Having Some Fun with Collectibles

I’m one of those players that will click on anything that “shiny” in order to gather loot, even if the “loot” is nothing more than a collectible.  Collectibles have been part of DDO since day 1 and since I started playing I have always clicked on those random mushrooms, backpacks, bookcases, and work benches in order to get as much from any quest and adventure zone as possible.  I also always look forward to seeing the “purple tea bags” dropping from slain enemies knowing that I can get even more collectibles.  Now, for the longest time collectibles were basically used to receive minor “rewards” from collectible traders spread throughout Stormreach.  At one point, the only collectibles worth gathering were those that could be traded to the House Deneith traders at the top of Sentinel Tower which offered you alchemical stat and skill point buffs.  Even so, I still collected every possible collectible there was.

Collectibles then become more sought after, certain collectibles anyway, when the Alchemical Rituals were added to the game.  I remember a time when the Tome: Prophecies of Khyber  and Lightning-Split Soarwood were selling for prices just as high as many Stat Tomes on the Auction House.  However, this only really affected a few collectibles.

However, with the release of the new augment system a new reward system was developed for collectibles as well, which really revamped the awards available and created a new barter box window very similar to what you see in many of the other turn in vendors (such as Crystal Cove and Mabar).  Since I have hoarded a large number of collectibles of the years (I mean thousands…literally..) I started to turn some in, primarily for some healing elixirs.  But I also wanted to see what kind of luck I could get by turning some collectibles in for the “random” augments (which were added to the collectible vendors) and I was pleasantly surprised.  See I was looking for a Feather Fall augment to slot into my Night Forge Gorge on Erdrique so that I wouldn’t have to swap out feather falling boots all of the time.  I was surprised when the first augment I received was a Topaz of Feather Falling .  I then turned in some collectibles for some low level ruby augments for my next life and got a nice set of fire, ice, and acid damaging augments.  Overall, I like the turn in system quite a bit.
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Erdrique turning in some collectibles.

I do still think that the cost of the random augments are still quite high, but like I said, I have a plethora of these collectibles and wanted to see what I would get. 

In either case, I enjoy the new system and like it much better than the vague reward system that was in place before.  I look forward to seeing what other tweaks that may occur with it. 

Thanks for reading everybody!!  Happy Hunting!!

A Look at the Tear of Dhakaan

Last week I took a look at two quests that have been in DDO nearly since it was created, Gwylan’s Stand and Stromvauld’s Mine.  Today I wanted to write up an article on another classic DDO quest: The Tear of Dhakaan.  Not too long ago, Cordovan actually put out a live Twitch TV stream of a run through the Tear of Dhakaan with the permadeath guild, Mortal Voyage.  The Tear of Dhakaan was released with first Module for DDO, The Dragon’s Vault

I have a lot of fond memories of this quest.  I remember one particular instance back when the level cap was 10 when I (with my main character Erdrique who was a paladin at the time) and another Crypt Crawler, a bard named Kimmy, decided to run this quest duo.  Now keep in mind that a lot of things were different back then and we didn’t have the resources that we had now.  Times have definitely changed that is for sure but needless to say it took us a number of hours to get through the  twisting tunnels of the Arzag-Khor sewers.  We both died a number of times and had to reenter the dungeon a few times, but in the end we prevailed

The Tear of Dhakaan is located in the House Phiarlan Ward and is bestowed by a hobgoblin named Karnat Thaar.  The premise of the quest is to basically decimate the forces of the Arzag-Khor and their leaders to allow Karnat’s tribe the ability to recover the pieces of the Tear of Dhakaan.  The Arzag-Khor lair is located in the sewers and below of Stormreach.  It is actually a pretty impressive layout, starting out in the sewers in the upper levels of the quest zone and then filtering down into a wide chasm that has been turned into a hobgoblin village. 

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Erdrique fighting his way through the Arzag-kor hobgoblins.

As you can imagine, being a hobgoblin stronghold, the vast majority of the enemies are hobgoblins along with their worg pets.  There are a large number of optionals in the quest, from collecting the various pieces of the Tear of Dhakaan to defeating a number of Arzag-khor leaders, which add up quickly adding to the overall experience you can gain from completing the adventure.  The enemies do include a large number of spellcasters and rangers, who are often perched in upper platforms out of  immediate reach of melees which can make these instances very difficult if you don’t take them into account.  Also, when you reach the large chasm/opening after transvering through the tunnels, the enemies respawn forcing you to move through that particularly part of the quest rather quickly.  Once you get past the initial open area, the start of the Arzag-khor village, and its leading tunnel, the enemies stop respawning. 

