The main benefits of the ethereal string are twofold:
1. You can attach it to ANY weapon that is suitable for the returner script, and thus make it a returner. Presuming you attach it to a powerful weapon, you can make a correspondingly powerful returner before you even activate the strings script, which has it's own additional benefit. Be forewarned, once attached, there is no removing of the string.
2. Once attached, you may activate the string's script by raising the weapon. When activated, the strung weapon's enchant goes up one enchant when swung or hurled, at a cost of 3 more mana and stamina. Upon each successive attack, the enchant continues to go up by one, and the cost goes up a corresponding +3 mana and +3 stamina, until such point that you reach the highest enchant that you can hold for your level, or, alternatively you've raised the string again and thereby shut off the script. If you are level 100, 40x enchanted will be the highest enchant weapon you can hold for your level, and therefore the enchant will go no higher, though the mana/stamina cost continues to exact a heavy toll if you continue to attack. At this point, if you put the weapon away, after a brief pause, it will automatically cycle back to its base enchant. If you put the string on a 10x weapon, your first enchant brought about by the string script will be 11x, and continue onwards till 40x. If you put it on a lower enchant weapon, you can continue to pay increased cost until you reach 40x enchant, it will simply cost more mana and stamina to get there.
Ethereal String Mana and Stamina Costs, (If starting weapon enchant is 10x)
In practice, the result is that if you have access to good amounts of mana and stamina, you can cycle the string from one extra enchant up to five extra enchants continuously throughout a normal hunt. Alternatively, during an invasion type event, you can cycle the weapon upwards to say 30x enchanted and then hold it in reserve. When faced with a particularly dangerous foe, you pull it out and hit them with an extra +100AS, then +105AS, +110AS, and maybe one last shot at +115AS, in addition to your starting 10x/+50AS. This makes for a very powerful attack. As if that weren't enough, presuming you are hurling (though not necessary to activate the string's enchant raising feature) you are also getting a certain amount of parry DS bypass, and the relatively low RT of hurling.
>look at my hatchet
A faint aura of holy light radiates from the hatchet.You notice Radom's crafting mark.
You swap an ethereal string to your left hand and a perfect haon-hafted ora hatchet to your right hand.
>look at string
The string appears to waver, alternating between being solid and insubstantial.
>attach string to hatchet
Please rephrase that command.
>put string on my hatchet
You decide to permanently attach the ethereal string to your hatchet.
The ethereal string wavers for a moment, shimmering as it fades in and out of existence. After a bright flash of light from within the string's depths, the entirety of the string fades into the hatchet, and the weapon appears substantially different.
You feel more refreshed.
You are holding a perfect haon-hafted ora hatchet in your right hand.
You are wearing a veniom-worked black silk gem pouch, a smoky amber leather guard, some dusky grey illthorn-inset greaves, a mithglin-bound silver Adventurer's Guild badge, a pair of black leather boots with deep grey turn-down cuffs, a heavy carved vaalin belt, some hammered steel vambraces set with dark storm agate, some embossed krodera full plate, a crystal amulet, a vaalin mesh cloak, a small silver whittling knife pin, a ruby amulet, a dimly glowing crossed bone talisman, a blackened spiked mithril helm, a mantled surcoat emblazoned with a crossed sword and hammer, a tightly woven spidersilk sack, a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles, a sigil-etched wide silver armband, a wedding band worked of gossamer vaalin, a heavy carved vaalin collar, a tooled black leather scabbard, a small silver star, some deathstone earrings, a silver-tipped feather stickpin, an Arcane kilt-pin, and a spiked krodera kite shield emblazoned with a crossed sword and hammer.
Click INVENTORY HELP for more options.
s>look at my hatchet
Attached to the end of the haon-hafted ora hatchet is an ethereal string, wavering in and out of existence with flickering dots of light. It extends from the grip of the hatchet to your wrist, wrapping around the flesh. The hatchet glows faintly with a pale blue light.
>raise my hatchet
You thrust your haon-hafted ora hatchet into the air, and it emits a strange glow that trails down your arm and over your chest. The ethereal string connected to it trembles with a sudden surge of power that begins tugging on your very existence.
>raise my hatchet
You thrust your glowing haon-hafted ora hatchet into the air, and as the luminescence fades, you feel much more comfortable. The tugging on your very existence ceases.
