Our First Forray Into the Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1

Although the weekend isn’t quite over yet, it has been quite interesting :).  On Friday and Saturday, a few of Crypt Crawlers ventured into the Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1 for the first time.  And boy was it an experience.  My overall impressions of the quest is somewhat mixed.  I enjoy the detail that was put into the creation of this classic module and I definitely appreciate the depth and size of the dungeon.  However, its extreme length is a little daunting.  Of course with it being our first time in this quest, we didn’t really have much of a choice but to explore as much of the quest as we could.  It took us about three hours to get through it the first time and over three hours to get through it the second time.  I’m sure we’ll be able to progress through it more quickly once we do it more often.  My only problem is that I won’t be able to run this particular quest as often as I might some of the other quests (not including the weekend) because of my time constraints.  Hopefully it won’t take my slow mind long to come down with a path that allows me to complete it more quickly.

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Preparing to teleport to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Now, with that said I must also point out that we did this quest on heroic elite, making it a level 9 quest, with three level 10 characters and 3 hirelings.  I had taken Erdrique (Rogue) and I was joined by Hellbanisher (Bard) and Cascading (Rogue/Ranger) on Friday and by Twotoe (Barbarian) and Cascading on Saturday.  The one thing I can definitely say is that the Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1 is extremely challenging, especially if you are using hirelings.  I noticed that are hirelings just seemed to burn through their mana at accelerated rates in the quest.  I’m guessing this is mainly because of the large number of enemy mobs we encountered and my lord I must say there were plenty of enemies to deal with.  While running through the Temple hallways and exploring its rooms, it was the huge number of enemies that caused us problems as opposed to the various types of enemies.  I was actually quite surprised to see how many human type mobs were in the Temple.  One thing that I did notice though, was that I wound up getting a number of monster manual deeds as we made our way through the quest the first night, which I thought was interesting.

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Time to enter the Temple of Elemental Evil.

I found the quest mechanics interesting overall.  I thought it was a pretty interesting idea to mix a slayer type count optional objectives within the main objectives of the quest.  It gives you something to work forward too if you would rather to continue to explore the dungeon instead of looking for the end fight to complete the quest.  I also enjoyed the optional rare encounters and the various orange named mobs.  I also enjoyed having a new type of breakable in the quest, with those braziers being breakable, but I did run across a number of those that I couldn’t break and I had hard time selecting on them on as well.  One thing I did notice is that for all of the detail put into the various rooms, the entire quest itself lacks in collectibles.  With all of those bookcases, desks, cabinets, and crates I would have thought you could have come across something that was interesting to collect.  I guess the mushrooms you gather in the chests fill this void but I miss that interaction with the dungeon.  However, this is a minor thing and nothing to linger on.

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Doesn’t take long to run into trouble in the Temple of Elemental Evil.

During our first run through on Friday night, we came across three different trap types: magic wards, pressure plates, and bear traps.  On Saturday night we only came across the pressure plates and bear traps which I thought was a little interesting.  The thing that I found weird about those traps, is that they seemed to be extremely clustered together.  I would have thought they would have been spread out through the area a little more.  It made disabling easier though :).

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The Crawlers moving through the Air Temple.

The map itself was a little difficult for me to get a hang of at first.  I had some difficulty in lining up the doorways with the appropriate areas of the Temple.  However, once I figured out how they lined up I was able to understand the map’s layout.  It did take us a little while to figure out where to go once we gathered up the keys but once we figured out we needed to head to the Dungeon Level 3 we were good.

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It’s a giant frog!!

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Hellbanisher freezing the Gargoyle Colossus.

The named enemy fights in each temple weren’t that much of an issue, except for the Fire Temple.  Those salamanders spawning up from the lava pit was something I wasn’t quite expecting.  We got pounded into dust there during both runs.  We also had some difficulty with the huge cube that spawns in the Water Temple but kiting that thing around helped with that.  However, the earth temple and air temple were relatively straight forward.  Now the end fight was a little more interesting.  We did have some difficulty dealing with the four elementals (air, water, earth, and fire) and then having to deal with the bebilith, but we did take them down eventually.  We didn’t completing get the waves killed before Falrinth sent in his next monstrosity to kill us, nor did we get the bebilith killed before Falrinth showed his impatience and started his attack but luckily most of the elementals and the bebilith were close to be destroyed when Falrinth started his attacks so that wasn’t much of a problem.

