Time to Take a Detour

Although the quest chain The High Road of Shadows has been out for quite some time, the only exposure I have had with it has been to run some slayers in the wilderness area with a few of my higher level characters.  Up to this point, I haven’t had the desire or the need to run through the quests that were released with the pack.  However, I’m currently working on completing the non-raid heroic quests on elite with Erdrique (Level 22 Rogue/Fury of the Wild) and came up to these set of quests in my Adventure Compendium.  The first quest in this chain is called Detour.  The quest giver is Tibalt Dormen, a Harper located not faraway from the entrance zone to the High Road.  When talking to Tibalt, we learn that Oriphaun has broken up a nether scroll and another Harper wizard has found one of the pieces.  However, he appears that he needs to be escorted to the Harper’s lodge to place the scroll piece in a safe place.

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Erdrique wishing he had that ability to ward off damage.

The reason why the escort is needed is because the Harper wizard who found the Nether scroll piece, Bensen Virandson, is now being tracked by members of the Netherese and their hired hands.  As a result, Bensen has been forced to take a “detour” on his way to the lodge.  Luckily for us, the starting point to the deter, the Greenweald Lande, isn’t far from the beginning of the High Road.  Now one thing I found extremely interesting is what I saw as soon as I entered the quest.  As soon as you step into the quest, you enter a little building that has a few cabinets and desks.  On one of these desks, a layer scrolls is spread out that are all interactable.  At first I thought that these were collectibles and then as I read them I realized they were short biographies on some powerful characters.  I wondered if these characters would be in this quest.  It turns out they do appear as optional encounters as you escort Bensen to the Lodge.  This bit of lore I found really interesting and I haven questioned the back ground to some of the rare/named encounters we come across in a few other quests and this type of mechanic is a great way to fill that void for sure!!

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Erdrique looking up the Greenweald Lane.

The quest layout is pretty straightforward.  You continue out of the initial building and meet up with Bensen and then follow the road around its twisty path and then into the woods to get to the lodge.  During the entire trip, we are constantly ambushed by either the Netherese and their hired hand, by the natural wildlife (primarily wolves and dire bears), and sometimes by dretches which are just randomly spawned by the Nether scroll fragment itself.  As for traps, the only ones I noted were some spell wards but they were annoying to deal with because when I discovered them I was also being attacked.

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Coming across one of the powerful mercenaries in Detour.

A large portion of the ambushes are lead by one of the names mentioned in the scrolls you noticed in the beginning of the house.  Now although the quest is really an escort quest, you don’t really have to worry about Bensen.  He takes cave of himself quite well and even has some parts in the conversation where he makes fun of “escorts” and how he is a Harper wizard who can take care of himself.  Once you make it to lodge, you will encounter another large battle when you get downstairs.

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Erdrique finally coming across the Harper Lodge.

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Erdrique preparing for a vicious battle in Detour.

Overall, I found the quest unique.  I really liked the extra knowledge of those scrolls on the various optional names you come across.  I also like the extra help the wizard gives you during the battles.  The waves of enemies was sometimes annoying, but this primarily because I was trying to move through it relatively more quickly that I should have because I was trying to get done so that I could make dinner.  It was a fun quest and I look forward to seeing what the other quests in the chain have.  Thanks for reading everybody and Happy Halloween!!

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Enjoying the Dual Boxing, Quest Runs October 26 to October 29

As I look back at the quest runs I did this week, I couldn’t help but notice that each day I did some dual boxing, from Monday to Thursday.  I don’t think I have noticed before and I have been back into dual boxing for a few weeks now.  Speaking of using dual boxing, I kicked off the quest runs this week by taking Containment (Level 7 Cleric), from my premium account, and Cannock (Level 7 Druid), from my VIP account, out into the lush jungles of Tangleroot Gorge for both of them to keep acquiring their slayers out there.  One thing I have noticed by dual boxing with Cannock and my characters on my premium account, is that he might actually max out the Tangleroot Slayer area before he finished out Waterworks.  I’ll guess we will have to wait and see how that hold out.  In the afternoon, I took Hamllin (Level 17 Fighter) out into the Sands of Menechtarun as he continues his march through the slayers out there, particularly focusing on the undead slayers at the moment as he makes his way to the 1,500 slayer mark.  To close out the night, I took Wapoyei (Level 24 Cleric/Divine Crusader) into the Underdark to locate the portal to Sschindylryn.  So it was definitely an “explorer” type day.

