Haven’t Seen One of These in a While

Sometimes I go through dry spells where I won’t find or pull any worthwhile loot from the chests I find while questing.  I’m sure we all do.  But one thing my guildies and I were talking about relatively recently was the lack of tomes, any type of tomes, being pulled lately.  Well last week while I was taking Hamllin (Level 17 Fighter) through Blockade Buster on elite, I came across this:

 photo Looky what I got_zpskiikviwe.jpg

Hamllin coming across a +3 Upgrade Tome in Bash’s chest.

I wonder if my luck on finding some tomes is starting to get brighter.  I’ll guess we’ll see :).  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

My First Look at Update 28-Grim and Barrett

Earlier in the week, I got my first look at one of the quests from Update 28, Grim and Barrett.  I took Erdrique (Level 20 Rogue/Fury of the Wild) into the quest on heroic elite.  Grim and Barrett is a level 14 quest, making it level 16 on elite.  I took Erdrique into the quest on heroic elite to get an idea of what the quest was like.  Although I was level 20, I must say that I still found the quest challenging in many respects.  I really liked how the quest opened up, with Arraetrikos confronting you as soon as you entered the Gatekeeper’s Hostel and then simply dismissing you so that his minions can deal with you.  If you aren’t aware of the storyline behind the quest, basically Arraetrikos has decided to invade Gatekeeper’s Hostel in order to achieve some type of Planar Awl, an ancient relic from the Daelkyr invasion centuries before.  You are basically recruited to drive the devil’s out of Hostel and to rescue any of the druid Gatekeeper’s if possible.

 photo Coming face to face with the pit fiend_zpsxijzxnxr.jpg

Coming across Arraetrikos in the quest Grim and Barrett.

The layout and design of the quest is pretty straightforward.  After Arraetrikos confronts you, you get attacked by a wave of devils, primarily abishai.  The red abishai are particularly dangerous.  They tend to like to through some powerful fireballs and/or meteor swarms which can be quite deadly.  Especially to those characters with out a high magical resistance rating or no evasion.  My hireling cleric was pasted twice by their constant barrage.  They were the first creatures I went after during each encounter.

 photo Old style door_zpscqvprsij.jpg

Erdrique making his way through the quest Grim and Barret.

The graphical representation of the Hostel was quite well done in my opinion.  The detail put into the various book cases, crates, walls, and alleyways was quite impressive in my opinion.  The Hostel is also an interesting place containing a nice mixture of a Inn and an open air courtyard in one.  A nice little setting for druids, which I thought fit the order of the Gatekeepers quite well.  There were also a few traps you need to deal with, the old style Eberron slicing blade traps around a nice solid set of crates.  Overall, I thought this was a nice layout.

 photo Interesting view_zpsukhg9t4v.jpg

Erdrique coming out into the courtyard in Grim and Barrett.

The enemies you come across were interesting as well.  They primarily consisted of abishai but you also come across a named orthon (the jailor) and the minions of the Lords of Dust, aspirants and rhakshasas.  This also highlights the new “allegiance” that has been developed and struck between Arraetrikos and his devils and the rhakshasas.

 photo Taking on the orthon jailer_zps5i93flnz.jpg

Taking on Mythron to get the keys to the jail.

One thing I found a little light hearted and fun about this quest is how Barret breaks down the druid portals that are put into place throughout the quest.  It doesn’t take you long to find Barrett, a druid who is wild-shaped as a dire bear.  When you find him, he informs you that he will assist you in taking down those barriers as you approach them.  Basically, this involves you calling him forward so that he can barrel through them and knock them out.  It is quite comical to watch a dire bear running down a hall and just bull dozing through a wall!!

 photo Erd and his party finishing off some abishai_zps9hr3vzxp.jpg

Erd and his hirelings finishing off a group abishai.