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Erdrique and Okhamel taking on one of the many optional names in the Tear of Dhakaan.

As for traps, there are a few traps, but they aren’t especially dangerous, on the main route to the Arzag-khor leader.  However, if you can get to the optional pieces/shards of the Tear of Dhakaan, then be prepared because there are a number of traps guarding a few of these pieces that can be especially wicked and dangerous.  There is also a locked shrine later on in the quest that can be useful, but isn’t necessary.  To get all of the shards, you need to be able to have a party member activate some runes (Intelligent and Wisdom runes).     

The Tear of Dhakaan is still a favorite quest to run for many people on heroic true reincarnation train because of the large amount experience you can get out of the quest, especially on Bravery Bonus elite streak.  When I ran this last with Erdrique, I received nearly 23,000 experience and he didn’t receive a the Bravery Bonus elite streak. 

The Tear of Dhakaan, like Gwylan’s Stand, is an “Oldie by Goodie”.  It can be quite challenging for those who have never been through it before and especially for those who lag behind in the respawn zone.  But it is a fun and immersive quest that I have always enjoyed.  Another good thing about the Tear of Dhakaan, it gives out House Kundarak favor, a good amount as well, which will help get access to another bank slot. 

Well that is for today, thanks for reading everybody!!  Now get back into DDO and go do some hobgoblin hunting!!  Happy hunting everybody!!

Questing over the Easter Weekend, April 18-20

My quest runs over the Easter Holiday weekend were relatively light compared to my usual weekend runs.  I had Good Friday off from work, so I didn’t do a typical slayer run like I would on a normal Friday.  However, I did log on with a few of my characters throughout the day, bound and determined to take it easy on Good Friday, and played around with their inventory.  See I have this grand scheme concocted that will take some time to get in place but once it does, I hope all of my inventory issues will be taken care of.  So I really didn’t get any questing in until Friday night when I logged on with Erdrique (Level 10 Druid) and decided to take him through the Sentinel of Stormreach chain (Bargain of Blood, The Black Loch, Storm the Beaches, and The Tide Turns).  I completed all of the quests on elite without much difficulty, using only my hireling, my pet (Fang), and a summoned monsters.  I was afraid that the traps in Bargain of Blood and in The Tide Turns would cause me some issues but I had no problems bypassing them for the most part.  Although my cleric hireling didn’t fair so well in the traps in The Tide Turns.  The only other hitch I ran into was the annoying lag that I always get while running The Black Loch when I enter the pirate ship lagoon.  Not sure what it is, probably some drawback issues or something, but I always wind up getting a good amount of lag in there.  But besides that the quests ran really smoothly.  I called a night after that chain.

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Erdrique and his gang in the Bargain Bazaar.

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Erdrique fighting the pirates and zombies in the Black Loch.

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Erdrique fighting a spirit caller in Storm the Beaches.

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Erdrique gazing at the smug Captain Tew.

Now, I didn’t actually plan on logging in on Saturday night, as I have started a new thing where I decided to spend every third Saturday night of the month relaxing with my wife and watching the plethora of movies that are awaiting us on our Netflix list.  However, she had to unexpectedly go into work which allowed me to pop into DDO for a little while.  So I brought Erdrique back on decided to just focus on his next slayer area: Sorrowdusk Isle.  I ran through the zone a few times and during my adventuring through the jungles of the Isle, Hellbanisher logged in.  He found some time to hit some runs as well and was working hard to get his main character up to level 20 to do another heroic TR.  We chatted for awhile and then I had to log out as I had received a call from my wife letting me know that she was done with her shift and heading home.  At that point Hellbanisher headed into the Shroud hoping to get what he needed to finish off a greensteel greatsword.

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Erdrique surveying Sorrowdusk Isle.