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LOL, well that wasn’t good!!

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All hell breaking loose in the Fire Temple.

Overall, I found the Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1 very intriguing, very challenging, and a peer definition of a dungeon crawl.  The extreme length of the quest and the extraordinary number of enemies you encounter is quite different than anything else you will encounter in game.  However, I believe this will be minimized in time.  I haven’t really invested any time in the new crafting system yet so I don’t really have much to comment on that besides the fact that we have another crafting system which is just another system to keep tabs on.  But the quest is definitely fun and it can be frustrating.  On Friday night we wound up reentering the quest once and using some resurrection cakes.  On Saturday night we reentered the quest about 8 times or so but didn’t use any resurrection cakes.  We definitely saw our soul stones more often in this quest than in any other in recent times.  Hopefully we will hit up Part 2 next week.

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Erdrique, Hellbanisher, and Cascading taking on Slag.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Temple of Elemental Evil.

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Love and Hate Relationship with the Guild Website

One of things I have learned over the past few years is how nice having a guild website is but also how frustrating it can be as well.  That is why I have titled this blog post the way I have.  During this past week, our guild website was down and it was down for a sufficient length of time that I began to wonder if the servers were no longer running.  Our guild website host is GuildPortal.  I created the site back in 2009 I believe.  Prior to that our guild was using just a generic forum page as our website, which wound up getting shut down.  So I was quite excited to create a new website on GuildPortal.  At the time, one of our alliance guilds was using GuildPortal as their website host and I took a look at it and was quite impressed.  I was also glad to see that it had a number of options and capabilities that were free to use as well.  So our website at GuildPortal was created: Crypt Crawlers.

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A screen shot of our Crypt Crawler home page on GuildPortal.

I devote a large amount of time to our guild website each week.  To be honest, our guild website is the center piece for me to communicate with our guild members.  I say this because the guild website and my updates to it are key to my weekly guild newsletters.  Each week, I send out a guild newsletter that updates everybody on the ins and outs of the things that are happening in game.  I tend to include topics that have occurred on the DDO Forums, the various DDO podcasts, the various DDO blogs, and other topics of interest.  However, other things I include in the newsletter include shouts, post made on our guild forums, changes to our guild bank, updates to various links in the many widgets on your page, and updates to our calendar.  So as you can imagine, my weekly newsletter is heavily tied to our guild website.  So if the website goes down it has quite an effect on what I can include in the weekly newsletter.

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I’ve taken some time to create some medals for the guild.

Early in the week, I actually believe it was on Memorial Day, or possibly Sunday prior, something happened with the GuildPortal servers.  I couldn’t load up our webpage at all and as the week continued I would encounter one of three different errors, primarily stating that the connection to the server was reset and to try again later.  So I took a look at the GuildPortal Facebook page and noticed that others were also having the same problem.  I also noted that the developers for GuildPortal hadn’t posted anything new on their Facebook page since 2013.  After a few days with the website still not loading and no new posts or communication being made through Facebook, I began to think that our guild page was lost for good.

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A quick look at the calendar that I try to keep updated.

I was highly disappointed and frustrated with this.   By far, I use the guild website more than anybody else in our guild.   But that is also because I’m the one who updates it.  With that said I have spent so much time and have put up some much content on it, that just simply losing it would be heart breaking.  I have created a number of guild forum posts ranging from builds to talks about quests, my blog actually started with GuildPortal’s blog utility, I have created some guild medals for the adventure zones and reincarnations, I have created character biographies and journals that are stored there, as well as creating a number of widgets that contain links to various DDO resources, a DDO News widget, and have linked the album widget to our Photobucket site.

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Our guild forums.

Needless to say, it might be time to start looking for a new guild website host.  I was actually looking into this on Thursday when I was reviewing some guild sites at Gamer Launch when I decided to try to reload our website again and was amazed to see it pull up.  There is still no comment made as to why the page went down for so long.  So people on Facebook wondered if the heavy rains impacted the GuildPortal servers but there still hasn’t been any communication from the website’s developers so it is hard to determine this.  I would hate to leave GuildPortal because I do believe they have quite a bit of functionality that I have used and some others that I haven’t used quite yet but its stability has really become questionable.  I’m glad I haven’t submitted a paid subscription otherwise I would have really been upset.