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Containment hunting the wolves in Tangleroot Gorge.

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Hamllin going for a stroll in the desert.

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Wapoyei heading into the Underdark.

Tuesday started out with another slayer run.  This time I took Charlock (Level 15 Fighter) into the Red Fens.  In my afternoon run, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 22 Rogue/Fury of the Wild) and I took him out into the Inspired Quarter to try the quest In the Demon’s Den on elite.  I had only tried this quest once or twice before and it wasn’t on elite, so this was basically a new run for me.  I quickly found out that this particular quest is more challenging to complete on elite with some hirelings than I realized and wrote about that here.  Although I didn’t die, I did run out of time to complete this quest and was forced to recall out to make dinner.  I will have to take another stab at this quest this weekend :).  To close Tuesday night out, I logged on with Berann (Level 9 Barbarian) and set him up to dual box with Containment.  I took them both through the quest Rest for the Restless on Elite and then I took them out into Tangleroot Gorge and started the Assault on Splinterskull chain and completed the first three quests in the arc before I had to call it a night (First Strike, Hobgoblin’s Captives, and Yarkuch’s War-Plans).  While doing this, Berann hit level 9 :).

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Charlock stalking his enemies in the Red Fens.

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Erdrique exploring the Demon’s Den.

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Dealing with the undead in the Vault of the Restless.

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Berann making his way through Tangleroot Gorge.

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Containment wondering what else he’ll encounter besides spiders in Splinterskull.

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Berann making his way through Splinterskull in hopes of finding some captives.

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Berann disrupting Yarkuch’s plans at organization.

Wednesday I was presented with another chance to dual box.  I was scheduled to take Lorrikk (Level13 Monk) back into Sorrowdusk Isle to continue his slayers out there.  So, after I logged on with Lorrikk, I then logged on with Stoorage (Level 12 Fighter) from my premium account, and grouped the two together so they both could get some slayers from Sorrowdusk Isle.  They are both steadily progressing through this area.  In the afternoon, I logged back on with Hamllin who continued his monumental work in the desert.  I didn’t play that night, as it was date night with my wife.

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Lorrikk coming upon one of the caves in Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Hamllin encountering some gnolls on his way to the undead portion of the desert.

To close out the week on Thursday, I logged on with Crawlller (Level 7 Ranger) and Cannock and I took them into Three Barrel Cove because Crawlller is completely done out there now and has started the pirate hangout area of Three Barrel Cove.  In the afternoon, I was scheduled to take Erdrique into his first experience with the High Road.  After I picked up the quest Detour, I made my way into the High Road explorer area and then into the Greenweald Lane.  It was the first time I had seen this quest before and found it interesting.  I really liked the aspect of reading up on all of the mercenaries before we really started the quest.  Overall, Erdrique didn’t have many issues in the quest on heroic elite.  Later that night, I logged on with Sludgge (Level 22 Rogue/Shadowdancer) and I took him through Spies in the House on epic normal.  I called it a night after that run.

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Crawlller coming across some pirates in Three Barrel Cove.

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Running into some resistance in the High Road on the way to the quest Detour.

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Erdrique finally making it to the lodge in Detour.

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Erdrique encountering the winter werewolf after completing Detour in the High Road.

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Sludgge making his way through the Blood Road.

So, as you can see I had quite a number of dual boxing quest runs this week.  This weekend will probably not be like that as I plan on playing Erdrique for the majority of the weekend and I don’t have any characters on my premium account who are that high in level.  I do plan on running the Night Revels this weekend, so we’ll how well I do there.  I hope everybody had a great week and I hope everybody has a terrific weekend as well.  Happy Halloween!! Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Delera’s Graveyard this weekend!!

