Saturday, November 24, 2012

Salesmanship: flooz and Black Friday

flooz Just what you wished for

I've been worried about DDO for a while. Not for all the reasons listed in Dooom threads (lag monster, too easy, too hard, not revolving around me). I worry about DDO because the promotions are too good.

You see, back before the internet accepted credit cards, there was a company called "flooz." Dumb name but catchy. And it had Whoopie Goldberg as a spokeswoman. flooz was always spelled in lowercase though it was a proper noun and even when it started a sentences like the one you are reading right now. But most importantly, flooz had a uniquely futuristic vision:

"Wouldn't it be great if you could buy things on the internet? Now you can, with flooz!"

They didn't claim to reach perfection. But they did have a system -- and it worked! You could buy flooz over the telephone (using your credit card) and then you could buy things DIRECTLY from the internet, or using e-mail. Very cool.

I was acutely aware of flooz because at the turn of the millenium I had a desk job at Starbucks Coffee Company. I occasionaly did business in flooz but the people in the cubicles on the other side of the isle did flooz orders all day long.

Then one weekend three things happened pretty much simultaniously.
1. New customers started contacting me out of nowhere. Their first questions were always "Do you take flooz?" and "What Starbucks Gift baskets can I get for exactly $X.XX?"
2. I used a pencil, paper and linear algebra to streamline the process of getting an order to cost exactly $X.XX.
3. The guy on the other side of the row bought an $800 Palm pilot for less than $200 so he could read e-books and e-newspapers.

I wanted to get in on that deal. So I asked where did you get 80% off on a state of the art Palm pilot with 16 color backlit monochrome display? He told me an interesting story: flooz was selling several dollars worth of flooz for one dollar.

flooz was offering a discount on money.

And that's how he got the discount. He bought a bunch of discounted flooz and IMMEDIATELY spent the flooz on goods. He bought the Palm pilot, his friend bought a computer and a friend of a friend bought a motorcycle.

But he warned me not to buy flooz. He said "I don't care who you are, NO ONE can stay in business giving a discount on money." And he was right, soon flooz stopped paying money, then it stopped taking money. It's website used to be a catalogue of all the places that accepted flooz but it became a single page that said "Closed" and then the logo.

I went around the entire floor of Starbucks HQ and told them the same joke about how on the website it says "flooz is closed, just what you wished for" because honestly I didn't like the hastle of dealing with flooz. A few days later they took of the tagline, ruining the joke. I guess my joke was original, but not unique.

Anyway, because of that I always have a twinge of fear whenever Turbine offers a sale and also a sale on their money. Turbine is on safer ground because you can't spend TP outside of Turbine, you can't buy a motorcycle with TP for example. But even so, whenever I saw Turbine's crazy black friday sales, I was always felt sorry for them. It's kinda pathetic to offer such a steep discount on money.

But this year, Turbine's sales have struck me as sane and responsible.

Take Menace of the Underdark for example. The only way to buy MotU is with money. Granted, there is a third option to pay with turbine points, but the great options, to buy it ASAP, or to buy it this weekend with a 75% discount are only available for real money. That fills me with confidence because honestly, selling cool things for TP sold at rock bottom prices reminds me too much of flooz.

I think that the era of shamefuly low prices on cool things is over too. Personaly I like that because I feel like I can wait for a sale and save 30%, or buy it now, but in no case do I have to feel like an idiot for paying full price instead of waiting for the 80% sale.

Over all, I feel very happy with Turbine's new non-pathetic pricing structure. I'm also impressed with the Free01 promo code -- it's a great way to introduce people to the DDO store. I bought some red sparkles for my gelatinous cube pet. And I keep telling everyone in game to use their Free01 discount code, just so they learn to shop there. Click the red button on the lower left and select store.

I also see the sense in picking MotU as the doorbuster. MotU is a great price, but it's also something you want at the END of a character's life, like when you hit level 20. Getting there without spending cash is possible (I know, cuz I did it) but once you buy into that end-goal of going to the Forgotten Realms you may as well spend some real money to get some TP so you can enjoy more of Ebberon's quests.

TLDR; I'm glad that Turbine's new promotion style seems sustainable. I enjoy shopping more now that there's a bit more price protection.

Edit: flooz not Flooz. Oh how that brings back the memories.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tr4 Palidin rogue: The one man pug

I true reincarnated today.

Previous life was Daxe and shield. At the end I had reliable hate tanking and intimidate but the DPS was terrible! Damage mitigation was useless without evasion. So, partway through I picked up two rogue levels for evasion and Use magic device. That made for a very survivable yet harmless tank.