In any case, the website is currently back up and now I can get back to updating it.  I’m just hoping that it isn’t a fluke and that the servers are just running on burrowed time.  I guess we’ll see.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Light Questing Over Memorial Day Week, Quest Runs May 25 to May 28

I had some fun questing experiences over this part holiday week.  This past Monday was the Memorial Day holiday in the US, which was a nicely anticipated weekend for myself at least.  I needed the quick break from work :).  During this past week, I hit some quests with some epic level characters, some low level quests, and a few mid level runs.  To kick off the holiday week, I ran out into the King’s Forest with Wapoyei (Level 23 Cleric/Divine Crusader) and took him through the quest Impossible Demands on epic hard.  While I was taking Wapoyei through Impossible Demands, I was also playing during our digital PNP game, which of course led me to get killed once or twice in Impossible Demands.  After I completed the quest I picked up Unquiet Graves and made me way through the King’s Forest to locate the quest.  This was also the same quest I was trying to find with Rimuldar previously.  As I ran around the King’s Forest, I was better prepared this time and had my tablet open with the DDOWiki map (just like Even had suggested 🙂 ), and I was surprised to find out that the quest entrance was in the same village type area that I had ventured into with Rimuldar, I just simply didn’t go far enough into the village to see the quest entrance.  How ironic is that?  Oh well, at least I have a general idea of where it is now.  I didn’t have enough time to run the quest but at least it was now marked on Wapoyei’s map.

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Wapoyei making his way to the quest Impossible Demands.

My typical weekly routine came back into place on Tuesday.  Well I say that, but my slayer run that typically do in the morning I had to do later in the night because I overslept 🙂 and was running late for work.  But I did get my slayer run in that night by taking Tuhnn (Level 15 Bladeforged) out into the Sands of Menechtarun.  During the afternoon, after I came home from work, I headed off into the Red Fens with Hamllin (Level 16 Fighter).  Hamllin continues to work on obtaining his 3,000 slayer mark in the Red Fens.  Later on that night, I logged on with Berann (Level 7 Barbarian).  To start the night I took Berann through the Tangleroot Gorge Wilderness area and then I headed back to the Harbor to hit up some low level favor runs including Kobold Assault, Home Sweet Sewer, and An Explosive Situation.

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Hamllin preparing to take on the sahuaghin in the Red Fens.

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Tuhnn hunting out in the Sands of Menechtarun.

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Berann slaughtering the kobolds in Kobold Assault.

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Berann exploring the caves of Tangleroot Gorge.

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Berann dealing with the quickfoot in An Explosive Situation.

For Wednesday, I kicked off the day by taking Stoorage (Level 12 Fighter) into Sorrowdusk Isle to continue on working on those slayer counts.  For my afternoon run, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 10 Rogue) and took him through the much hated quest, Purge the Heretics.  Those were the only runs I completed as I didn’t log into the game on Wednesday night to spend date night with my beautiful wife.

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Stoorage dealing with the ogres in Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Erdrique running into a night scorpion in Purge the Heretics.

I logged on with Hamllin and took him out into the Red Fens first thing in the morning on Thursday.  I had also logged on with Hamllin after work and continued some more in the Red Fens.  Later that night, I logged on with Sludgge (Level 21 Rogue/Shadowdancer) and started the Sentinel Series with him.  After I picked up the story arc, I then headed out to complete Bargain of Blood on epic normal.  I had a fun time in there again, especially with Time Bomb.  I didn’t get a chance to run anything else that night.

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Hamllin coming face to face with a vine stalker in the Red Fens.

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Hamllin working on his slayers in the Red Fens.

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Sludgge taking on the dangers of the Bargain of Blood.

So, this past week was a little unusual because of the holiday week but I had a nice little set of quest runs over the week.  It was good to get a few epic level quests completed as well as some lower lever quests knocked out.  I’m hoping this weekend will be fun as well.  I hope everybody else has had a nice week as well and has a great weekend!!  Happy hunting everybody!!

What a Coincidence!!