Check Out That Quarterstaff

The other day I was taking Erdrique (Level 22 Rogue/Fury of the Wild) through the quest The Druid’s Curse and couldn’t help but notice the quarterstaff wielded by the end boss, Halsaime.  Erdrique, being a Thief Acrobat, can appreciate the beautiful design and function of a powerfully built quarterstaff.  In Halsaime’s hands, the quarterstaff has this wicked looking red aura glowing from it and seems to emit electric like charges from its head.  The handle appears to be made of darkwood or some other similar material.

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Check out that quarterstaff Halsaime has.

As I prepared to fight Halsaime, I wondered what enchantments this powerful looking quarterstaff was bestowed with.  These enchantments must be pretty powerful and intoxicating with Halsaime claiming he will not give up the quarterstaff and wants to feed you to his flower bed in Druid’s Deep.  Halsaime tends to attack with some of the strongest druid evocation spells: earthquake, call lightning storm, and firestorm.  This makes me think that his quarterstaff gives him some type of bonus, such as spell focus, to increase the saves needed to resist those magical attacks as well as a increase in spell power to those spells.  When Halsaime transforms into his animal shapes, they appear to be special spirit forms of a bear and wolf.  My assumption is that Halsaime is able to add this “spituality” to his animal shape changes because he is channeling some type of special power from the quarterstaff to allow this ability.

Indeed, this staff is quite powerful.  Too bad we don’t get the chance to check it out more closely.  I also wonder who enchanted it.  I wouldn’t mind convincing them to do some enchantments for me :).  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Druid’s Deep!!

Complications in the Den

Erdrique (Level 22 Rogue/Fury of the Wild) is making his way through the rest of his heroic quests before really starting his epic questing.  I currently have some level 17 quests to finish on elite and then all of those from level 18 and 19.  One of these quests includes the quest called In the Demon’s Den.  In the Demon’s Den is a level 18 quest on normal, making it a level 20 quest on elite.  I had planned on working on this quest yesterday afternoon after work, so I took Erdrique into the the Inspired Quarter section of the Harbor and popped on it.  The quest isn’t part of the Inspired Quarter story chain and is instead a stand alone quest that is bestowed by an agent of the Silver Flame named Uriel.  As we come across Uriel, we learn that a powerful demon has come to Xen’drik and plans on completing some type of ritual that will make it invulnerable.  Uriel tells you that the Silver Flame failed in stopping this ritual and happens to be a farshifter and asks if she can send us to into the wilds of Xen’drik to take care of this problem.

Although this quest has been around for quite some time, I have only run it once or twice.  In fact, I don’t think I have actually ever completed it.  I know that I attempted it twice with Garrrin (Level 23 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild) back when he was level 19 or 20.  I believe he was trying it in normal or hard at the time.  In any case, I never did complete it and I didn’t quite remember everything that needed to be done.  Just to give some background, as soon as you enter the quest and make your way forward into the area, you will come across a large and powerful marilith named Aurora the Wicked.  Now one thing I knew from the last time I was in the quest was that three efreetis (also red named) needed to be destroyed in order to stop the ritual and in order to defeat Aurora.  These three efreetis are located in three different areas of the map.  On normal, I remember that the efreetis could be killed one at a time.  So I took Erdrique into the map and dragged the marilith throughout the zone.  When I encountered an efreeti I would destroy it and move on to the next one.  Now there should have only been three efreetis to worry about.  However, shortly after I killed the first efreeti, I noticed the dungeon master text stating that another efreeti had been called into the zone by Aurora.

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Erdrique looking for the demon and the ritual chamber inside the quest, In the Demon’s Den.

After taking out another 5 or 6 efreetis I decided to call it an afternoon.  Keep in mind that I was also avoiding Aurora many attacks at the same time.  I couldn’t figure out why the efreetis weren’t “staying” dead.  Because they efreetis kept being summoned, the protective aura around Aurora never came down for a long time and she would heal up all of her injuries.  I then looked up the quest in the DDOwiki.  It turns out that on elite, the three efreetis need to be destroyed within about 30 seconds of each other.  Otherwise Aurora keeps calling forth more.  Once the three efreetis are killed, within the time limit, Aurora won’t call any more.  So I need to do one of two things.  One, see if I can drag all three efreetis together in a central location and attack them simultaneously or gather a large enough group to take on the three efreetis individually and time their take downs.