This time around I'm taking rogue for evasion and trap finding. It's not impossible for me because of all my +3 tomes.

So i kept the same name, race (Dwarf), face, alignment (lawfull good), and class (paladin). But I took rogue at level one for the bonus skill points. Korthos is much easier than I remember. I was able to elite solo it all. I compensated for the difficulty by imposing some rules for myself, no bank or buying. It took longer but I enjoyed the challenge. Loot is much better than I recollect.

Then at level 3 in the harbor I opened up the bank vault to see what I saved for myself. The only twink gear I had was a cannith crafted Daxe, mirror cloak and 70 invisibility pots. I've got more twink gear, but I like to swap at level 4, 8, 12, 16, 18, 20 to avoid too much clutter.

So far I've really enjoyed doing traps and locks. I don't have any specialty gear until I reach level 4, but so far I've had good luck. If this build doesn't work out I've got a complimentary reincarnation plus two hearts of wood. So I'm confident I can goof around and correct any mistakes as needed.

After I get some more play time I'll hit level 4 and pull out all my loot. That's gonna be great.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My First time: Twist of fate

Whee! I got a twist of fate point. I've been so busy getting my money's worth out of the Stone of XP I haven't had time to pay much attention to the Twist of fate. ...until now!

Currently my Paladin has a bunch of Unyielding Sentinal Epic destiny -- it's solid stuff. More AC, more PRR, more hitpoints and aggro. But, somehow it doesn't seem to live up to the "EPIC" promise, and especialy not compared to the outstanding DPS everyone else seems to be putting out with their more graphically in-yo-face destinies.

Well anyway I unlocked a twist of fate point so now I can twist a level power... as soon as I level up another Epic destiny a bit.

From where I'm at, the easiest path is to take Radient Servant. Theres lots of good stuff but the only thing I can twist easily is a boost to healing spellpower. I wouldn't mind even more powerful self heals, so that's good enough to justify the detour. There's a button a the top of the Radient servant button that appeared now that I can make it my active destiny. Fittingly it's called "activate destiny." Overall I think this is a good system, but it seems really simple compared to all the thought that goes into making a good character.

I think it would have been better to put this easy character planning stuff at the begining of DDO, and then put some byzentine monstrosity of char op at the end game. But then perhaps there's some reason why it's good to reward Epic players with simple and elegant design?

There's only one person who would be insane enough to inject transparency and playability into Dungeons and Dragons. It could only be my nemesis -- Dr. Moriarty! Oh wait no, lemme do that over again. It can only be My nemisi -- The guys who made D&D 4th edition and their intended hipster audience!

Don't mess with me bro! I've got a $0 in my pocket and I'm not afraid to use it! Remember how 4e failed? That's all because of my $0! Yeah, so don't mess with the opaque convoltion and complexity of DDO! 

And that goes for the Pit and the Coal chamber too! I like that they're hard! (exept the elevators in Coal, those are very nice.)

/Brandishes $0

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An auspicious harbringer

Thanks alot Turbine! My myDDO was all screwy (see two posts prior), but now it''s fixed. I totaly underestimated you guys. I did not expect so quick a turn around. Not only do I have complete myDDO functionality, you saved me the effort of submitting an official bug report. ('Cuz you fixed it before I bugged it.)

In other news I got some nice loot. From Tower of Despair shadow chest I pulled a +3 Wisdom tome, now I've got inherent +3 STR, DEX, CON, WIS, CHA and +2 INT.

Suulomades tanking went better this time. My first intimidate missed him so he went running after the casters. But I caught up to him and got his attention with "Intollerant blows" a Paladin Epic Destiny that gives +1000% hate for twelve seconds (and here's the cute part) with a twelve second cooldown! I put that on my main toolbar and it's really nice to have the remaining durration on the toolbar where I can see it (and not in the mess of icons squished into the upper margin). Of course, afterwards I realized that I forgot to switch into my Epic tanking stance (stand against the tide) so I guess it's good that I've got so much extra aggro.

And from VoN3 I got a half dozen Potions of Barkskin (+5) durration 12 miniutes ML 1. I was agog because for the longest time the entire reason people would invite my Ranger into groups was because my +5 barkskin spell was superior to quaffing a weaksauce +3 barkskin potion.

