Weeks Questing Before Vacation, July 7th to July 10th

This week I had a nice set of quest runs. My questing began with some slayer runs early Monday morning prior to work with Cantlin (Level 11 Sorcerer) out in Searing Heights. After burning up a few of the Blood Tide pirates and some drow, I logged out to head to work. I logged back on after work for a little while with Erdrique (Level 14 Druid) who took on Whisperdoom once again in The Spawn of Whisperdoom. I had a good time in Whisperdoom’s Lair taking on her brood and her ogre captors. I logged out after that to take of dinner and then logged back on later that night with Crawlller (Level 5 Ranger) who completed Missing in Action on normal, hard, and elite. Crawlller is one of my characters on my premium account so that is why I ran the quest on all three settings. I was also multi-tasking on Monday night as I was also playing in our weekly digital PNP group. So after those runs I called it a night and logged out.

Cantlin soaring over the Searing Heights photo CantlinsoaringaboveSearingHeights_zpsded6b9b8.jpg
Cantlin soaring above Searing Heights.

Erdrique taking on the Kar-Thul Ogres photo ErdriquetakingontheKar-ThulOgres_zps2fa5a3ac.jpg
Erdrique taking on Whisperdoom’s ogres in the Spawn of Whisperdoom.

Crawlller exploring the Foul Chambers photo CrawllerexploringtheFoulChambers_zps8d23ce42.jpg
Crawlller having fun exploring the sewers in Missing in Action.

On Tuesday, the only questing I was able to get done was my morning slayer runs through the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic) with Larrs (Level 20 Bard/Fatesinger). After taking out a few of the Stormeye I logged out and headed off to work. Since my wife had to work a later shift on Wednesday, we decided to have our date night on Tuesday which is why I didn’t get any more questing done.

Larrs slashing through a sky giant photo Larrsslashingthroughaskygiant_zps721eba15.jpg
Larrs slashing down a Sky Giant in Gianthold.

Wednesday though I had some fun . That morning I logged on with Containment (Level 4 Cleric), another one of my characters on my premium account, and finished up the Cerulean Hills Wilderness area and started the Waterworks Slayer area. When I got back from work, I brought Erdrique and took him through Tomb of the Blighted. I logged out after that run and logged back in later that night with Hamllin (Level 10 Fighter) and took him through Storm the Beaches on elite. I had originally planned on doing that on Tuesday when I got back home from work but my wife side tracked me on that run by convincing me to take a nap with her . Wives are like that you know . After I caught up on Hamllin’s questing, I then logged on with Larrs and took him into Outbreak on heroic normal since I only did that quest string once. I wanted to make sure I learned it before tackling it on epic difficulties. I called it a night after that run.

Containment enjoying the view in the Cerulean Hills photo ContainmentenjoyingtheviewintheCeruleanHills_zps5071ddcc.jpg
Containment looking around the Cerulean Hills.

Containment fighting Gnarkill photo ContainmentfightingGnarkill_zps3ff797f7.jpg
Containment fighting Gnarkill in the Waterworks Slayer Area.

Erd enjoyoing the scenery in the Tomb of the Blighted photo ErdenjoyingthesceneryintheTomboftheBligthed_zps2317fe8c.jpg
Erdrique enjoying the scenery in the Tomb of the Blighted.

Hamllin making his way through Mistral Island photo HamllinmakinghiswayupthroughMistralIsland_zps465fc88d.jpg
Hamllin following the hidden passage in Storm the Beaches.

Larrs fighting in the War Hospital photo LarrsfightingintheWarHospital_zpsa696dc8c.jpg
Larrs taking on the Outbreak in the Evenigstar War Hospital.

Thursday started off with me running a slayer run with Charlock (Level 13 Fighter) through Sorrowdusk Isle which he is nearly finished with. Later that afternoon, I took Hamllin through some Tangleroot Slayers where he received enough experience from monster manual kills and slayer marks to hit level 10. I then took him into The Tide Turns on elite and took down Captain Tew and his Blood Tide pirates. I then logged on with Harrgon (Level 9 Favored Soul) and took him into Three Barrel Cove and completed the Brood of Flame on elite.