The biggest issue I had with this quest wasn’t actually about the quest itself but more about finding the quest.  It took me about twenty minutes to finally locate the appropriate planescaller/farshifter in the Hall of Heroes that would transport you to the appropriate place in the Harbor.  This was quite frustrating at first because I knew that I had to go to the Hall of Heroes to find this transporter but he wasn’t marked on the map and didn’t realize this until I happened to talk to him by chance.  Hopefully finding the other quests won’t be so much of an issue.

Over all, I found the quest quite fun.  I look forward to checking out the rest of them.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

A Look Back, Quest Runs September 28 to October 1

The majority of my questing this week was with characters in the mid levels to the epic levels.  I had a nice array of interesting quest runs.  Things started out with a run through the King’s Forest with Rimuldar (Level 23 Wizard/Magister) during my Monday morning slayer run.  Rimuldar still has quite a ways to go before he finishes that area out.  Later in the afternoon, I logged on with Hamllin (Level 17 Fighter) and I continued his quest to max out the Sands of Menectharun slayer area.  He is steadily making progress in that region.  Later that night I took Kolll (Level 22 Ranger/Shiradi Champion) into Haywire Foundry on epic normal.  I had already tried to take on this quest two times on epic hard with him and failed both times.  I wanted to make some more progress with Kolll so I decided to try it on epic normal.  Needless to say, Kolll blasted through it without a problem.  After that run I took him out into the King’s Forest for some slayers because  I only had about 20 minutes before I needed to go to bed.  That, and we were also playing our weekly digital top game as well, which was real nice because we finally got in a full playing session after having issues for the past three to four weeks.

 photo The bears battling each other_zpshrxg3a5z.jpg

Rimuldar watching the bears attacking each other.

 photo Hamllin dancing with the Thirsty one_zps0ky6c2xh.jpg

Hamllin doing a dance with the Thirsty One.

 photo Kolll staying out of the FIrewall_zpsyekhhia5.jpg

Kolll staying out of the enemy fire walls in VON 4.

 photo Kolll spotting some deer in the Kings Forest_zpswratdrmc.jpg

Kolll hunting in the King’s Forest and coming across some deer.

On Tuesday, my morning slayer run was also in the King’s Forest.  This time I took Garrrin (Level 22 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild) through that beautiful zone.  In the afternoon, I was scheduled to log on with my main character, Erdrique (Level 20 Rogue/Fury of the Wild) who is currently working his way through the Adventure Compendium.  He only needed one more level 15 quest on elite to be done with that level range (excluding the raids).  The quest in question was Litany of the Dead.  So I headed off to the Necropolis and ran the Litany of the Dead on elite.  I didn’t have any issues, although my hireling cleric got sliced and diced down the “chute.”  Later that night, I took the opportunity to dual box once again.  This time it was with Kanndar (Level 12 Paladin) and Stoorage (Level 12 Fighter).  I was originally scheduled to take Kanndar into the Necropolis II quests so after I paired the two up I took them out to the Necropolis.  I then worked my way through Tomb of the Shadow Lord and Tomb of the Shadow King, where Stoorage proved his metal and saved Kanndar and my quest run when Kanndar was killed by a swarm of phase spiders and shadow monsters.  It was pretty fun to have my “weaker” character save my stronger character.

 photo Garrring taking his greataxe out for some fun in the Kings Forest_zpsuzc7ah2x.jpg

Garrrin stumbling into some drow in the King’s Forest.

 photo Erd making his way through Litany of the Dead_zpsvb3a2hpo.jpg

Erdrique making his way through Litany of the Dead.

 photo Kanndar battling the servants of the Shadow Lord_zpspotb6qbw.jpg

Kanndar dealing with the denizens of the Tomb of the Shadow Lord.

 photo Kanndar being swarmed in Shadow King_zpsr1yrbqhr.jpg

Kanndar gathering a crowd in Tomb of the Shadow King.