And lastly, the end is nigh! I cashed in my Epic! token shards. Now I can afford a TR. So what now? I want to do more endgame, I want to start my 3rd Paladin life, I want to unlock Favored Soul.... I don't see any clear stopping point, but there are so many goals in easy reach I think it will be a while before I return to Korthos.

Tennitively, I'm going to not TR until I can unlock all of my Epic Destiny (paladin).

How do you know when it's time to TR?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Admire my bag

The Auction House is trouble for me. I place a bid, I wait for a few hours and then at the last possible second some ninja ninjas my item! But last night the stars aligned and I had a nice shopping experience. I bid on an auction with 4 hours to go. And this morning when I logged in, I was elated to find my prize waiting for me at the mailbox.

(Yes, my fellow parents, the prime source of joy in this story is that I was sleeping for 4+ hours! :D )

I won a Large (red) Collectables Bag. I know, from reading the description that it holds 80 kinds of items in stacks of up to 1000, but I didn't know how much of an improvement that would be over the four sub-large collectables bags I have in my inventory up until now.

So, one by one I emptied out four of my little bags (a medium, a small and two tinys) and put the empty bags in my bank. Then I clicked the gather all button and to my delight, all of those collectables fit. It was only half full.

But wait, there's more!

DDO is currently holding a sale on the extra character bank slots (that's the best kind of extra slots because it's cheaper than the account wide upgrade.) I bought that for less than 500 TP, and offloaded my extra treasures into the bank.

It's so nice to have the added bankspace, but there was a final surprise. Gianthold stuff (giant boots, elvish relics etc... now fit into the green ingredient bags instead of the red collectable bags. After I got that sorted I had 37 free inventory slots!

I don't know why I didn't upgrade sooner. (Oh right, I was waiting for a sale) Anyway, this inventory solution has really breathed new life into my character, I can't wait to fill up the space with useful tools, or perhaps just leave it open so I can "Loot All" more and run back to the vendors less.

The only downside in all this is an embarassment of riches. I've currently got 145 of 150 planar shards required for yet another large bag of my choice (Ingredient, Collectables or Gem) and honestly I don't think I need any at the moment! I planned to get two large (red) collectables bags but I was totaly surprised that one large bag is more than twice the equal of the other four bags. Still, too much storage is a nice problem to have in DDO. :D

Friday, November 16, 2012

Test: Hello world?

I can't see any of my previous posts. Hello?

Edit/Update: I can't see my posts or my Avatar when I'm logged in. I can see my posts and my Avatar when I'm logged out. This is true across several platform Win7 (IE, Chrome, Firefox) IOS6.1(Safari) and the DDO in-game browser (with the caviat that I don't know how to log out and see the in-game browser).

Oh, and thanks to you guys for responding. They showed up in my e-mail but I can't see them here on myDDO. @Bluesilence I've got 17 characters according to myDDO (although I think it is counting a bunch of long deleted Korthos favor farmers.) And anyway, I think the ten character minimum is the number of "alphanumeric characters" you have to have in a post, and not the number of "player characters."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Endgame catalyst: Best class?

I forget the exact date, but around the time that guildships were invented I was invited into a cool guild on Orien and it changed my DDO experience forever.

Prior to that fateful day my playstyle was one character per server. It was a fun way to see the differences on the servers the crazy inflation on Thelanis, the robust Chinese speaking population on late-night Sarlona, and the optimistic undergeared and happy population of the brand new server Cannith. I liked Cannith best. I liked the frontier.

And when an even newer server-frontier opened I migrated again. So there I was, on Orien showing off my ability to multishot snipe beholders in the quest Invaders before they could get within eyebeam range. It's a neat trick but some of the people in the group were so impressed that they invited me to their guild.

The guild was so fun, I stopped spending time on the other servers and focused all my gametime into one character. I looked forward to great anticipation for TRing, not only because I'd get more ability points, but also because Past Life Ranger would give me a huge advantage -- +2 exceptional elemental resistance. Now of course that's not a big deal because ship buffs are so easy to come by, but back then it was a big deal.

Anyway, then I unlocked the Vale of Twilight (using free f2p Turbine Points) and the economy of Green Steel encouraged me to spend all my time on one character only. You can share most of the Green Steel ingredients between characters, but the items themselves are bound to character. I didn't see the point in grinding out hundreds of sets of identical GS. So instead, I've focused all of my DDO gametime into one character.