Charlock dealing death in Sorrowdusk Isle photo CharlockdealingdeathinSorrowdusk_zps2b158805.jpg
Charlock putting down some death in Sorrowdusk Isle.

So not a bad set of quests just before a summer vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida!! I hope everybody had a nice week as well. I won’t be on the blogging scene for about two weeks as my family is going to be in Florida in Walt Disney World for a vacation and then I have a work conference in Charleston, SC right after that. I will be back once I return home :). Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Thoughts on the Tomb of the Blighted

Erdrique (Level 14 Druid) is working on wrapping up the level 11 quests on elite, which include the quests that are required to flag for the Cursed Crypt : Tomb of the Tormented, The Tomb of the Unhallowed, The Tomb of the Forbidden, and The Tomb of the Blighted.  Of these four quests, The Tomb of Blighted, in my opinion, is the easiest to complete.  All four of these quests have some type of “nagging” aspect to them that can frustrate and annoy those who haven’t been exposed to them before.  In Tomb of the Tormented you have to lead a bunch of rates through mazes that have traps and monsters in them, Tomb of the Unhallowed has zones where you get shifted to other planes, Tomb of the Forbidden makes you split the group to pass gears through gates to open opposing doors, and Tomb of the Blighted is covered with a horrid, putrid water that when touched will disease you unless you can get to some blessed/holy water. 

 photo ErdenjoyingthesceneryintheTomboftheBligthed_zps2317fe8c.jpg
Erdrique enjoying the scenery in the Tomb of the Blighted.

The Tomb of the Blighted, in my opinion, is the easiest of these quests to deal with.  Primarily because you get to carry the cure for the “blight” with you in satchel.  The quest giver for the Tomb of the Blighted is an Emerald Claw named Hallestorm.  Your conversation with him is a relatively short and curt and one where he basically says you can’t help him and you just say “want to make a bet”.  The only thing he tells you is that the tomb is filled with these thick vines and that is covered with stenchy water.  He offers no advice in how to handle the branches/vines or what the stenchy water does…like I said he is real helpful. 

The Tomb of the blighted is relatively straight forward dungeon.  The map is basically a large square with a few little alcoves that offshoot from it.  When you enter the quest you discover a dead Silver Flame agent and you find an endless satchel.  The satchel can be used to hold ten vials of pure holy water from the fountain located in the beginning of the quest.  This becomes very important because you will need to use these vials to cure yourself of the blight and to weaken some of the vines/branches in order to move forward in the quest.  To use the satchel you have to put it into your hot bar and then it is equipped as a throwing weapon.  The vial will break on the ground where you can run across the water and get cured.  You will typically through a vial at the base of some vines/branches and weaken them and cure yourself at the same time.

The main focus of the quest is purify the other fountains in the crypt which have been corrupted.  There are three more fountains to purify, one in the north, one in the east, and one in the west.  The fountains are corrupted because each is covered by a huge gelatinous cube.  Once you destroy the cube, the fountain is purified.  There are also smaller altars that can be purified for addition optional experience.  When a fountain gets purified, you can then use it to refill your satchel.

The enemies inside the crypt are primarily blighted zombies that turn into blighted skeletons when they are destroyed.  So essentially you have to kill each undead monster twice.  And some of them turn into blighted friars or blighted magi, which can be annoying.  The most annoying monsters in the quest though are the blighted slimes.  Mainly because they spawn continuously and are always around the zombies causing weapon issues.  Other monsters include a few spiders, that seem out of place because they only spawn in one part of the dungeon and the troglodyte guardians that guard the gelatinous cubes at each fountain.  The only other monster (besides the cubes or course) is the named mummy guardian who you need to destroy to complete the quest.