One of the things I like to try to stay on top of are the weekly DDO Store sales and coupons of the week.  If I remember correctly, last week’s coupon was for Omnispell dust * 50.  Well, while running with Erdrique (Level 10 Rogue) through the quest Redwillow’s Ruins this past weekend I came across something interesting.  In one of the chests I came across I found 1,000 Omnispell dust components!!

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Erdrique collecting his loot in a chest from Redwillow’s Ruins and finding something unusual.

Now I didn’t use the coupon code this past week and by the time I came across this chest in Redwillow’s Ruins the Omnispell dust code had expired and the new code was active.  I wonder if this is a sign that maybe I should have used that code :).  But then again, I wonder if I had used the code if these would have dropped for me.  The world will never know!! 🙂  In either case it was a happy coincidence and I’m sure one of my casting class characters will find these useful!!

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Working on Gathering Those Challenge Ingredients

Over the past few weekends, I have been taking some time with Erdrique (Level 10 Rogue) to go through the various Cannith Challenges.  I recently hit level 10 with Erdrique and what I would like to do is to obtain enough of the Cannith Crafting ingredients need to upgrade Ring of the Stalker and the belt Spare Hand up to tier 3 level 11 version so that everything will be good to go when Erdrique hits level 11.  When looking at what is needed for upgrading Ring of the Stalker, I will need 1,000 Jaded Scorpions, 200 Necromantic Charms, 200 Crude Talismans, 800 Arcanoloth Scrolls, and 800 Jeweled Goblets.  For the Spare Hand, I need 200 Jaded Scorpions, 200 Obsidian Arrowheads, 1,000 Enchanted Armor Fragments, 800 Arcanoloth Scrolls, and 800 Jeweled Goblets.  In total, I will need 1,200 Jaded Scorpions, 200 Necromantic Charms, 200 Crude Talismans, 1,600 Arcanoloth Scrolls, 1,600 Jeweled Goblets, 200 Obsidian Arrowheads, and 1,000 Enchanted Armor Fragments to upgrade both items.

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Erdrique clearing a path in the Lava Caves so the kobolds can earn him some Jaded Scorpions in Colossal Crystal.

Over the past few weeks I have obtained what I needed for the Jaded Scorpions (which come out of the Lave Caves: Colossal Crystal), Necromantic Charms (which come out of Kobold Island: The Disruptor), and Obidian Arrowheads (which come out of the Lava Caves: Circles of Power).  I’m currently working on the Enchanted Armor Fragments and I have completed the challenge Extraplanar Palace: Dragon’s Hoard a couple of times and will need to complete it a couple of more times to get what I need.  I will then need to head off to Kobold Island: Kobold Chaos to get when I need for the Crude Talismans (which should only be a single run).

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Erdrique defeating the many enemies in the Extraplanar Palace so that the kobolds can gather some crystals in the Dragon’s Hoard.

After I get enough Crude Talismans, I’ll have to rely on Charlock (Level 14 Fighter), Hamllin (Level 16 Fighter), or Tuhnn (Level 15 Bladeforged) to gather the rest of the ingredients.  The Jeweled Goblets are rewards from Dr. Rushmore’s Mansion:Picture portals which has a minimum level of 15 to enter while the Arcanoloth Scrolls are rewards from Extraplanar Palace: Labor Shortage which requires a minimum level 14 to enter.  This shouldn’t be much of an issue though.  I’ll imagine I’ll try to hit these up with Hamllin since he is my second heroic true reincarnated character and can use the experience as well.

In either case, things are looking good for the challenges and I hope I can time it right to have those ingredients by the time Erdrique hits level 11 :).  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Cannith Challenges!!

Black Sun Ogre’s A Little Confused!!

I have no idea how many times I have taken various characters through the Grey Moon Waning Story Arc but the more I go through there the more things I see that make me scratch my head.  During my latest run with Erdrique (Level 10 Rogue), I was fortunate enough to come across Flamefang and Powder.  But as I defeated them I began to wonder about this.  Powder is a winter wolf and Flamefang is a large fire breathing hellhound.  Can there be anything more opposite that those two creatures?

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Erdrique finishing off Flamefang in the Iron Mines and then realizing that something is off here.