On Easter Sunday, I had originally planned on logging in at around 10 pm EST.  I actually always plan on logging at that time on Sundays, but over the past few months I have found myself logging in at around 11 pm due to falling behind in other things, primarily in doing chores and getting my workout/run in.  Easter Sunday found no exception, as I was running behind once again and didn’t get a chance to log into DDO until close to 11 pm or so.  I brought on Cantlin (Level 11 Sorcerer) and took him into the Bloody Crypt.  Another guildie, Twotoe, joined me and we took on the Bloody Crypt on elite.  The one thing about the Bloody Crypt, besides the generous amount experience you receive on completion, is the large number of chests spread throughout the dungeon.  I was actually kind of glad about this because it prompted me to buy another backpack slot for Cantlin, who sorely needed it, and because the backpack slots happen to be on sale this week .  Twotoe and I had no problems running through the quest and I received well over 16,000 experience on its completion .  After that, I had to call it a night.

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Cantlin roasting some wights for Twotoe.

So although the Easter weekend wasn’t as active for me in DDO as a typical weekend is, I still had some interesting runs logged.  I hope everybody else had a fun Easter weekend as well!!  Thanks for reading and happy hunting!!

How Many First Mates Does the Blood Tide Have?

This past week I have been running a lot of different characters through the Sentinel of Stormreach story arc.  I took Lorrikk (Level 11 Monk), Garrrin (Level 21 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild), and Erdrique (Level 10 Druid) through various quests within the chain.  In fact, I took Erdrique completely through the chain (minus Spies in the House).  One thing I noticed this week, is that the Blood Tide sure does have a lot of First Mates.  I saw a plethora of these minotaurs during the week.  I ran across them in Searing Heights on my way to the quest Bargain of Blood.  And then I ran across a First Mate in each quest of the story chain (Bargain of Blood, The Black Loch, Storm the Beaches, and The Tide Turns).  I guess Captain Tew just knows that his First Mates are just expendable.  Talk about a high pressure position.. .

Another first mate in the Tide Turns photo AnotherfirstmateinTheTideTurns_zps5690a584.jpgErdrique dealing with a First Mate in The Tide Turns. 

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Garrrin dealing with a First Mate in the Black Loch.

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Garrrin running into a First Mate in Bargain of Blood.

Just thought that all of these First Mate sightings was a little curious.  Thanks for reading everybody and I hope everybody had a safe and happy Easter!!  Now get back into DDO and get some hunting in!!  Later

Wondering About the Symbol of the Sovereign Host

Earlier this week, I had started Delera’s Tomb Story Arc with Hamllin.  While working my way through the quest, The Mystery of Delera’s Tomb, I noticed the symbol of the Sovereign Host.

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Hamllin noticing the Sovereign Host symbol in Delera’s Tomb.

I was wondering if I could determine any meaning based on the symbol.  From what I can tell, worship of the Sovereign Host (which embodies nine different deities) and their evil counterparts (The Dark Six) is the oldest religious sect in Khorvaire.  The nine Sovereigns include Arawai, Aureon, Balinor, Boldrei, Dol Arrah, Dol Dorn, Kol Korran, Olladra, and Onatar.  Many of these deities are mentioned somewhere along our travels through Stormreach in one way or another.  For instance, Arawai is mentioned when you discover an explorer point in the Cerulean Hills.

Now taking a look at the symbol for the Sovereign Host, you can see that it is written in the shape similar to an “H”.  Now of course this could be completely coincidental, as I’m sure the written common language in Ebberron probably doesn’t use standard English script, but who knows.  However, what I find more interesting in the symbol is the alteration of colors, blue and gold.  If you take a close look at these alterations you can see 9 distinct iterations. Starting with the upper left of the symbol, you see the first section is blue.  The next section directly to the right of that (top middle) is gold and then the last (top left) is blue again.  The exact opposite patterns exist on the bottom of the symbol (starting with gold on the bottom left).  The portion of the symbol that divides the top and bottom also alternates in color, with the far left being blue, the middle being a mix of blue and gold, and the right being gold.  Counting these alternations results in 9 unique sections to the symbol. 

However, what I really wonder about is difference in the size of the middle portion of the symbol and the area that has a mix of gold and blue.  I’m sure there is something there but not sure what it is. 

In either case, I found the symbol interesting and was wondering about it.  Thank you for reading everybody and happy hunting!!!

