A Review of Ataraxia’s Haven

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I was able to take Erdrique through the explorer area of Ataraxia’s Haven and I was able to complete all explorer, rares, and slayers.  The following contains some general information for Ataraxia’s Haven and does contain some spoilers, just as an FYI.  Ataraxia’s Haven is one of my favorite wilderness areas.  Ataraxia’s Haven is a small island that has a number of unique landscapes.  The island contains a number of beach areas (of course, it is a island so this make sense), a few caves, a number of ruins, an interesting lighthouse, and with the interior of the island being composed of an arid type habitat.  There is also quite a diversity of mobs spread throughout the Haven.  The various types of monsters include duergar, wildmen, razor cats, hyenas, island scorpions, rust monsters, spiders, and scrags.  There are 10 rare encounters and 16 explorer points.  The rare encounters are primarily predictable, with a named encounter for each type of monster on the island, with two named duergar, and one unique rare encounter with a kobold.  The slayer count hits a maximum at 1,500 slayers.

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Erdrique in one of the mines in the Haven with the named deurgar waiting below.

The design of Ataraxia’s Haven and the placement of the explorer zones and rare encounters makes developing a path/circuit around the island relatively simple.  One good thing about this explorer zone, is that the location of many of the explorer zones is also a location for a rare encounter.  This makes your initial entry in the Haven very profitable in terms of gaining experience.  Also in terms of the monster manual, it is a good source of razor cats and dwarves, which also adds to the gains in your experience. 

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Erdrique running to the beach in the Haven.

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the Haven is the distribution of the monsters throughout the explorer zone.  Although the Haven isn’t very large when compared to Gianthold or the Desert, the way the mobs are distributed through the area allows you to travel through the area without running through large areas of no encounters.  I like this aspect about the Haven because it makes all of your runs efficient and productive.  Unlike the Gianthold or the Desert, where you can run around large areas of the zone without encountering a single mob. 

In terms of the rare encounters, a few them can be pretty tough to spawn.  In my experience, the named scorpion and kobold seem to spawn less often.  Some of the rare encounters actually occurr in multiple locations as well.  The named hyena, can be found in three separate locations, the named razor cat in two separate locations and the named scorpion in to more locations.

The Haven is level 10 area and is a good source of initial experience for levels 8 through 14.  The duergar have a few tough mobs in their encampments, with the spellswords being the most dangerous, the scouts being the most annoying, and the bards just being a pain.  The razor cats can be dangerous if you take too many of them at once while the wildnmen like to hit you with special slow attacks. 

With this last iteration of my runs through the Haven I earned over 100,000 experience.  The area is fun to run and I always enjoy my time through it.  Well that is it for now, until next time!!  Get into the Haven and happy slaying!!    

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The Sharn Syndicate

Yesterday, I ran Harrgon through the majority of the Sharn Syndicate chain.  I was able to knock out all of the quests except for Come Out and Slay, just ran out of time.  As I was taking Harrgon through the chain I began to realize how ruthless this Syndicate really is.  I mean the warforged Zircon only just makes my skin crawl with his ability to just calmly set you up like he does.  Although we have a number of loose organized gangs in Stormreach (Clan Gnashtooth Kobolds, Clan Tunnelworm Kobolds, Hazadill’s bugbears, Quickfoot gang, etc.) none of them appear to be nearly as organized or ruthless as Sharn Syndicate except for maybe the Aurum. 

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Harrgon protecting the Statler brothers in Stand Your Ground.

In some cases, the Sharn Syndicate makes one think the days of Al Capone and his mob in the way they operate and gain influence in Stormreach.  Basically buy using brute force, money laundering, and bribery to make their mark in the area. 

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Harrgon fighting the Sharn Syndicate in Dirty Laundry.

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Harrgon foolishly trusting a fellow warforged.