This should be interesting.  If I’m lucky I can get back to this over the weekend.  I’m not sure if the efreetis have some type of leash or not but I want to get through it now!!  We’ll see how it goes.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting In the Demon’s Den!!

Coming Across Those Rare Areas in Wilderness Zones

One of the things I really like to do is to make my way through the various wilderness areas and explorer zones with my characters, completing all of the rares, slayers, and explorers.  I even like to do this if my characters are way over level for those particular zones.  As of right now, I’m taking Erdrique (Level 22 Rogue/Fury of the Wild) through the Restless Isles.  After just finishing up the Red Fens, the Restless Isles should be simple :).  However, during this particular instance, I also had the opportunity to enter some of those rare rooms that are locked in the underwater tunnels of the Restless Isles.  These rooms don’t open even if you have a Runetusk Pass Key.  However, during this particular life as a rogue, Erdrique was able to pick and unlock these doors so that he could enter them and see what is inside them when before he wasn’t able to.

In one of these unique cases he came across a chest.  Inside the chest was a nice little augment, a Sapphire of False Life +15.  Not a bad loot reward for a relatively mid-level, obscure chest in the middle of the underwater tunnels of the Restless Isles.  Just goes to show that good things can be found in just about any particular area.

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Erdrique just leaving a room he has rarely seen in the Restless Isles over his past lives.

Another thing I noted as well, that going back to this area and completing it will also log entries into Erdrique’s monster manual, especially for ogres since the addition of ogres to the monster manual came out after he completed the quests out in the Restless Isles, Slavers of the Shrieking Mines and Bring Me the Head of Ghola-Fan.  So that will amount to some more experience via the monster manual as well as accumulating more slayers on an account basis to open up some account awards.

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Not a bad reward from a rather obscure chest in the Restless Isles.

The combination of running through the varies wilderness zones during different lives or with different characters allow you to explore the entire region and possibly to give you a chance at some fun pieces of loot.  Don’t forget about this when you are making your through the various quests in your leveling circuit.  I can’t wait until I get more familiar with some of the higher level wilderness zones as well as those out in Eveningstar.  In still green when it comes Wheloon Prison, The High Road, The King’s Forest, The Stormhorns, Underdark, Demonweb, Sschindylryn, and Thunderholme.  I’m hoping to continue to gain more of that experience with Erdrique as he continues to finish up these areas.  I also have a few other characters that are working through these areas as well.  It is definitely time to “explore: :).

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the myriad of wilderness and explorer zones of DDO!!

Making Some Progress, Quest Runs October 23rd to October 25th

I had a pretty active weekend in DDO :).  Questing started out on Friday morning when I logged on with Larrs (Level 21 Bard/Fatesinger) and took him into the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic) and accumulated my 1,500 slayer mark in the Stormfist zone.  Now that he has that, I think I will move him over to Eveningstar to start working out in the King’s Forest for awhile.  After I got back home from work, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 22 Rogue/Fury of the WIld) and tried to make my way through the quest Mask of Deception on heroic elite.  At the time I was trying it, I was level 21 and it was the first time I had seen this quest.  Needless to say, things didn’t quite work out so well which I commented on here.  So my afternoon run on Friday didn’t quite work out so well.  However, I logged back on with Erdrique on Friday night and took him back into the Mask of Deception.  I took a different tack this time and although I still had some problems with it, I was able to complete it.  I then took Erdrique through a run of the Lava Caves: Colossal Crystal to get some ingredients.  I actually took him through that challenge twice during the night.  The next quest I ran was Thorn and Paw on elite.  After I knocked that out, I decided to check out the Night Revels.  It didn’t take me long to get a key and I soon found myself heading into the quest Haverdashed and completing it.  I then called it a night (after I did some character maintenance on my other characters).

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Larrs making his way through the Gianthold and collecting Stormfist slayers.