I like having only one character. It's fun because each TR feels like a story, starting in Korthos and ending in Shavarath. Along the way I anticipate the joy of leveling into range of quests I haven't played for a long time. For example, I was on Korthos when all the big changes to the Shroud blades happened. I couldn't get into Shroud for a long time, so I just imagined what the blades must be like. And you know all those people who complain whenever they get something cool on the wrong alt? That's not me. Never. All of my loot is for my main. And the grind seems very managable for me. When I was on one character per server I got kinda burnt out on doing the same quest several times on every server. The game play was fresh because my characters play so differently from one another, but I started memorizing the lines in a way that's not condusive to fun "Oh no! The Suhagan found me!"

But having only one character has downsides too. If I had many characters it would be easier to get gametime. And farming specific content would be easier too. Like right now I've got a Paladin Tank I'm really proud of (yes my loyal readers, upgrading my Dragon Touched armor has improved tanking that much). And when I TR my main, I lose all my accumulated Favor. A dedicated favor alt could stay at cap and easily hit the new favor maximum whenever I get new Adventure Packs.

So, having said that, what class is best catalyst for play? By that I mean, which class will allow me to most frequently say "No problem, I'll log into my other character and then we can stop waiting and start playing."

TANKS: Raid LFMs often stall looking for a good tank. This is a great choice but gearing a tank is a ton of work. If I was gonna go this way I'd just designate my current main as the favor farmer and roll up a new main. I might just do it...

HEALERS: Groups often beg and send tells for more "Hjeals plz" so they can start a quest or raid.

BARD: In any group it's always great to have exactly one bard. Some raid leaders won't start without one. Bards are super popular with the Vault of Night and I think that red dragonscale will continue to be something I wish I had more of for the forseeable future. An Epic Bard could also be a fine haggler for all the junk that won't fit into the hopper of the Canith Crafting deconstructor.

ARTIFICER: I know I always love having these guys along for durring the 2.3 seconds it takes them to enchant my weapons. But does any raid or group ever "need" an artificer before they start?

CASTERS: Sometimes parties won't start for lack of a caster, but there are so many casters I don't think I'd roll a caster to be the hero that saves a stalled out PUG.

ROGUE: Everyone needs rogues at low and mid level play. But I can't ever remember a high level group waiting on a rogue, or any trap monkey.

So, after writing all this out, I've discovered that Bard is the most appealing catalyst. Am I right? What class would you choose for an end-game catalyst?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Levik's: Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!

A while back I finished Stealer of Souls (SoS) but since the quest took so long I logged out without claming my prizes. I meant to, I wanted to, but every time I logged in there was some really cool PUG that I wanted more. I did epics and raids and S/E/Rs and Mabar and before I knew it I forgot all about my unclaimed end reward. ...until last night.

I'm anticipating the return of Mabar by holding at level 20 so I can farm efficiently without spawning the giant skellies. I'm building up XP but at merely level 20, I'm definitely the runt in any Pick Up Group (PUG). Since I'm only level twenty, I advertise myself as the tank of last resort.

So anyway I joined a Tower of Despair PUG, and when a higher level tank joined I was demoted to Suulumades tank. I kept losing Suulumade's aggro between successful intimidates. The melee were fine. Between the epic destiny and the new hurt-free AC system, everyone is too tough to care about a bit of sloppy tanking. I wonder though if that means that people will eventually re-engineer characters to have less survivability?

In any case, everyone was cool except for a Paladin who "helped me tank" by standing next to me. Sadly his "helping" only happened when I used intimidate! ;)

But anyway it got me thinking about working more hate into my build, and that got me thinking about DT, and soon I was on my way to pick up my long-forgotten reward from Stealer of Souls!

My friends say I'm a daredevil but realy my bravery is in statistics. Whenever I'm brave it's because I've calculated that the odds are sufficiently stacked in my favor. When it comes down to the rune grinding lotto, I can't stand it. I get this sorta unpleasant sense of dread because, as far as I know, the only way to stack the odds in my favor is to have many many runes to risk.


Well so here's what I did. I closed my eyes, twisted away from the computer and peeked at the screen out of the corner of my eye. I grabbed the mouse with the tips of my fingers and ground up the eldrich runes quick quick quick. Then I did the same with tempest runes. Finaly I popped open my bag and looked at what I had obtained.

I wanted Soverign Rune of threat (20% hate) but instead I got... Soverign Rune of Levik's (20% hate with my current setup.) Not bad! I had given up on Levik's because of how much I dread the Rune lotto, but technicaly it's BETTER than the other rune with the caviat that I need to wear at least one other Levik's item.