With this latest update, we get a chance to travel to the Mournlands and I’m hoping that the developers at Turbine keep up with this type of theme and send us on a mission to the magical city of Sharn, where the Syndicate appears to have its strongest hold.  Perhaps we can be enlisted to uncover some type of plot that the Syndicate have to harness the power of Sharn to create disarray and confusion, if not massive destruction.

Exploring Sharn would be really interesting and unique, compared to Stormreach, with its flying skyscrapers and deep underground levels.  An interesting environment for an operations such as the Syndicate to operate!!  We’ll see if this storyline gets developed further.

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Harrgon taking his revenge out on Zircon’s cronies.

Well that’s it for now, until next time!!  Happy hunting!!  Thanks for reading .

Storyline Behind Irestone Inlet Shoots One of My Theories Down :(

Not too long ago, I wrote up a blog article that tried to determine some links between the hobgoblin clans/tribes across story lines.  One of my after thoughts about this article, which posted as a comment to that blog, was that Yaryar, the hobgoblin pirate captain in Irestone Inlet, may have actually been part of Yarkuch’s hobgoblins from Tangleroot Gorge/Splinterskull Fortress.  Well, I decided to take a gander at Irestone Inlet with Hamllin yesterday and noticed that the storyline had changed for that particular quest.  It now reads as follows:

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Now I’m 99% sure that the storyline prior to the Shadowfell Conspiracy Release had no link between Yaryar and the Droamm nation.  I don’t really like this link but I like the idea of trying to put these older quests as a tie to some of the later quests later on, sort of like linking the Baudry Cartamon chain to Three Barrel Cove.

However, I don’t like this particular link.  I just finished running the Eyes of Stone with Sludgge and from what I remember in the Attack on Stormreach chain we don’t come across any hobgoblins.  We come across a number of hal-orcs, orcs, ogres, gnolls, kobolds, and other monsters but not any hobgoblins.  I think the link between Yaryar and Yarkuch is more likely, unless of course the their is a link between Splinterskull and Droaam. Hm…

Thanks for your reading and pondering this all!!  Happy hunting!!

Wondering if We Will See Anymore Special World Events

Over this past weekend, I took Erdrique through the quest Devil’s Assault.  I had help from Hellbanisher and Blackvale.  Since we were level 12/14-ish, we popped in on hard.  As we started the adventure it made me think about how Devil’s Assault was released and if we will see anymore world events such as that.

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Erdrique and gang prepping for Devil’s Assault.

If you didn’t know, Devil’s Assault was actually a special quest that was released during a widely publicized event in DDO which led to the invasion of the Shavrath forces into Stormreach.  The special world event was extremely unique and and was highly anticipated.  I remember when we had nearly a raid’s worth of Crypt Crawlers on that night because we didn’t know what was actually going to happen.  A few days prior, possibly longer, the Marketplace Tent was walled off and packed full of marching orthons and bearded devils.  No one knew what was going to happen, but everybody knew that there was going to be a huge fight in the Marketplace eventually.

Well the time came and we were patiently waiting for the event to begin.  Then the unthinkable happened…the Marketplace Tent blew up!!  There was nothing left but a crater, with the crescent that topped the tent flung all way to Three Barrel Cove!!  Everybody was herded over to the Marketplace Barracks to stem the Devil Invasion, hence the release of Devil’s Assault.  For a few weeks afterwards, devils and orthons would randomly spawn in the Marketplace creating havoc, especially for lower level characters.  I remember one time getting jumped by a bearded devil on my cleric Wapoyei, when he was making his way to the Catacombs.  A few days later, I had Erdrique on and saw in general chat that somebody else had gotten slaughtered by a few devils in roughly the same area so I went over to take my revenge

I just wonder if we will see anymore events like this in the future.  After this event, there were a few other occasions where the developers would unleash the raid bosses on those in the Harbor and the PVP pits.  I remember hearing that the Warforged Titan was making mince meat out of all the low levels alts in the Harbor.  Everybody flocked over there to see what was going on. 

I miss these and I hope they do make a come back.  If they do, I wonder what they would be?  So many avenues there to explore..  Well one can hope .