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Erd noticing that the Cult of the Dragon Below knows how to relax.

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Erd noticing the little pumpkin crown of the champions in Mask of Deception.

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Erdrique clearing the path for the kobolds in the Lava Caves: Colossal Crystal.

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Erdrique making his way through Thorn and Paw.

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Erdrique battling the shadar-ki in the graveyard during the Night Revels preview.

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Erdrique checking out the spooky quest Haverdashed.

Saturday started out by logging back on with Erdrique and taking him back into the Night Revels before it was turned off, onice again taking advantage of the fact that I was able to quest between chores and yard work.  I was able to gather three keys and to knock out the other three quests: Kobold’s Newest Ringleader, Under New Ravagement, and The Snitch and the Lich.  Overall, I found the event quite fun and wrote about here.  I then took Erdrique through another run of the Lava Caves: Colossal Crystal and then through a two runs of the Extraplanar Palace: Labor Shortage.  Those were the runs I was able to complete throughout the day but I also knocked some quests out with Erdrique later that night.  After I logged back in, I then headed out to Eveningstar and completed the The Druid’s Curse on heroic elite to finish out that storyline (The Druid’s Deep).  After the Druid’s Curse was completed, I did another run through the Extraplanar Palace: Labor Shortage and then for a circuit through the Restless Isles slayer area.  I then decided to head out to the next set of level 17 quests I still have to complete on elite, Reaver’s Reach.  It has been a long time since I have been out to the Reaver’s Refuge so I was looking forward to running those quests once again.  I started out by taking Erdrique into Aussicraex’s Valley and running Prey on the Hunter.  It took me two runs but I completed it on elite.  To close out the night, I logged on with Tuhnn (Level 15 Bladeforged) and took advantage of the free feat respect that was being offered and got rid of Cleave (because he has Exalted Cleave) and picked up another feat in the two handed weapon line, I then called it at night (after more character maintenance).

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Erdrique making his way through the Night Revels in Delera’s Graveyard and looking for key

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Getting ready to fight undead kobolds in the Kobold’s Newest Ringleader.

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Erdrique battling the zombie horde in Under new Ravagement.

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Battling an undead Roderic Nettle in the Snitch and the Lich.

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Erdrique watching the poor kobold lug the colossal crystal.

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Erdrique coming down to deal with the marilith in Labor Shortage

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Erdrique eager to run into battle with a spectral dragon.

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Erdrique checking out that staff!!

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Erdrique taking on the spectral dragon of the Extraplanar Palace in Labor Shortage.

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Erdrique collecting slayers and monster manual slayers in the Restless Isles.

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Erdrique hunting in Aussicraex’s Valley.

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Erdrique making his way through Prey on the Hunter.

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Tuhnn talking to Fred about a feat switch.

In comparison to Friday and Saturday, my question on Sunday was very limited.  I didn’t get the opportunity this time to log in and quest throughout the day.  However, I was able to dual box with Stoorage (Level 12 Fighter) and Cantlin (Level 12 Sorcerer) and I used Cantlin to open up Under the Big Top on elite for Stoorage (who was previously working on the House P Carnival series through elite).  Cantlin, being on my VIP account, was able to ulnock the elite setting for Stoorage (who is on my premium account).  I did find it interesting that I came across a rare encounter in Under the Big Top that I hadn’t seen before, a tiefling named Maz’il’tilnik.  So that was quite interesting.  However, I didn’t have any major issues taking Stoorage through Under the Big Top on elite, but then again Stoorage was five level higher that CR level of the quest.  That was my last run for the weekend.

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Stoorage finishing up the Carnival Series by running Under the Big Top on elite.

The questing over Friday through Sunday was quite numerous and quite fun.  I had good time with the Night Revels and completed another story arc just to start another.  We’ll see how Erdrique progresses through the rest of the Stormreaver’s Refuge.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Reaver’s Reach!!