When you enter the Tomb of the Blighted, make sure you bring with you a number of lesser restoration potions and be prepared to deal with the large number of slimes.  Also, if you are druid, realize that you can’t use the satchel in animal form, so you either have to switch to an elemental form or back to your base form…which annoyed me. 

The Tomb of the Blighted isn’t a hard quest but it can be annoying with the “blight” and with the slimes.  You will have to double back to refill your satchels and when you do expect the slimes to respawn.  However, this is a minor annoyance.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Tomb of the Blighted!!    

Wondering About the PUG Scene

This past weekend I ran Erdrique (Level 14 Druid) through two of the desert side quests, Maraud the Mines and Raid the Vulkoorim, on Saturday and Sludgge (Level 20 Rogue/Shadowdancer) on Sunday who I took him through Under the Big Top on epic normal.  I hadn’t been in a PUG group in awhile so I put those particular runs up into the LFG panel.  I was kind of surprised that I didn’t get a single hit on either of them.  This made me wonder about the PUG scene.  I think the primary reason why I didn’t get a hit for Maraud the Mines and Raid the Vulkoorim is because I was level 14 and those quests on elite are only level 13 (I had specifically mentioned no BB in text in group).  This means that people wouldn’t get their elite streak bonus with those runs, although it wouldn’t break their streak.  For the Under the Big Top run, I was doing it on epic normal, which also wouldn’t help people on their elite streaks and could break the streaks for those who are levels 20 to 24 if they hadn’t done it yet.  I wasn’t all that worried about not getting any hits, since I had my pets and hirelings, but I was still a little surprised.

Sludge making Boom photo SludgemakingBoom_zps53f842e1.jpg
Sludgge making his way through Under the Big Top.

When I put up my LFG, there were a number of other groups already put up across my level range and extending beyond it.  When I looked at the “Who” panel there were plenty of players on line as well.  So I don’t think it was an issue of available players, then again I could be wrong because I didn’t pay to much attention to the level ranges in the “Who” panel. 

It doesn’t take one very long to search on the General Discussion DDO Forums to see somebody calling for a server merge because of the lack of available groups.  I’m not against a server merge per se, but I’m against a server merge based solely on the lack of available groups.  I have seen plenty of groups during my play times on Thelanis and one thing I always mention in these threads is that it appears to me that people tend to be running more quests solo or in select groups or they are running quests that others don’t want to run at the time or the level ranges of available players doesn’t match what some players are looking for.  So does this facilitate the necessity of a server merge?  I’m not sure, however after not receiving any hits on my LFGs I begin to wonder about that topic.

Time to Maraud the Mines photo TimetoMaraudtheMines_zps26ba06c6.jpg
Erdrique in Maraud the Mines.

I think one thing that might be contributing to the “grouping” issue is the current grind for heroic true reincarnation and epic true reincarnations.  One thing that I do with Erdrique, is that I just open up my Adventure Compendium, sort by quest level, and start doing the quests down a line and I typically only do a quest only once during a reincarnation.  I think I am in the real minority in this case, as a large number of players who want to work through their “past lives” will hit up the highest experience giving quests per there level range again and again.  This limits the number of quests that are really available for a PUG group because most potential PUGgers are looking for those higher experience quests.  Quests like Maraund the Mine and Raid the Vulkoorim, although quick to run, are not high in experience, and are therefore not going to be attractive to PUGgers.  There is also a large number of players that seem to be soloing quests during their reincarnation paths through the Harbor, Market, and most House Quests. 

So will a server merge help a situation like this?  The only way a server merge would help with the above scenario is if the number of players who solo through reincarnations isn’t proportionately same across the servers.  Now no doubt there are a number of other factors going on here as well.  Many players just like to solo, others only like to group with friends, and some have limited playing availability.  I have seen all of this.  This year, I decided to make a concerted effort to recruit more players into the Crypt Crawlers and one of my methods was by looking for unguilded players in PUG groups and seeing how they ran.  However, I was actually able to recruit more players into the guild by advertising throughout the Harbor, Market, and House Wards and not by recruiting from groups, which I thought was pretty strange.  However, the players I recruited and who remained in the guild are primarily players who like to solo and chat through the guild channel, who play at “off” hours, and who have limited availability. 