Adventures and Activities Over the Past Week, April 14th to 17th

Over the past week, I basically ran characters in the level 20 to 21 range or in the level 8 to 11 range.  My adventures this week started out early on Monday (April 14th) with my normal slayer runs.  I logged on with Larrs (Level 20 Bard/Fatesinger) and took him into the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic).  Like Garrrin, I want to finish up that slayer area on heroic and then tackle it on epic later.  So I ran Larrs around Gianthold and took a few jarilith’s, Zakaya cultists, and fire giants before I headed off to work.  After work, for afternoon run prior to dinner, I brought on my main character Erdrique.  Erdrique (still working as a druid) is level 9 at the moment but fast approaching level 10.  I took him into Searing Heights and collected his last two rare encounters (Cruor Russo and Guck, who are usually the first two I find most of the time) to complete the zone and then took him into Stromvauld’s Mine where I had a fun time locating the dead engineers and taking on the drow.  After I completed my run through of Stromvauld’s Mine I logged to make dinner and to spend some time with my wife.  I logged back on later that night and was scheduled to play Erdrique once again.  This time I took him into the Caverns of Korromar and have a fun time taking on the undead dwarves and did great all the way up until I got to the end beholder…where I was then killed with a single disintegrate.  However, once I got back up I took him out and all of his blackbone buddies .  I was also a little distracted because I was playing my Monday night digital PNP game.  After the run through Caverns of Korromar, I called it a night.

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Larrs getting tripped by a jarilith.

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Erdrique finally locating his last two rares in Searing Heights.

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Erdrique taking on a monarch scorpion in Stromvauld’s Mine.

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Erdrique fighting the undead in Korromar.

On Tuesday, I started the day with a character from my premium account, Containment (Level 3 Cleric).  I took him into Cerulean Hills for my morning slayer runs and then headed out to work.  I was scheduled to play Hamllin after work for my afternoon run, so I took him into Delera’s Graveyard to start the Delera’s Tomb Story Arc.  I got some help from Twotoe and we had an easy time blasting our way through the undead ranks.  After that run, I logged out for dinner and then logged back on later that night with Lorrikk (Level 11 Monk).  I started the Sentinel of Stormreach chain with him and took into Searing Heights and into the Bargain of Blood and then into the Black Loch where he easily dispatched the Blood Tide pirates.  After that, I had to call it a night.

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Containment exploring the Cerulean Hills.

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Hamllin exploring the mysteries of Delera’s Tomb.

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Lorrikk looking at the peak in Searing Heights.

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Lorrikk fighting the Blood Tide in the Bargain Bazaar.

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Lorrikk having some fun in the Black Loch.

Wednesday morning I logged on with Lorrikk again and continued with my pirate theme.  However, I took him into Three Barrel Cove.  He still needs a  few more slayers and a few more rare encounters before he maxes out that area.  So I got some slayer kills in prior to the hot fix.  I didn’t log in after that for the rest of the day, as I spent the rest of the afternoon and that night with my beautiful wife for date night .

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Lorrikk dealing with the cove scorpions in Three Barrel Cove.

I logged back on Thursday morning with Charlock (Level 13 Fighter) and took him into Sorrowdusk Isle for my morning slayer runs.  After collecting a few more slayers (mainly ogres and trolls), I logged off to head to work.  I didn’t log back into later that night with Garrrin (Level 21 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild).  Garrrin just recently completed the Web of Chaos chain, so I started the Sentinels of Stormreach chain with him next.  I took on Bargain of Blood and the Black Loch on epic normal.  I brought along his onyx panther, a level 21 Favored Soul/Exalted Angel, and his level 17 owlbear.  I didn’t have any issues with either quest. I’m looking forward to getting him to level 22 so that he can use an epic greataxe.  Currently he is still using a much lower level greataxe, mainly because I can’t find a better one and I didn’t feel like farming to build a greensteel.  After those runs, I logged for the night.

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Charlock gazing up at the Temple of the Six in Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Garrrin taking note of the standard in the Bargain Bazaar.

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Garrrin hitting up the Black Loch on epic normal.

So that was pretty much the highlights of my runs this past week.  On Thursday night, after I logged out with Garrrin, I did some character maintenance with some of my other characters.  I’m currently working on a new system to help organize my “inventory” across all of my characters.  Basically I’m going to assign each character a specific type of gear and have them “hold” that gear.  I then plan on tracking that gear through the use of spreadsheets.  I’m hoping this will allow me to cut down on the amount of “duplicate” items I have as well as to help do some better planning.  However, it is taking me forever to get everything situated.  But I’ll get there…

Thanks for reading everybody and I hope everybody else had a productive week!!  Now get back into DDO to do some hunting!!  Later all!!