Now there is no doubt that Grust has some powerful shamans or casters at his disposal and that they are probably the ones responsible for summoning both Powder and Flamefang.  Of course Flamefang could also be the mate of Teargon who lingers around the Sorrowdusk Isle wilderness area.  But in either case, in how many instances do you see a powerful hellhound in the same area as a powerful winter wolf?  It makes me thing that Grust has some competing shamans who want his favor and they are using their powerful pets to try to gather a stronger influence with him.  I guess they might be having some type of competition, which ever beast does best will help earn more respect for their master.  I guess ogres are really chaotic!!  🙂

In any case, neither one of them did a good job!!  Although I did note that Powder was free ranging while Flamefang was locked up.  Perhaps Flamefang was having a little too much fun with his liberty!!

You have to love ogres and their competitive styles.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Sorrowdus Isle!!

Productive Questing Over the Holiday Weekend, Quest Runs May 22nd to May 24th

It was a strong and productive set of quest runs over this latest holiday weekend.  The weekend runs kicked off early Friday morning when I took my druid Cannock (Level 7) out into the wilds of Korthos Island.  This was a nice little mindless slayer run prior to my meeting at work.  After work, I brought on Erdrique (Level 10 Rogue) and took him into the Searing Heights and into the quest Ruined Halls.  I’m still working on completing those level 6 quests.  After I completed Ruined Halls, I took a second to log on with Hamllin (Level 16 Fighter).  Since I didn’t get a chance to run him on Thursday because I had to stay late at work, I took the time to maneuver him through a circuit of the Red Fens.  Later that night, I logged back on Erdrique and hit up a number of quests after I added pure good to his acid quarterstaff in the Cannith Crafting hall.  First off, I ventured back into the Searing Heights and then I made my way out to Sorrowdusk Isle.  While out there I completed the Grey Moon’s Den Story Arc completing the Iron Mines: Freeing Achka, the Iron Mines: Justice for Grust, The Grey Moon’s Den: The Trollish Scouge, and The Grey Moon’s Den: Extermination.  Now Erdrique is flagged to start on the Cult of the Six Story Arc.  After those runs, I decided to collect some more challenge ingredients and completed a few runs of The Lava Caves: Colossal Crystal.  After that I logged out for the night.

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Erdrique looking for some of the traps in the Ruined Halls.

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Erdrique taking some time to upgrade his favorite quarterstaff.

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Awesome peak in Searing Heights.

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Erdrique looking for the key to free Achka in the Iron Mines.

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Erd looking down upon his enemies in the Grey Moon’s Den.

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Erdrique coming across Darksting in the Grey Moon’s Den.

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Erdrique dealing with the scorpions in the Lava Caves to clear the way for the kobolds to find the colossal crystal.

I was active once again with Erdrique on Saturday.  I took him back out into Searing Heights and wound up completing that wilderness zone before I logged out for the night.  I then headed off and ran Devil’s Assault on normal and then ran off into the challenge Lava Caves: Colossal Crystal.  Once I finished that run, I obtained the necessary jaded scorpions for my next upgrades.  I then headed off to Redwillow’s Ruins where I picked up a number of monster manual awards which gave me a nice amount of additional experience.  Once I completed Redwillow’s Ruins, I headed off to the next challenge, Extraplanar Palace: Dragon’s Hoard and started to work on gathering the enchanted armor fragments that I will need for my next set of upgrades.  I then called it a night.

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Erdrique getting harassed by the Consecrator.

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Erdrique feeling sorry for this poor little kobold.

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Erdrique spinning and dealing damage to the enemies in Devil’s Assault.

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Erdrique finds Redwillow in the ruins he wants to explore.

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Erdrique making his way through the Extraplanar Palace for the kobolds to collect crystals in the Dragon’s Hoard.

To close out the weekend, I logged Erdrique back on and joined up with Hellbanisher where we entered and took on the dangers of The Pit.  We made it through on the quest quite efficiently and that netted both of us well over 30 k experience.  Nice indeed!!

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Erdrique taking note of the view in The Pit.

So, as usual, it was another weekend dominated with runs with Erdrique.  I hope to continue on with my challenge questing because I would really like to have the necessary ingredients I need to upgrade my Ring of the Stalker and Spare Hand when I hit level 11.  We’ll see how that turns out.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy questing!!