So I’m not sure what this says about the PUG scene.  Is this just another evolution in the DDO playing community?  Is this a trend that will stay?  I admit that I solo a lot but that is mainly when I don’t think I will have enough time to participate in PUG group efficiently (such as being low on playing time).  I have no problem putting up groups and usually I get a few responses.  Maybe it was just some bad luck, not sure but it does make me wonder…

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!!        

Erdrique’s Journal: The Sanctum-Quench the Flames

Quest: The Sanctum: Quench the Flames
Level 10 (normal), 11 (hard), 12(elite)
Crawlers: Erdrique

I have to realize that Sorrowdusk Isle has become a place to harbor evil. I’m surprised that the Grey Moon ogre clan was able to survive after the realization that these trolls were working with these evil members of the Cult of the Six. After I had defeated the Prelate to the Cult of the Six, I returned to Lord Hragg of the Grey Moon Tribe and found out that my task was still not done. Evidently the mephits were already summoned and their sources of summoning were still active drawing forth even more of the vile creatures. Lord Hragg asked us to go back to the temple to destroy the summoning circles, otherwise Sorrowdusk Isle was going to be overrun by a batch of mehits.

So I turned back to Arkyn and told him we need to go back to the temple. He was less than enthused. Too bad he was just a mercenary, otherwise I would have given him some mundane duties when we returned back to Stormreach. I’m going to have to make a mental note of his “activity”. I then called back to Fang and we head back out.

Before long we were back at the entrance to the temple in Sorrowdusk Isle. Ever since my first foray into this vicious temple, I have disgusted by the doorway, which represents the evil powers of the Six. We quickly re-entered the temple and began our quest to destroy these summoning circles. I wasn’t sure exactly what we would see but I figured we needed to prepare for at least a series of fire mephits. Once we entered we all took a deep breath and started on our way. We took a second to prepare for the oncoming battle. We could hear wings flapping in the distance, it was evident that the summoning circles were quite active and bringing forth a number of the vile mephits.

We progressed to the first doorway and peaked inside. Our suspicions were confirmed as we noted a large number of fire and air mephits floating around the hallway. As we retreated back into the initial hallway we were spotted. All pretense of taking the enemy by surprised was thrown out of the window. Before we knew it, we were engaged heavily by the mephit swarm. I summoned forth a massive ice storm to help slow mephits down and in hopes of giving us some cover. Luckily it worked. Although the initial fight was brutal, we did prevail taking out all of the mephits in the initial attack. However Fang was severely injured and my summoned earth elemental was destroyed. While Arkyn tended to Fang and healed his wounds I summoned forth another earth elemental and after a short while proceeded further into the temple.

As we progressed further down the hall we encountered a few cultists. I immediately hit one with a creeping cold spell and before I knew it the fight was once again. Fang entered the fight, still enraged from his previous encounter with the mephits. Needless to say, the fight didn’t last long at all. These cultists weren’t nearly as dangerous or as overwhelming as the issue fight with the mephits. Once we dispatched with the cultists we came across to a hallway that continued down into the temple. However, we could hear more mephits and other potential enemies in the room we were currently in, which was shaped like a circle. I didn’t want to have any enemies trailing us, so I led Arkyn and Fang futher into the circular shaped room where we quickly encountered more mephits. Fire mephits and air mephits to be specific. We quickly engaged them and dispatched with them as well. We continued around the main room and then ran into a new enemy, wights. A few of the coffins in this temple split during our previous fighting and produced these vile creatures. The wights stumbled over to us, thinking us easy prey. We decided to show them otherwise..