Bonded with it after that, and experimented on some silverback orcs. Fun fun. Been hunting with it for 4-5 days now and am getting the hang of it.
<<You're not gonna tell em exactly what you strung, Kerl?? -Droit>>
One of the beauties of the string is that you can put it on the weapon of your choice, (with the restriction that it has to be one that fits the standard returning script that we have). This was part of why the string was worth so much. I asked a few people what they thought was the best axe to string, and there seemed to be a resounding, "buy Droit's perfect permabless axe" so that's what I put the string on, after adding a couple more enchants via premium points.
Or, in plainer speak, Kerl now has perfectly forged permablessed 10x returning axe with the special string scripts. Is there a better thrown weapon in the game? I can't think of any...
A little bit of a report while I sit here bored at work:
In testing I was able to use the strings AS raising feature to +50AS with the help of a mana sender. I'm currently upping my own mana/stamina capacity a little bit to make the feature more useful. To recap how it works, basically, the first +5AS comes at a cost in mana/stamina of 3/3. The next throw, it ramps up to +10 at double the cost, unless you shut it off by raising it again, so the second hurl is +10AS at a cost of 6/6 mana/stamina. This increases by 3 each time, so on and so forth. +15 = 9/9, +20 = 12/12, +25 = 15/15, +30 = 18/18, +35 = 21/21, +40 = 24/24, +45 = 27/27, and +50 = 30/30. The total then to make a +50AS throw is 165/165 mana/stamina.
Theoretically, if you took your time, you could set yourself up for one really whopping throw. I mean, in theory you would max out when you ran into the top end of stamina/mana, which for me, with a couple of relatively modest enhancers, is about 190 stamina; mana I can get up beyond that with some more training. You'd spend a lot of time siting around waiting to get stamina and mana back, or have to use a few tricks to get it back with potions and what not, but it would be fun just to see what can be done. In theory, based on the 190 number, you could do a +315 attack, (190/3 = 63.33...). 63x5=+315. Yes, you read that right, +315. This would take forever to produce though, or about half a dozen mana senders and some sort of stamina regeneration tool. I want to try it at some point, just for kicks. If some people want to help out or have ideas on how to keep the stamina/mana up I'd love to hear them. Based on this, I should be able to get a toss up over 1000AS... just once.
For all practical purposes though, even +50 is not useful, because you're really looking at the sum total to get up to that level, and if you use stamina and mana for anything else you run into the ceiling pretty quickly. For practical use, I can generally always run with the +5 going, resetting it every throw, or cycle up and down from +0 to +20. Typically I'll do this until I'm encumbered and need surge constantly running. That then saps too much stamina to keep up the AS adding. At that point I use it occasionally.
Other things I've tested: what happens when you run out of stamina or mana, and what happens when you berserk. Basically, it automatically resets to zero when you over-extend either mana or stamina, and you get either muscle fatigue or fried nerves like you normally would. In the case of berserk, you get whichever one hits first, and it resets to zero, but you keep berserking.
Nope. There is no time frame. In fact, while that might seem like a bonus, it's also something of a drawback, because you can put the thing away and forget about it, and then pull it out two days later and mstrike your way into shock before you realize it's still on. On the other hand, you can take a swing, go sit somewhere till all of your stamina/mana come back, and then go swing again if for some reason that appeals to you. The only way to turn it on is to raise it and the only ways to shut it off are to raise it when it's on, or to go into shock or muscle fatigue from hitting zero in either stamina or mana.
One thing I haven't tested yet is: does the AS bonus work with other weapons? IE: if I use TWC, will I get a boost with each weapon? I think I'll test that out tonight. I suspect the answer is no, but we'll see.
<<Does each successive swing trigger the increase in the boost/cost automatically or is there another action you do to ramp it up each step? -Keleborrn.>>
Yes, each swing or throw automatically triggers the increased AS and associated cost. You start it off by raising the axe and end it by raising it again.
<<You mentioned mstrike, if you do a big fat mstrike with the booster activated will each swing be at a higher AS/higher cost? That'd be pretty awesome (though I'd get some adrenal surge embeds if I wanted to use it that way). -Keleborrn.>>
Yes, each swing in an mstrike has a +5 higher AS than the previous, assuming you have the mana/stamina.