Until next time, thank you for reading and happy hunting!! 

Sykros’ Jewel-noticing a few things

Recently, I took Erdrique into Ataraxia’s Haven and ran the quest Sykros’ Jewel.  I wrote up a short article about Ataraxia’s Haven earlier in the week and today I would like to focus more on the quest, Sykros’ Jewel.  Sykros’ Jewel is one of the two quests found within the Haven and is bestowed by the recent owner of the Haven, Sykros.  Sykros recruits you to rescue his daughter, Ataraxia, who has been kidnapped by a hostile mining duergar clan.  The quest itself is located a little ways from the resort area where you enter into the zone.  It is actually not far from a source of scrags that inhabit the island as well.

When you enter the quest, the first thing you come across is a wounded duergar who tells you that Ataraxia is in the light house however a clan of scrags have come into the caves leading to the gateway of the lighthouse and now guard the keys to dual gates.  This leads us to a question.  In the explorer zone, there are a few instances where the scrag and duergar work together at one end..to destroy us but here in this quest, the scrag have ambushed some of the duergar and now control access to the lighthouse through the underground caves.  So which is it?  Are they allies..or are the enemies?

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Erdrique going through the caves to defeat scrag and duergar alike.

Once the scrag are defeated and you obtain the keys, you enter the lighthouse and then start to make your move against the duergar.  What is interesting about this particular encounter is that the duergar appear to have enlisted the help of a powerful water spider, Deluge.  Deluge is actually a darfang spider and my sneaky suspicion is that he is somehow aligned with Hellgut who leads the other darkfang spiders on the Haven that are holding up in a far away ruin.  With the number of duergar scouts and spellcasters I can see this being a possibility as they can probably communicate with these two powerful spiders.  However, I’m wondering if this isn’t a deeper ploy being involved here.  I’m thinking that the druid, Leros Levithas (who was enlisted by Skyrkos to deal with the natural hazards of the island and who bestows the second quest, Reclamation, and who seems to take the duergar invasion and intrusion to the island very seriously), may have enlisted the help of these powerful spiders to help thwart the duergar.  I don’t have any proof of this..but it could be a possibility.

I’m also not sure how a band of scrag could have taken down a force of duergar.  I feel this particular quest is much easier to complete than the second quest in the area.  The duergar spell casters and scouts are particularly dangerous and tend to do a devasting amount of damage if you aren’t prepared for them.  The scrag have only a few spell casters among them and tend to rely on brute force.  The scrag force must have been facing a much small duergar contingent and must have been able to overwhelm them to get these keys. 

Also, who are the three or so specter smugglers?  What other secrets are in those caves?  Maybe we’ll find out eventually :).  Later all, thanks for readying and happy questing!!

Hope for the Ruins of Threnal

The Ruins of Threnal is one of the oldest quest chains in DDO.  At one time, it was considered one of the best quest chains to run for experience and loot.  There was a time when the longsword Retribution was a must have any paladin or any lawful pure good fighter.  And that was before it was reworked with to be +4 and with a red augment slot.  Not to mention, the Giant Caves, which are located in the Threnal explorer area, were considered to be a premier loot run.  Then again, that was when the level cap was 10 and there were only two raids in the game: Tempest Spine and VON.

Last night I had scheduled the Crypt Crawlers to take our questing for the night back to the Ruins of Threnal.  Nowadays, the quest string is barely run, it is more known for the antics of perhaps the most famous NPC in DDO, Coyle, than anything else.  I put up a group to see if anybody wanted to join us, we had three Crawlers in our group, and we started first with the Western Ruins.

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Erdrique taking some Crawlers through Threnal.

We didn’t get many hits to join us until we finished the first quest of Threnal West.  Once we started the second part of Threnal West we were joined by another pug, and we proceeded to complete Threnal West:

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The party taking on some granite gargoyles in Threnal.

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Taking on fire mephits in Threnal.

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Erdrique and group taking on the monsters of Western Threnal.