After the last fight, we made our way back to the initial split in the hallway, where a secondary hallway split off to the west. The entrance to this hallway was marked by three hideous faces on the wall and the hall. It appeared to be a nice spot for a deadly trap. As I cautiously proceeded forward, darts suddenly shout out from the opposite wall. I quickly moved back and contemplated how to cross through this difficult trap. Luckily the darts were relatively low and I judged that we could jump past the trap, assuming we get the timing down. We set the trap once again to learn the timing and then proceeded through. Even though we studied the timing we still got edged by the last set of darts but we pushed through just fine. As soon as we crossed the threshold into the next room, we noticed more coffins. We broke each coffin and as we did, some nasty looking wights came out of them. We also encountered a few cultists as well. But we continued on into the next room.

The room had another hallway leading to the west. This hallway was different then the last one, in that it had a large column separating the hallway. The hallway itself look deceiving and safe, especially since the last hallway was trapped with darts. We slowly started to make our way into the next room when I heard some scraping of metal on stone and quickly jumped back to see a huge blade come sweeping around the hallway. If the blade had hit me, I would have been cut in half!! I took another look around the divider and I looked further up the passage way and could see one of the dreaded summoning circles. So I decided to try to jump past the dreaded trap…luckily I was agile enough to not get cut in half but I did take some serious damage. I quickly healed myself and started forward to the summoning circle.

It didn’t take long before a number of mephits began to spawn from the dimensional portal. I was soon bombarded by fire and air mephits. I continued to work on the summoning circle while getting battered by the many mephits. I gave a sigh of relief when the summoning circle finally crumbled and the mephitis stopped appearing before me. I took out those mephitis that remained and turned to head back to the trap littered hallway. However, I noticed that from this particular vantage point that I jump up and reach the top of the division to the hallway. By doing so, I was able to bypass that deadly trap.

We then headed back to the other side of the main hallway. This hallway, like the previous one, was split by a column. I assumed, like the previous hallway, that it was trapped. I moved over carefully and started to inch forward. I told Fang and Arkyn to hold back. As I progressed forward, extremely slowly, I saw out of the corner of my eye a sharp flame shooting out of the wall and from the inner column. I hurried back, just in time too, as the hallway sprang up in a burst of flames. To top that off, I could hear and see mephitis on the other side of the hallway. I quickly took a few potions to help counter the flaming aspects of this horrendous trap and told Fang and Arkyn to hold back and then and jumped through and past the hallway. I then found myself face to face with a number of angry mephitis.

Even being battered, I took on the mephitis and defeated them. Fang was showing some severe signs of impatience and it took everything I had to hold him back because I was afraid of what the fire trap would do to him. I moved a little further into the hallway and noticed that the hallway split in three directions. Directly ahead the tunnel continued but the branching hallway to each side contained a summoning circle. I crept up to the first one and cast Creeping Cold on it and immediately started to attack it. Mephits started to appear and began to attack me. I focused primarily on the summoning circle until it was destroyed. Once it was destroyed I backed out of the area and regrouped to take on the mephits. I can tell you one thing about mephits, they are very vicious creatures and fight with every ounce of tenacity that they can muster. After the mephits were dispatched I turned around and headed to the opposite hallway. I hit the next summoning circle with greater creeping cold and creeping cold and then focused on the mephits as they poured forth.

It was a challenging fight indeed!! I could hear Fang whimpering in the background, how he so wanted to join me but I knew he wouldn’t be able to survive that deadly fire trap. Before long both summoning circles were destroyed along with their nasty mephits. I moved up further along the path, after healing myself from my many cuts and scrapes, and came across another set of vile cultist. These cultists though were doing a patrol far off from the last summoning circle, which I could see across a span of lava. When the cultists were dump enough to come in range, I engaged them and took them out.

