + 2 techniques have around the same impact on total dps output (calculated from the impact of the skill accessories on dps output of your 4 main dps skills, expressed as a %) Above 1000 FD, it is worthwhile to change to a 2GA + 2 technique setup
2. 4GA vs 2GA + 2 techniques
Above 1000 FD, 4GA will outdps 2GA + 2 techniques. However, this does not take into account the effect of Bulls Eye for the party - decide for yourself which is better.
3. 4GA vs 4 techniques
Above 800 FD, 4GA will outdps 4 techniques. However, this does not take into account the effect of Bulls Eye for the party - decide for yourself which is better.
4. 4 Honorable vs 4 techniques
Unless you do not use ACS or Swift Shot, 4 techniques blow 4 honorables out of the water.
2GA + 2 techniques vs 4 techniques (Page 2 of article)
4GA vs 2GA + 2 techniques (Page 3 of article, first chart)
4GA vs 4 techniques (Page 3 of article, second chart)
4 Honorable vs 4 techniques (Page 4 of article)
Now, you may be asking, if at certain FD values, 4 GA accessories or 2 GA + 2 technique would do better, then why is Sieg recommending 4 technique? (Aerial Chain Shot, Swift Shot EX, Bulls Eye, Magical Breeze/Longbow or Crossbow Mastery)
The main reason is that the calculation done on duowan excludes the accessories' stats, as well as relative cost. Also, 4GA accessories doing better is excluding the effect Bulls Eye has for the party, especially in raids. He is only counting personal dps output. Anyone who has ever checked AH for accessories will notice how incredibly rare int based GA accessories are. They are mostly strength. Also, do take note of the cost of strength GA accessories, one of them is around the price of 2 50A 3rd stat fd plates on our server. Using 2 GA gives you 136 FD, using 2 50A plates gives you 170 FD. Assuming the ratio holds roughly, you could have 340 FD for the same price, depending on market availability etc. And those are for strength based GA accessories. Imagine how much an int accessory will cost.
Let's take a look at stats as well. With technique accessories, you can choose between a 799 int or 608 vit neck, and 599 int or 497 vit earrings. Do take note that in cdn at least, if you swap between different techniques or technique/non technique, there is a high chance for the skill to be DISABLED. Buffs won't work, damage skills deal 0 damage. Technique accessories provide an easy way for an artillery to balance between damage and survivability, start with vit and change to int as you feel comforable. You do not have this freedom with nest accessories.
Also, while the 8% benchmark for ACS + Swift Shot technique's contribution to overall dps might be more or less correct, do remember that Swift Shot is definitely the top tier DPS skill in artillery's arsenal. Under TA, this skill does millions of damage every 2 seconds. The swift shot growth is approximately 11% after using the skill earring (ACS is 17.5%). Considering the use of spirit boost and TA, the damage potential of technique accessories actually rises. (The contribution to total dps becomes distorted since your rate of using the top DPS skill rises. Assuming you use all 4 skills whenever you can, Swift Shot EX's damage / (4 main DPS skills) = 42%, without even considering TA)
As you can see from the chart, honorable is the worst performer. Assuming you need just honorable accessories to max FD, the overall damage growth is lower than 8%! (Using the same method to compute overall contribution to dps) That is the highest leap in damage honorable can achieve, and without even counting bulls eye party application, it cannot even catch up to using just 4 technique accessories. It will only do better if you seal your 2 highest dps skills - Swift Shot and ACS. You cannot adjust your stats with it as well. In other words, honorable is the worst end game accessory choice you can have on an artillery. You lose out on survivability, overall dps, and party support in order to report higher mdmg and fd values. Yes, it sounds cool on paper. But we are talking about dps here, for a dps character. The numbers speak for themselves. (For those who don't get it, you do more DPS using technique over honorable at any FD level, even if honorable would max your FD!)
Also, some might question why I mention Longbow/Crossbow mastery, while the chart on duowan lists Magical Breeze only. As you can see, the damage growth from magical breeze becomes lesser as your fd increases. (Refer to 瞄准暴雪技巧输出提升）
That is because it works similar to plates, and does not multiply with fd, only adding to it. The more fd you have, the better mastery becomes. Do take note that the benefit one has over another hovers around 1% when either are in better position. In other words, they are interchangeable.
Just a tidbit, for those who do not understand why Bulls Eye raises damage by 4% consistently, (even though it is 5% in the skill description), the actual increase in damage is calculated by 130%/125% (Effect with technique / Effect without technique)
Choice of other technique ring besides Bulls Eye to maximize DPS
Magical Breeze vs Longbow/Crossbow Mastery Calculations
Low FD - Magical Breeze Ring
High FD - Longbow/Crossbow Mastery
Armor, Necklace, Earrings: INT + VIT + HP
Rings: MDMG + INT (To push VIT, I am using MDMG + INT + AGI + VIT)
Weapons: MDMG + INT (Best pot overall is MDMG + INT + CRIT + MP RECOVERY, till you reach crit cap)
HP, VIT, DEF, MDEF, INT, MDMG, CRIT, FD
Yes, skip the agi plate. You are better off pushing crit on artillery than agility, mainly due to pots. If you cannot have enough agi pots on your gear, then it is better to pile pure critical over using agi.
Third stats suggested: FD, INT, VIT, MDMG
FD depends upon market availability and your own pockets. INT is generally the best choice, it gives you a nice amount of both MDEF and MDMG. VIT for those who need to push survivability even more (generally not a good idea, there are cheaper ways to push than using third stat plates), MDMG (recommended only for those who want to push their mdmg value to the extreme, INT provides more bang for your buck) Crit is possible, but not recommended. Pots are still the best way to up your crit.
INT vs MDMG 3rd stat basic calculations
Aerial Chain Shot, Extension Arrow EX, Swift Shot EX, Rapid Shot EX (All +% DMG)
Arrow Shower builds with plate expansion slots can consider adding an Arrow Shower plate.
Recommended Stats (DDN)
HP: 270k - 300k (Safe enough for scorpion, watch out for line drive from Death Knight Stage 1, can potentially OHKO you with that skill at 270k HP)
MDMG: At least 15k (People will ask for more, but this is the baseline you should have after sneakily changing your INT accessories to VIT accessories ^^)
End of Guide
Append 1: DDN Scorpion Solo Tips
Append 2: DDN Flower Solo Tips
Append 3: DDN Raid Strategy Overview
Append 4: Spiritual Excellation Calculation
Append 5: Preview for 70 Cap
Append 6: Recommended Video to Watch (How a Top Level Artillery is played)