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.
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!!