The last summoning circle was the easiest to take care of. From across the lava pool, I was able to hit the summoning circle with a number of spell and I was able to quickly destroy it. Even though the mephits came forth in a large number, they couldn’t see me right away and were disoriented which allowed me to get the upper hand. I had also realized that Fang and Arkyn had come up behind me, a little toasty but no worse than rare. Finally, the mephits were destroyed as well as these horrendous summoning circles. After that we took the final set of mephits we left the temple and headed back to Hraag.

The Weekend Quest Runs, July 4th to July 6th

This past weekend’s quest runs, including the July 4th holiday, primarily consisted of running Erdrique (Level 14 Druid) through a few quests and running Sludgge (Level 20 Rogue/Shadowdancer) through Under the Big Top on Epic Normal.

My questing activities started early on the July 4th holiday.  Typically on Fridays, I generally schedule a slayer run with one of my characters prior to heading off to work.  However, since I didn’t have to work because it was a holiday I didn’t set up a solid schedule so I logged on with Erdrique and took him into the Red Fens.  I ran the slayers in the Red Fens twice that afternoon and racked about 36,000 experience when I hit 3,000 kills.  I took break at that point but logged Erdrique back on later that night and took him back into the Red Fens to burn off his slayer boost potion.  I then took Erdrique out to the Restless Isles and made my way to the second flagging quest out there, Bring Me the Head of Ghola-Fan.  I completed Ghola-Fan on elite and only some minor difficulties with the primary trap room because I couldn’t see the spinning blades until after they skewered me.  But besides that, the quest was smooth, although long.  By the time I completed it, I decided to call it a night.

Fighting in the Red Fens photo FightingintheRedFens_zps1d1e35f6.jpg
Having some fun in the Red Fens.

Erd making his way to Ghola-Fans compound photo ErdmakinghiswaytoGhola-Fanscompound_zpse681ed80.jpg
Making my way to Ghola-fan’s compound.

Taking on the mystics photo Takingonthemystics_zpsa3c81d43.jpg
Fighting the mystics in Ghola-fan’s compound.

On Saturday, I was only a few thousand experience until being forced to level up to 14 with Erdrique.  So I went out into Ataraxia’s Haven and picked up a quick 7,000 experience then leveled up to 14.  After I leveled up, I then headed out to the Sands of Menechtarun and completed Maraud the Mines and Raid the Vulkoorim, both on elite.  After those runs, I called it a night until Sunday.

Ex the mines in the Haven photo ExploringtheminesintheHaven_zpsb14ce8d6.jpg
Exploring the mines in Ataraxia’s Haven.

Erd and Fang fighting a pack of gnolls photo ErdandFangfightingapackofgnolls_zpsb13e17c7.jpg
Erdrique fighting a pack of gnolls on his way to Maraud the Mines.

Time to Maraud the Mines photo TimetoMaraudtheMines_zps26ba06c6.jpg
Erdrique making his way through the Mines.

Taking on the Vulkoorim photo TakingontheVulkoorim_zps8130a245.jpg
Fighting the Vulkoorim Scorrow.

On Sunday night, I logged on with Sludgge.  Sludgge was working on finishing up the House Phiarlan Carnival Series and only needed to completed Under the Big Top.  I entered the quest on Epic Normal and brought forth my onyx panther, a cleric hireling, and my level 17 owlbear.  The quest went fairly smooth overall and the only thing to get killed was me.  It took me a little while to figure out that I was being killed by phantasmal killer.  Evidently I’m lacking a deathblock item with Sludgge but once I figured that out I was able to cast deathward on myself thanks the to the visors from Tangleroot.  The quest went more smooth at that point and I actually got a shard for the Full Plate of the Ring Leader in the end chest.  Once that was done, I had about a half hour before I needed to log out and head to bed so I took Sludgge into the Ruins of Gianthold for some simple slayers.  At that point I called it a night.

Sludge making Boom photo SludgemakingBoom_zps53f842e1.jpg
Sludgge setting off a bomb in Under the Big Top.