Wednesday started out by taking another opportunity to dual box with Cannock (Level 7 Druid) and Crawlller (Level 7 Ranger).  I was originally scheduled to take Cannock out into the Cerulean Hills to finish that slayer area out.  He needed one more rare encounter and just a few more slayers.  I brought Crawlller along to just get some free loot.  In either case, Cannock was able to max his slayers and find his last rare encounter so he is now ready to hunt in the Waterworks.  In the afternoon, I logged back on with Hamllin who continues his questing in the Sands of Menechtarun.  He is now working on 1,500 slayers for gnolls and 750 slayers for undead and scorrow.  Still have a little ways to go.

 photo Cannock hunting in the Hills_zps8po59mg1.jpg

Cannock finishing up his slayers in the Cerulean Hills.

 photo Hamllin looking for undead in the desert_zpsuglhmtv2.jpg

Hamllin looking for some slayers in the Desert.

To close out the week, I logged on with Tuhnn (Level 15 Bladeforged) first thing on Thursday morning and took him out into the Sands of Menectharun.  He collected a few more slayers before I called it and headed off to work.  In the afternoon, I logged on with Erdrique and took him into the first quest I have seen with Update 28, Grim and Barrett.   I went in on heroic elite so I could idea of how the quest was laid out and to see what to expect.  It was a fun quest.  I didn’t have any issues, although my cleric hireling definitely didn’t like the red abishai.  That night, I logged on with Hamllin.  Hamllin still needed to complete From Beyond the Grave on elite so I gathered a few hirelings and his owlbear and I took out into Delera’s Graveyard.  I set the hirelings in place to guard the gate while I set the funeral pyres.  After three attempts,  I finally was able to get the quest completed.  I then took Hamllin into the Lords March Plaza and then through Assault of Summerfield and Blockade Buster on elite.  I did run into some issues in Blockade Buster but nothing I couldn’t get past.

 photo Tuhnn hunting down some scorrow_zps5qos2gvj.jpg

Tuhnn hunting the scorrow in the Desert.

 photo Taking on the orthon jailer_zps5i93flnz.jpg

Erdrique making his way through the quest Grim and Barret.

 photo Hamllin dealing with the undead_zpshqzz608m.jpg

Hamllin dealing with the undead in Delera’s Graveyard while in From Beyond the Grave.

 photo Backing up the forces in Summerfield_zpsolrewvwm.jpg

Hamllin backing up the forces in Assault on Summerfield.

 photo Swimming to the boats in Blockade Buster_zpssznnvtny.jpg

Hamllin swimming to the boats in Blockade Buster.

Overall the questing over this past week was quite fun.  I’m glad it was a good week because the weekend is going to be rough.  I need to headout to Michigan from North Carolina to spend time with my extended family as my grandmother passed away :(.  I won’t be back in game until Wednesday, most likely.  I hope everybody has a much better weekend than that!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Sometimes the Rudeness of PUGS Baffles Me

Although I have written about PUGs a few times (examples being here: Pleasant Surprise, Awkward Silence, Recent Observations, and the PUG Scene) it has been awhile since I have observed or come across anything that was worthy of writing about concerning that topic (at least to me) until what happened to me yesterday.  I have been putting up the majority of my playing sessions and questing up in the LFM panel over the past couple of months, even my slayer runs where I am sometimes higher than the maximum level to obtain full experience.  Yesterday was no exception to this and I had posted up a LFM for a run through the Sands of Menechtarun wilderness area with Hamllin (Level 17 Fighter).  The vast majority of the time I typically don’t get a hit, especially since Hamlllin is two level higher than the area will allow for you to obtain maximum experience.  Well this time I did receive a hit and I accepted the request.