Fun in Stromvauld’s Mine

Yesterday I wrote up a short article on Gwylan’s Stand, one of the quests that came out with the original release of DDO.  Well today I want to take a look at another older quest but this one was released with DDO’s first Module: Dragon’s Vault.  The quest I want to talk about is Stromvauld’s Mine.  Stromvauld’s Mine is a level 8 quest (10 on elite) and it is located in the House Denith Anvilfire Inn Tavern.  The quest giver is sitting at a table in the tavern and is Laird Stromvauld.  The premise of the quest is to locate and determine what has happened to Stromvauld’s mining crews as they haven’t reported back when they were supposed to.  Two teams have gone missing and Laird asks for your help to discover their fate and hopefully to rescue them.

This particular quest can be quite difficult if you aren’t prepared for it.  When the level cap was only level 10 and then raised through 16, I used to consider this quest a particular test on my various character’s resilience and self sufficiency.  The quest occurs entirely in the mine has a number of furnaces, catwalks, upper and lower levels, and caverns to explore around.  As soon as you enter the quest zone, you notice that the first quest objective is to located a specified number of dead miners.  As you explore the zone, you will encounter the dead minors and have to interact with them to be given credit for their discovery. 

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Erdrique doing the grimly task of located some dead engineers.

As you venture into the cavern you will also notice some gems lying around that you can pick up.  As an optional objective you are given the ability to locate a specified number of gems as well. 

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Time to look for some jewels in the mine!!

There are a few other optional objectives in the quest as well, primarily centered around destroying/defeating enemy monsters.  So speaking to the enemies and monsters in the quest, the things you will encounter include rust monsters, scorpions, earth elementals, fire elementals, and a plethora of drow (some named optional casters, a lot of archers, and a number of drow melee fighters).  I’m not entirely sure how the elementals and rust monsters relate to the lore of the quest.  However, there is no doubt that the drow are the source of miners death and they are probably worshippers of Vulkoor and thus are also the source of the scorpions.  I’m also thinking that the drow casters are responsible for summoning the earth elementals and fire elementals and probably were holding the rust monsters as pets or something. 

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Erdrique taking on one of the monarch scorpions in Stromvauld’s Mine.

On elite, all of these enemies can be extremely difficult to deal with.  Scorpions are extremely deadly on any adventure on elite and the earth elementals are particularly hard to deal with unless you are prepared for them.  The drow archers are perched in strategic locations that make them annoying, with some using a lighting trap as cover.  There are only two fire elementals that spawn behind you from two campfires when you make your further into a quest.  These two are expertly place and will wipe out a party if they don’t know about them.  The campfires are place at a location that overlooks a drow party below, so the initial tactic is to range the drow from the overlook.  As you do that, the fire elementals come out to inflict some serious damage, again if you are unprepared.  After you take out the fire elementals, the drow in the camp below the overlook are relatively easily dispatched. 

Once you get past that point, you go lower into the mine following the length of a mining shaft.  You land on some catwalks and deal with a plethora of drow as you make your way to the lower levels of the mine.  Sometimes you will encounter a optional name and there is a locked chest that you can get access too but the main focus is to continue down to the main hall where the drow leader is located.  Once she is defeated, you can then rescue the sole surviving chief engineer.

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Erdrique taking on the drow leader in Stromvauld Mine.

There is an annoying part to this quest-finding the dead engineers.  They are spread throughout the quest and are located randomly during each time you run the quest.  As are the jewels.  Many times an engineer will be overlooked in the heat of battle and the party will have to make their way back through the mine to located that missing dead engineer.  However, this is a relatively minor inconvenience, as thought who have ventured into Stromvauld’s Mine know that they need to keep their eyes out for those dead bodies.

During my last run through Stromvauld’s Mine I received over 13,000 experience and that didn’t count any optionals.  It did include no deaths, elite streak, first time bonus, VIP bonus, Voice of the Master, Greater Experience Tome, and 2% Guild ship shrine.  I completed four optionals that ranged from 685 experience to 857 experience each, and just as a side note, I had missed one of the gems.

Stromvauld’s Mine is a challenging quest and is one of the older quests in the game.  It is also one of the oldest quests to have some drow enemies.  Overall, it is a fun quest and worth a good amount of experience, especially for one working on heroic true reincarnation train. 

Thanks for reading everybody and have fun exploring the mine!!  Happy Hunting!!