Sludgge exploring the Gianthold photo SLudggeexploringtheGianthold_zps03b0fb5b.jpg
Sludgge hunting the Stormfist in the Gianthold.

The weekend was pretty quite overall.  There wasn’t a whole lot of guildies on and I didn’t get any hits in my LFG for my Saturday runs in the Desert or  for my run in Under the Big Top.  I’m guess it was because I wasn’t doing them with a Bravery Bonus option (I was one level higher for Desert Quests and I ran Under the Big Top on Epic Normal).  But the runs were still good and enjoyable.  I hope everybody else had a good weekend too!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Review of the Quest Bring Me the Head of Ghola-Fan

About two weeks ago, I wrote up a blog post about the quest, Slavers of the Shrieking Mines.  Today I want to write about the second flagging quest out in the Restless Isles: Bring Me the Head of Ghola-Fan.  Bring Me the Head of Ghola-Fan is an intriguing quest in that it contains a variety of traps, extremely tough enemies, and a fairly large dungeon/area map.  The quest giver is Mul-Tong, another ogre magi located deep within the Restless Isle exploring zone.  Mul-tong mentions to you how the ogre clan has been split into two factions and how Ghola-fan as allied with a powerful mind flayer.  He excepts your offer to be rid of him in exchange for the fragments need to repair the sigil so that you can enter the The Twilight Forge.

Bridge to Ghola-Fans compound photo BridgetoGhola-fanscompound_zpsa51ee334.jpg
Erdrique approaching Ghola-fan’s compound.

The quest is located inside Ghola-fan’s compound which is also located deep within the Restless Isles, although not very far from Mul-tong’s position.  The picture above is Erdrique (Level 14 Druid) making his way to Ghola-fan’s compound after picking up the quest from Mul-tong.  Ghola-fan’s compound is pretty interesting.  It has an oriental feel to it, having rather large circular doors, and triangular features as well as the same type of artistic items and colors.  Ghola-fan’s compound is teaming with three pimary types of enemies: ogres (of course), bugbears, and worgs.  There are also a few minor enemies, some steel golems and wildment, but the majority of the enemies are three aforementioned.  For the ogres, their are three types: mystics, cuthroats, and brutes.  The mystics are pretty interesting, because besides Ghola-fan, they are the only enemy casters inside the quest.

Inside the compound photo Insidethecompound_zpse3cccc96.jpg
Erdrique inside the compound.

Fighting Ghola-fan's ogres photo FightingGhola-fansogres_zps0255a6cd.jpg
Erdrique and his little gang fighting the ogres and bugbears in Ghola-fan’s compound.

The compound looks rather large from the outside but looks even larger when you get inside.  The map has a number of branches to it that require a number of crests to unlock some doors.  One thing to keep note, there are only two shrines in this quest, and you will most likely need them.  The first major test within this quest lies within the first branch to the east.  This particular branch takes you to a room that is littered with traps.  Their are four types of traps in this room along a maze: spinning blades, spikes, darts, and large blades.  The most dangerous of these are the spinning blades.  You can navigate past these traps by jumping into the correct voids, however there is a slight issue with trap.  For some reason, after you set the traps off, you can actually see them.  Its kind of hard to avoid spinning blade traps when you can’t see them.  Inevitably, I always die and then I’m always able to see them.

Not liking them at all photo Notlikethematall_zps52cf88c5.jpg
Not liking these spike traps at all.       

Not liking these traps photo Notlikingthesetraps_zps5a6e55c9.jpg
These traps are quite elusive until you get killed…ugh…

After this point using a jump, heroism, and fire protection potions will help you get past the spike and dart traps to make your way to the first named ogre in the quest. 

These spikes can be irritating photo Thesespikescanbeirritating_zps19d88910.jpg
Erdrique making his way past the spike traps.