Now when I posted my LFM, I put into the message “Desert Slayers, Rares, and Explorers-Two Levels Higher than Max Exp-IP.”  I had set the level range to be level 16 to 17.  I thought that the description I put out was quite clear.  Evidently I was wrong.  As soon as the PUG player joined the first thing he typed was “Share please.”  After I saw the message come across the party chat, I responded through voice chat that I wasn’t doing a quest so there isn’t anything share.  I’m just working my way through the explorer area.  At that, the PUG asked me where the area was.  This had me puzzled.  I didn’t quite understand how somebody at level 17 couldn’t know where the Desert was.  I then told the PUG that Desert is the Sands of Menechtarun and that he could get there by talking to the Wayfinder over by the guild airship tower.  While I was telling the PUG this, I sent another party chat message asking for me to type.  So I then typed everything I had said explaining that the Wayfinder will transport him to Zawabi’s Refuge.  Two seconds later, the message saying the PUG has left group appeared on my screen.  The PUG didn’t say anything or explain why he dropped the group, just up and left the party.  It was probably better for me that he did drop group but still but a simple note saying he was dropping to do a quest or that he didn’t mean to join would have gone a long way.  Out of curiosity, I then looked him up in the Who panel and saw that he had quickly joined a different group.

 photo Hamllin looking for undead in the desert_zpsuglhmtv2.jpg

Hamllin hunting for some undead in the Desert and wondering about “PUGs.”

Normally this wouldn’t have irritated me.  However, this time it did.  I just don’t understand why many PUGs feel they have the right to just be out right rude and disrespectful.  I can understand some of that type of behavior if I was ignoring him or if I told him to find the area on his own.  I didn’t do any of those things.  I also plainly laid out in the LFM what I was working on.  If the PUG didn’t want to do that then simply don’t join the group.  I’m not sure why, just this case of blatant rudeness rubbed me wrong.  Not sure what I could have done to make my intentions for this run anymore clear.  Oh well, it is what is.

Luckily for me, the majority of PUGs that join my groups are nice and fun players.  However, coming across these “oddballs” just leaves a bad taste when it comes to putting up more groups.  It won’t stop me from posting groups though,  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Desert!!

The Dual Box Save

Over the past two weeks or so, I have been taking the opportunity to dual box my VIP and Premium accounts.  If you aren’t sure what “dual boxing” is, it is simply playing two different accounts at the same time.  It is also called “multi-boxing.”  The primary reason I wanted to do this was to help in my questing efficiency with some of my characters.  In particular, I figured it would save me time by having two characters of similar level across these accounts gathering slayers and completing quests on elite (saving a lot of time for my premium characters who would not have to run them on normal, hard, and elite to obtain the maximum amount of favor).  I was doing this fairly often a year or so ago and then kind of faded out of it for reasons I can’t remember.  I believe the problem was that I didn’t have any characters on VIP account that were within the same level range as those on my premium account.  However, this is no longer the situation as my premium characters: Stoorage (Fighter) who level 12, Suppply (Paladin) who level 9, Crawlller (Ranger) and Containment (Cleric) being level 7 can pair up quite well with Cannock (Druid Level 7), Berann (Barbarian Level 8), Cantlin (Sorcerer Level 12), Kanndar (Level 12 Paladin), Lorrikk (Monk Level 13), and Harrgon (Favored Soul Level 11) who are characters on my VIP account.  So I should be able to dual box with these characters for a little while.

However, something a little unexpected happened last night while I was dual boxing with Kanndar and Stoorage.  I had taken them into the Necropolis to tackle the Tomb of the Shadow Lord and Tomb of the Shadow King on elite when I ran into an interesting situation.  I took them through the Shadow Lord without any major issues at all (and noted that another plus to dual boxing here is that it allowed be to do quests that requires a split with the party a little easier).  However, in Tomb of the Shadow King I had some complications.  Since I was scheduled to play Kanndar last night, I was primarily playing him and advancing him through the quest when he gathered just a little too much attention while making it to one of the torches.  When I got Kanndar to the torch he had gathered a small army or shadows, wraiths, specters, umbral worgs, umbral gargoyles, and phase spiders.  To make it worse, I had the named phase spider Dimmet.  Well, Kanndar was overwhelmed, I basically underestimated how many enemies I had to deal with (or course once I noticed the orange dungeon alert it should have dawned on me).

 photo Kanndar being swarmed in Shadow King_zpsr1yrbqhr.jpg

Kanndar making his way through the Shadow King before he got in over his head.