My First Look at the Night Revels

This weekend, the DDO developers at Turbine gave us a first “live” look at the Night Revels.  The new Halloween event was turned on for the live servers during Friday (October 23rd) and ran through Saturday morning to around 10 am or so.  While it was turned on, I had the opportunity to take a quick look at it.  Like the old Mabar event, it takes place primarily in Delera’s Graveyard.  When you enter Delera’s Graveyard, you get the opportunity to select your appropriate level range and then to encounter randomly spawned undead (or possibly shadar-ki depending on your level) just like the old Mabar event and similar to what you encounter in Smuggler’s Rest (although with Smuggler’s Rest you don’t get the opportunity to select your level range).  As you engage and defeat the undead you will get a chance to collect dark chocolates or a key.  The dark chocolates are used in the recipes for the various awards offered during the event while the keys allow you to enter one of four different Halloween themed quests (the same key is used for all four quests).

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Erdrique reminiscing about the old summing chamber.

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Delera’s Graveyard pretty much remains the same.

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The spookiness of Haverdashed.

The addition of the four quests is one huge difference between the Night Revels and the old Mabar event.  You no longer have to unlock the summoning chamber and to fight the spectral dragon Misery to get all the ingredients you need for event rewards.  Instead, once you get a key, you can enter one of four different portals are positioned throughout Delera’s Graveyard.  Each portal leads to a different quest.  The quests are remakes of current quests but outfitted with a Halloween theme.  The “new” quests contain pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns throughout and you fight primarily undead versions of the usual mobs.  These new quests are called Haverdashed (from Haverdasher), Kobold’s Newest Ringleader (from Kobold’s New Ringleader), Under New Ravagement (Stand Your Ground), and The Snitch and the Lich (from the Snitch).  All of these remade quests are short, which is really nice, and they reward you with a different type of ingredient that is also used with the dark chocolates you received from Delera’s Graveyard for the event loot.  The longer quests have been shortened (the Snitch for instance doesn’t start out in the tavern but more into the middle of the quest) which is really nice.  Another thing of note, these Halloween themed quests are set up with the challenge technology so you can select what level to do them on.

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Erdrique noticing that the Statler brothers have decorated for Halloween in Under New Ravagement.

Now I was initially worried when I first entered Delera’s Graveyard because it didn’t take long for me to encounter some lag issues, which is one of the primary reasons Mabar was turned off for good.  However, the lag cleared up and I was able to continue my way through the event.  It didn’t take me very long at all to start gathering some dark chocolates and some keys.  On Friday night, I had a key within the first 10 minutes or so of running around Delera’s Graveyard.  I then ran Haverdashed and it took me all of four minutes to completed.  Another note worthy thing with this event when compared to Mabar, these quests hand out experience when they are completed, and it was a nice chunk of experience indeed.  I did the quests with Erdrique (Level 22 Rogue/Fury of the Wild), who was level 21 at the time, on level 21 and got 62,000 experience for each run.  The other quests took me from four to 15 minutes to complete.  And the one that took 15 minutes was because I took the time to break everything (Kobold’s Newest Ringleader).  This was a nice little surprise, as I wasn’t expecting to gather experience during the event and especially not over 240,000 experience.

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Erdrique battling the lich at the end of the Snitch and the Lich.

The enemy spawn rate was just the same as I encountered previously with Mabar and I didn’t see any issues with that.  As I mentioned earlier, it was easy for me to obtain keys.  In fact, I ran three of the quests on Saturday morning prior to the event being triggered off and I had started to hunt down keys at around 8 am.  Overall, I like the redesign quite a bit.  I also like the addition of the new loot items and “keeping” of old Mabar items as well.  When thing I do wish that could have been done was somehow keeping Misery as a potential boss for one of these quests.  If I remember correctly, the bosses are either liches or vampires.  I think the boss in Haverdashed is a vampire while the other three have liches.  I also wish the same set up could be set up in the Necropolis, the other large graveyard in Stormreach.  Maybe that can be done in the future.

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Undead kobolds in the Kobold’s Newest Ringleader.\

The Night Revels promises to be a fun event in the future.  I’m looking forward to it coming back out this week.  I have no idea how much I’ll run it, but I’ll definitely be taking my characters through it.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Night Revels.