Levik's bracers was my first ever DDO item that I wanted and got. I claimed it as my 20th reward and I've worn them ever since. The shield has eluded me, but the idea of finding it and having the complete Levik's set is thrilling. I'm not sure how much of an impact there will be in the differential between 20% and 50% increased hate. But shield wise I can't find a better option.

And so you see how it is. Just when I thought I was finaly out of grinding threat gear, Levik's pulled me back in!

If you need me, I'll be tanking Hound of Xoriat. ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

(Say) Toddler says: Summon the Spectral Dragon!

The kids are more exposed to my DDO habit lately because of Mabar. Usualy I try to turn DDO off before they wake up. Partly because I need the time to instil sentorial values in their malleable toddler minds, but also because I don't like telling my PUG buddies "BRT picking up rasins" "AFK they're not rasins."

So this morning while I was steaming a latte to awaken my wife from her beauty sleep, I was delighted to see my terrible-two year old daughter run to the computer and grab my MMO mouse. On our desk, the Logitech G600 sits exactly her eye height. It's black with twelve laser etched rainbow strobing LED thumb buttons. There's another eight glowing buttons that are too tall for her to see, even on tippy toe.

Lightning fast, she grabbed the mouse in her right hand and slid it back and forth as quickly as she could. She shouted "LOOK PAPA! I! HELP-HELP! ING! YOU!"

My Main, the Level 20 Dwarf Paladin into which I have poured all of my free time into for the last few years, spun wildly in place. I let my other kids play DDO unders strict supervision, usualy swimming a character of their own design with some twink underwater breathing gear, but this terrible-two year old ambush caught me by surprise. Would I be Mordenkainened?

For the last three years I've been scrupulous about locking and binding all my loot, so there's a pretty specific series of steps that it would take to delete my gear. I took a gamble and took the latte to the wife.

A few seconds later, I was back to supervise my "helper." She was content to spin in place so I listened to my 4yo boy explain his drawing of a hyenas ear canals while keeping one eye on her. She got bored and wandered off.

A few miniutes later the Spectral Chamber opened, I put on my headset and warned everyone I'd be deep in the game for a good ten miniutes. I find that it's better for all of us if I have a few miniutes alone to really immerse myself in game. And it's less frusterating for the kids too.

She wandered back and noticed the night gargoyles. "Look! Is scary monster with a dragon wing! On his back!" She's by far my most talkative kid at two, but I've never heard her talk about a dragon's physiology before. So I scooped her up into my lap, I pulled of the headphones cranked up the sound and let her experience DDO.

She loved it! I explained the monsters she saw were "Gargoyles" because they make a gargling sound. But she got them mixed up and made gobbling sounds instead. She does that alot, "apple cider" becomes "apple spider." And in the song the "itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout" she always sings the itchy itchy spider.

She liked the acid cloud (green cloud!) and the dog vanity pet ("I hear a dog say 'woof woof!' I see a dog -- he is hiding in a GREEN cloud! He is funny! Ha ha!) and the iron defender ("He another dog!")

It took her a while to recognise the Spectral Dragon as a dragon. We fought it from the side and it was hard to see it clearly. But then at the very last it teleported in and presented a perfect sillohette. She recognised it and cheered as we vanquished it (which is my mom-safe euphamism for "kill.")

I don't think she'll be like her older siblings who, were happy to sit on my lap and speculate about what the monsters liked to eat when they weren't feasting on adventurers. But I'm glad that I had the chance to play Mabar with her today. It was really fun to see all the connections she was making.

Edit: It was also fun to teach her to say "Summon the Spectral Dragon!" Although when I tried to teach her how to say "Happy Mabar" in a scary voice she just laughed. "Mabar is funny!"

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fun vs Bugs: The Mabar showdown recap

This week we witnessed an epic battle between two old foes striving to capture the most valued of all prizes -- the hearts and minds of BossOfEarth.

Longstanding champion, Fun, has enjoyed a nearly uninterupted ascendency ever since DDO went Free to Play back in September of '09. Fun cemented their regency with early victories such as the eradication of leveling tokens, the guest Narration by Gary Gygax, and the masterfull use of vertical dungeoncrafting as seen in Halls of Shan-to-Kor, the Pit, and the Colesence chamber. And who can forget the Fun victory of ye olde Epics, True Reincarnation, and seasonal events like the Crystal Cove?