The benefit I inadvertently discovered is that I can use my second account to bail out my primary account.  As I pondered what happened to Kanndar, I realized I still had Stoorage in the dungeon.  I then switched over to Stoorage and made my way to where Kanndar had perished and retrieved his stone as well as his hireling’s stone and made my way to the shrine where I raised Kanndar and his hireling back up.  I then switched back to Kanndar and was able to complete the quest primarily playing him.

So, I guess you can say I was saved by dual boxing.  It kept me from having to recall, hreal up, and rush back to the quest to avoid it being reset.  I never really considered this to be a primary benefit of dual boxing but I do now :).  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Breaking Down and Completing it On Epic Normal

The last few times I had played with Kolll (Level 22 Ranger/Shiradi Champion) I had tried to take him through Haywire Foundry (VON 4) on epic hard.  The first time I tried to take him through it, I believe I tried to run through it a little faster than I should have.  I wound up gathering way too much attention and basically got overwhelmed.  The second time I had tried to do it, I ran out of time and my hireling healer had run out of mana and had already used the first shrine.  I was making my wife through the second area of the Foundry to release the second switch when I finally was killed in that attempt.

So, this time I decided to run the Haywire Foundry on epic normal instead.  This is actually quite interesting because a new post popped up on the DDO forums that was centered around whether the game still holds any challenge.  The biggest issue here is defining what constitutes a challenge?  As I took Kolll through Haywire Foundry on epic normal, I realized how much easier it was to complete.  On epic normal, I didn’t run into any issues with taking down the vast numbers of warforged with help from my hirelings (onyx panther, owlbear (level 17), and healer hireling).  While making my way through the quest, I had my imbued smiting arrows active and I was using my Stay Good Shiradi Champion Stance in conjunction with a icy burst wounding bow of pure good (as well as a myriad of various arrows that my other characters always send his way).  Using these with my various arcane archer shots (dispelling shot, inferno shot, shattermantle shot, and arrow of slaying).  This combination worked very well in epic normal.

 photo Kolll staying out of the FIrewall_zpsyekhhia5.jpg

Kolll staying out of the enemy firewalls in Haywire Foundry.

However, looking back at epic hard, this combination of activities didn’t work out nearly as well.  I surely believe that this due to a number of reasons.  Primarily due to the equipment that Kolll is currently using.  Right now he is not “epic” equipped as he is still gathering those items.  Couple that with the enemies being stronger on epic hard (higher damage output, more hit points, higher saves, etc.) makes this particular quest on epic hard much more of a challenge for me while playing Kolll.  So for me, DDO still has a lot of challenging aspects.  But, if I had stronger equipment and/or if I was in an actual group, I could easily see how the feeling that no challenge exists in DDO.  This is definitely a intriguing problem that the DDO developers have to tackle and it is just complicated more by the various methods of game styles the playerbase uses to play this great game.  I don’t think there is any right answer to this question and I wonder how the proposal of the “Reaper” difficulty will impact this.

In short, DDO probably doesn’t hold a very large challenge to those characters that have been “properly” equipped for their level but for other players who are more casual such as myself, and who happen to primarily “under” geared, there is still definitely a challenge to this great game.  It is hard to find an answer to question when that question varies from one player to another.  I give kudos to the developers for trying to maintain that happy medium.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Vault of Night!!