The next portions of the quest involve primarily basic hand to hand combat.  One thing to keep in mind as you make your way further into the quest is that there will be archers in some portions of the compound who rain down arrows at you.  It is good to take them out with either spells or ranged weapon so that you don’t have fights occurring on multiple fronts.  Cleaning out the first shrine will also give you the key to prisons.  This is one fun aspect to the quest because you get to set loose imprisoned wildmen to fight their ogre captors.

Setting the wilde men free photo Settingthewildmenfree_zpsb6f418cb.jpg
Setting the wildmen free.

The next challenging room is one filled with mystics, including a named.  Each mystic sits upon a trap.  If you enter the room, be prepared to be hit with acid, fire, or force damage.  You are better off to use spells or ranged attacks against the mystics because as a mystic dies, his particular trap disengages. 

Taking on the mystics photo Takingonthemystics_zpsa3c81d43.jpg
Time to take out the mystics.

The final fight then becomes the last major hurdle.  The primary thing to remember is that Ghola-fan is an ogre magi.  If you can, hit him with dot spells before he disappears so that he still takes damage when he phases out and to combat his regeneration.  Take care to watch out for his elite guard, which are bugbears and not ogres ironically.  The elite guard bugbears are extremely tough and they are assassins meaning they like to phase in and out as well. 

This particular quest does take a good amount of time.  Be prepared to suffer at least one death in that trap room, especially if you can’t see the spinning blades.  Overall, the quest is challenging, which makes it fun to me.  There are a couple of things of interest that you can loot in the quest including the Royal Guard Mask.  So if you are up for a long and challenging quest in the level 10 to 14 range, try Bring Me the Head of Ghola-fan.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Purge the Fallen Shrine

One of the side quests inside Sands of Menechtarun is called Purge the Fallen Shrine.  Purge the Fallen Shrine is a “walk up” quest and it is bestowed upon you when you approach its entrance.  The quest is a level 11 quest on normal, making it level 13 on elite.  The interesting aspect about this quest is the storyline.  The end boss in this quest is a wraith Ashok Kalidan.  Ashok Kalidan was bound to that dungeon for the vile atrocities he committed at the bidding of King Raiyum by his own family.  However, his family was wrong on this believe.  See Ashok Kalidan was a great warrior and a great hero during his time.  King Raiyum took notice of Askhok and actually captured his wife and child.  King Raiyum forced Ashok to do his bidding or else he would kill Akshok’s family.  When you defeat Ashok’s wraith, his eternal soul is released but before he can leave and be at peace he asks you to pass on his tale to his ancestors, if any live.    

The quest is filled with flesh renders (cacodemons) and fire reavers (pryodemons) and mephits.  There is also a named efreeti and a named hell hound just before you reach Ashok’s wraith.  The storyline just emphasizes how vile King Raiyum was during his reign and we also learn that the only people he actually trusts were Rhamat and Kourush, who also happen to have lesser pyramids next to the large pyramid of the Wizard-King.  I’m kind of surprised to learn that these two figures were close to the Wizard-King but Raiyum doesn’t use them to protect himself.  Instead Raiyum has them mummified and he has them each protect a seal.  A seal that controls a bound djinni who is in turn protecting either the Wizard-King, the Jackal, or Hyena.  The Jackal and Hyena are also projectors of the Wizard-King and are located in his pyramid.

Taking down a fire reaver in the Fallen Shrine photo TakingdownaFireReaverinTheFallenShrine_zpscfdd32ca.jpg
Erdrique having some fun in Purge the Fallen Shrine.

In either case, Purge the Fallen Shrine gives some interesting depth to the story behind the Wizard King and gives us an idea of his evilness.  The quest itself can also be quite challenging if you don’t control the flow of the incoming outsiders (flesh renders and fire reavers in particular).  When you complete the quest, you obtain its reward from Ashok’s ancestor Bahir who thanks you for your help and seems relieved to here the truth.

So, the next time you are in the desert, check it out.  Its a fun short quest with some interesting background.  Well thanks for reading everybody, and happy hunting!!