The Underdog and challenger, Bugs, has proven to be a mighty foe, but one who until now, has had only a few solid victories: the failure of BossOfEarth's video card and the explosion of the telphone pole right outside his house when he was on the very cusp of looting a large devil scale. But both of those resounding victories were as short lived as the zappy electrical sounds they made. Currently, the video card has been replaced and the telephone pole has been re-wired with a pre-exploded transformer.

But this month saw an unexpected defeat of Fun as Bugs sallyed forth to strike a killing blow aimed at the very heart of Fun's high holy ground. Yes, unforseen circumstances canceled the Crystal Cove. The world was thrown into darkness and "Talk like a Pirate day" was replaced by "Emote like an Emo" day :(


Reeling from a that unmitigated defeat, Fun staggered headlong into yet another cunning Bug victory. Mabar was canceled almost as soon as it began. No one would have blamed Fun for giving up on Mabar. The voice of reason cried out "Stay down! Don't get up!" But since when has Fun been the obedient servant of reason?

Foolish and brave, Fun grabbed Mabar by the scruff of the neck and lifted both of them to their full stature, only to be struck with the full force of Hurricane Sandy, a weather pattern so buggy it wasn't even named after the right element.

Mabar was worse for the wear, bugs were spawning ground fireworks, charging double keys to enter the spectral summoning chamber, underspawning giant skellys and underdistributing loot. Entire instances were bugged and the spirits of Mabar twisted towards averice.

While the lazy staff of Turbine idled around waiting for their homes to stop being destroyed by Sandy, the brave players lept to the rescue. It is true that not all of the players were up to the challenge. Some abandoned Delera's to play Xbox, Candyland, or Everyone is the winner.

Those who remained learned to survive. Learned to click the change instance button. Learned how to defeat a spectral dragon that was far far below proper CR. And they paid the ultimate price: two keys per entrance to the summoning chamber.

And thus it came to pass that although bugs extracted a sea of tears they were not able to sail to victory.

TLDR; Mabar was more fun than it was buggy. Thank you Turbine. I look forward to more!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mabar Cloaks: Now witness the firepower of this armed and fully operational cloak rack!

I have all the Mabar: cloaks of Night I want. Here is my review of what I've got, what I don't and why.

Cloak of Night level 4:
This humble cloak is spectacular for self-healing melee. When hit you randomly turn invisible long enough to cast a few uninterrupted self-heals. Note that the cloak casts IMPROVED invisibility -- unlike regular invisibility, you can do anything without breaking it. You can fight, pull levers, open doors, cast spells, cast torches anything!

Additionaly, the invisibility looks cool -- dissapear in a swarm of bats. Perfect for showboating for the noobs in Waterworks.

Cloak of night LEVEL 8.
I choose not to own this cloak. Dusk is a nice upgrade but I zoom through this level range so quickly I didn't want to devote a precious inventory slot to this and the level 4 cloak. That said, it's also a sound choice to pick Dusk over showboating in Waterworks

Cloak of night 12:
Deathblock is the killer app on this cloak. There are other places to get deathblock but none is so convienient as this cloak. Deathward is generaly superior to death block, but deathblock is specifically Beholder-proof. Additionaly level 12 cloak is harmless so you can use it without worrying about accidentaly slaying something. 

If you only get one cloak of night, LEVEL 12 is the one to get.

Cloak of Night level 16: 

Two great upgrades: Ghostly and Nightmare guard. Ghostly thwarts the incorporeal miss chance that certain monsters have. Nightmare guard procs two attacks force and phantasmal killer. Phantasmal killer is great because it's instadeath. Force is great because it's seldom resisted. Finaly, this cloak gets a 1% dodge.

Ghostly is a huge upgrade for some types of characters but moot for others. I've been missing the level 16 cloak for a year, swapping in ghost touch gloves and stuff and I really really missed this cloak.

Cloak of Night 20:
Gains DR 5/good (which is basicaly DR 5 because honestly, who throws a shoe!?).  The Dodge 1% upgrades to dodge  2%. That was a huge upgrade for me when I got it, but now that Dodge works the post-MotU way, 2% dodge is only 1% better.

I'm happy to have this cloak but it's not a big deal on my current chararacter (Paladin Tank). That said, on my first life this cloak was tremendous -- the DR 5 really takes the sting out of papercuts.

Cloak of Night 24:
I own, but haven't played much of the MotU content yet. I was too busy using the Stone of XP to enjoy the endgame. As such I'm not sure how big a deal the extra Dodge and DR is for a "typical" player. But since I plan to keep TRing I don't have much use for Epic!-level gear.

TLDR; Cloak of Night is perfect for self-sufficent melee.