Light Weekend of Questing, Quest Runs September 25 to September 27

Well, this past weekend was extremely light for me.  This was because I didn’t do any questing on Saturday.  Each month, usually the third Saturday of the month, is spent as a weekend date night with my wife where we just spend the night relaxing.  Most of the time she has to work during the day on Saturday so I usually get a run or two in before she gets home but this time she had the entire day off so we went off on a mini-trip which resulted in no playtime on Saturday.  But, I did do some more dual boxing between my accounts and in fact that is the way I started the weekend out.  I was scheduled to take Berann (Level 8 Barbarian) out into Tangleroot Gorge.  Since Berann was heading out there, I decided to log on with Containment (Level 7 Cleric) and to join them together because Containment is also working in that area.  The maximum level to gain full experience in Tangleroot Gorge is level 7 but because Berann was only a single level higher than Containment, Containment still was able to credit for the slayers and rare encounters.  So I took them out prior to heading to work and accumulated more slayers for both characters.  In the afternoon, when I got home from work, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 20 Rogue/Fury of the Wild) and took him back into the Vale of Twilight and attempted to complete Let Sleeping Dust Lie.  The last time I was in there with Erdrique I killed too many of the Crimson Foot Hive spiders.  Well this time, I literally ran out of time.  I couldn’t find the second journal entry in a reasonable amount of time so I had to give up and call it for the afternoon.  However, I made it up that night.  I logged back on with Erdrique on Friday night and grouped up with Ohuatewontoo and we tackled the Vale of Twilight together.  We completed Let Sleeping Dust Lie, Rainbow in the Dark, and Running with the Devils on elite and collected a plethora of slayers, explorer, and rare encounter experience as well.  We called it a night after we made it through Running with the Devils.

 photo Berann watching the spider go againt the wolf_zpsuo4icy1y.jpg

Berann watching the fiendish spider and wolf battling.

 photo Erd hunting in the Vale of Twilight_zpsc98zwyyz.jpg

Erdrique making his way through the Vale of Twilight.

 photo Erd taking on the rats of Crimson Foot Five_zpsatl82iwb.jpg

Erdrique fighting the Twilight Giant Rats in Let Sleeping Dust Lie.

 photo Gathering the group in the Vale_zpsdgca1rb8.jpg

The party gathering in the Vale of Twilight.

 photo Taking down Kasi_zps3yiryco9.jpg

Taking down one of the ogre magi bosses in Let Sleeping Dust Lie.

 photo Fighting in Rainbow in the Dark_zpsxzw97u7f.jpg

Battling the elementals in Rainbow in the Dark.

 photo Talking on Tolarn in Running with the Devils_zps2jtxkep7.jpg

Battling Tolarn in Running with the Devils.

On Sunday, I took opportunity to do some more dual boxing.  I was scheduled to take Suppply (Level 9 Paladin) through the House Deneith Depths quests.  Well, Berann also needed these four quests and since Suppply is on my premium account and Berann is on my VIP account and I logged them both in and paired them up and took them into depths quests.  We started from the beginning and knocked out Depths of Despair, Depths of Darkness, Depths of Discord, and Depths of Doom.  I was actually quite glad for this because Berann was able to open up these quests on elite.  This saves me from having to run them all on normal, hard, and elite with Suppply because Suppply doesn’t have that option yet.  So definitely a time saver.  After I finished the four Depths quests, I called it a night.

 photo Supply fighting an earth elemental in Depths of Despair_zpsrwke3rdu.jpg]

Suppply battling an earth elemental in the Depths of Despair.

 photo Making his way to deal with Hobgoblin Casters_zpsguh5lqbv.jpg

Climbing the ladder to deal with the hobgoblin casters in Depths of Darkness.

 photo Looking for Landslide but fiding trolls instead_zpskaa5zihi.jpg

Suppply looking for Landslide in the Depths of Discord but finding trolls instead.

 photo Taking down the ogres in Depths of Doom_zpszudpvikc.jpg

Suppply fighting the ogres of the Depths of Doom.

It was a nice weekend of questing even being a relatively light weekend.  I was able to continue to do some dual boxing and I was able to take Erdrique through some of the Vale of Twilight quests.  Hopefully this next week will continue to be as productive.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Vale!!