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Erdrique and group taking on the ice flenser Zelnath.

When we started Threnal East we were joined by another pug:

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The group heading to the Library of Thenal in the Eastern Ruins.

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Time to protect Coyle in the library.

Threnal East went well and so we headed to the last three quests in Threnal South and completed the chain:

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Erdrique heading into the last fight in the Threnal Ruins.

During our runs through Threnal, we never did a full group .  In some ways, this just shows how infrequently this chain is ran.

I really hope that the Ruins of Threnal will get some changes made to it in the future.  The Ruins of Threnal lie within an explorer zone that has not been converted over to other explorer zones.  There are also four other ‘walk up’ quests in the zone that aren’t part of the original quest chain.  Unfortunately, these quests don’t offer any special benefit to those that run them.  They are relatively small quests and they do add to any of our favor and aren’t listed in the Adventure Compedium.  These same quests, better known as the Giant Caves, were actually the “loot run” when the game was first released pack in 2006. 

In hope to see a number of additions to Threnal.  First off, I think the Threnal Quests would be an excellent chain to upgrade to epic levels.  The quests contain a wide variety of monsters and the quest rewards could be very interesting with an epic upgrade.  I would be curious to see an epic Retribution or Coin Belt.  I would also really like to see the wilderness zone converted over to the standard zones we have now.  The Threnal wildneress area is actually medium sized, although it could probably be expanded.  It would made sense to separate the ruins somewhat to actually make them more “eastern”, “western” and “southern” on the map.  Not too long ago, they totally redid the Three Barrel Cove area and it would be good to see the Ruins of Threnal get the same rework.  It would also be great to see us get some sort of credit or benefit for running the other four side quests in Threnal.  These quests should at least be added to the Compedium so we can get favor for them. 

Those are my hopes for Threnal.  It is a fun chain to run but I think it needs some more luster for people to continue to run it consistently.  Hopefully it will get some love.  Thanks for reading and happy questing!! 

Ugh..not Freshen the Air

I’m currently working on Hamllin’s second life as a kensai fighter.  Hamllin’s previous life was as a rogue and as a result he has a plethora of short swords and rapiers, so I’m using what he has to progress him through this life.  He is currently up to the level four quests and yesterday came my time to try Freshen the Air, ugh…  For level four quests, Freshen the Air is one of the hardest quests to deal with.  I would only rank Proof is in the Poison as being more difficult with Irestone Inlet being a close second.  So I decided to give it a go, went to the guild ship to buff up and got a hireling and decided to descend into this smelly dungeon.

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Hammy dealing with the trogs in Freshen the air.

Now there are a few things that are highly frustrating with running Freshen the Air on elite at level.  One is having to deal with large room near the end of the quest that has the huge crates that need to be destroyed, second is having to deal with the numerous troglodyte shamans that inhabit the dungeon, and third is that the dang quest is timed.

Because I only the help of a hireling, I decided to try to take things nice and slow and decided to range as many of the crates and shaman as I could once I reached the main room.  During my first attempt, this started out good but I eventually became too impatient and ventured into the room where I was simply ice stormed like crazy and lit up with scorching rays.  However, I eventually got passed the crates and started up toward the shrine area where I soon met my demise.  I forgot about some of the shamans on the ledges/platforms and was eventually killed, along with hireling. 

So I recalled, rebuffed and decided to go into this a second time…round two if you will.  This time I cleared out the main room and made sure to take out all of the shaman on the ledges and platforms.  When I made it to the shrine room I was able to make quick work of its defenders and then headed over to the last part of the quest. 

I eventually made it to the clutch and destroyed the matriarch and her eggs and made it to the end of he quest with about 5 minutes or so to spare.  Needless to say, Hamllin was humbled in this particular quest and is glad that it is over.  However, he isn’t looking forward to running Proof is in the Poison…and dreads that experience.

Although he does wonder, what were in those huge crates and whose idea was it to push them in front of the ventilation shafts?

Until next time, thanks for reading all and happy questing!!