A Race Against the Clock

One of the more classic story arcs in DDO is the Vault of Night.  The Vault of Night story arc consists of the following quests: Tharashk Arena (VON 1), The Prisoner (VON 2), The Gateway to Khyber and The Jungles of Khyber (VON 3), Haywire Foundry (VON 4), The Vault of Night (VON 5), and the Plane of Night (VON 6).  The last two quests in the chain are raids and to get into VON 5 you have to complete the previous four quests first.  You used to have to do these in a specific order (hence the reason why they are numbered VON 1 through VON 6 by many players) but this is no longer necessary.  One of the quests to complete, Haywire Foundry, requires you to make your way through a manufacturing plant and saving the artificer Haywire in hopes of recruiting him back into the Laughing Knives (I wondered specifically about Haywire here).

Sludgge exploring Haywire Foundry.

If you have picked up the story arc for the Vault of Night from Marek Malcanus, you will eventually learn about Phineas Haywire.  Haywire has lost some of his confidence after the Laughing Knives couldn’t break into the Vault of Night and is now working in his foundry located in House Kundarak.  You also learn that one of his assistants has been spotted waiting for him on the side of the bank in House Kundarak not to far away from the port that houses ships that head out to Ataraxia’s Haven or Three Barrel Cove.  The name of assistant is Arlsie For (a warforged).  When you catch up to Arlsie you learn that the assistant hasn’t heard drom Haywire in sometime and that he is worried about him.  He then tells you where Haywire’s Foundry is located.

Sludgge picking up the quest Haywire Foundry (VON 4).

The entrance to Haywire Foundry is close to the Ever Full Flagon near the entrance to the House Kundarak Ward.  Right outside of the entrance is another warforged named Husk who is actually a collectible turn in trader.  There was a time when Husk was actually the assistant for Haywire, just as a quick side note.  Haywire Foundry isn’t a complicated quest and it doesn’t have a complicated map either.  When you enter the foundry you actually come into a large curvy hallway that leads into an open cavern that is filled with lava and a single stone pathway leading to a locked gate.  Within this room is a  lever, along the cavern wall across the lava, that needs to be pulled in order to raise the gate.  In this room, the lever is guarded by a few elementals (fire and earth).  Defeating these elementals is an optional objective and makes pulling the lever easier.  Once you raise the gate there is another lever mounted on the wall and another gate.  On the other side of the gate is another warforged that you need to talk to, RC-2.  RC-2 tells you he will take you to Haywire and to pull the lever on the wall when you are ready.

Sludgge at the entrance to Haywire Foundry.

Sludgge inside the foundry and getting ready to pull the lever to raise the first gate to find Haywire.

Sludgge waiting for RC-2.

This is when the quest really begins.  Shortly after the next gate is raised, RC-2 goes a bezerk and attacks you.  It is another optional objective to take it down.  When you defeat him, you see some type of parasite leave his body and disappear.  You then realize that you are inside the foundry.  The initial layout to the foundry is like a cross.  After you defeat RC-2 and continue to make your way north, you will come across some more warforged and a speaking stone mounted in the wall.  After defeating the warforged combatants and using the speaker stone,  you learn from Haywire that something has gone horribly wrong and his creations have turned on him.  To protect himself, he has locked himself is in security chambers in the upper reaches of the foundry.  However, to get to that point, you have to lower the shields that have been activated and stop any more travel to the north in the foundry.

Preparing to deal with RC-2 as he gets ready to go beserk.

Battling some defiant drones in Haywire Foundry.

So where is this painting at?  Just something Sludgge notes in the hallway to the speaking stone.

Coming upon the speaking stone in Haywire Foundry

At this point you can either go east or west.  I typically go east first.  If you have a group, you can split up into different directions.  Each direction poses different challenges and each one has a main control lever that needs to be flipped in order for the force field blocking the passage to the north to be lowered.  The passage to the east leads to a curving hallway that leads up into the foundry.  This path has a number of pitfalls to be weary of, literally.  These pitfalls are actually areas of the floor that completely break away and to a fiery lava pit below.  The first one of these pitfalls can be actually be disabled.  However, the second pitfall cannot be avoided.  But, with that said, you can skirt the left side of the wall in the tunnel and when the floor breaks away you will land a some pipes that you can use to cross the gap.  Speaking to this, there is an optional chest about halfway down this particular pitfall.  Like the first pitfall, the bottom of this pit is covered with a pool of lava.  About halfway down this fall is a tunnel that leads to a chest.  The chest isn’t trapped or anything and ripe for some looting.  However, once you loot the chest you need to enter a second tunnel that leads back up the shaft you just fell down in.  As you make your way through the tunnel a number of acid spray traps will activate that will need to dodge.  If you do happen to come down this way, then having jump will be useful as well as acid resistance as you make your way back up the shaft by jumping and climbing back up various pipes.

Sludgge preparing to go down the eastern half of the foundry.

Making my way down the path to the eastern side of the foundry.

Dealing with some mithral defenders down the hallway.

Staring down the second pitfall along the winding tunnel to the eastern side of the foundry.

In the first tunnel leading to the chest down the second collapsible floor pit.

Time to get some loot from the chest in the pitfall.

Now having to deal with the acid traps as I make my way out of the pitfall.

So more of those same acid traps.

Warforged casters, otto’s ball, and mithral defenders…yay…

Once you make your way past these two collapsible areas of the floor, the hall will cycle around to a door.  This door is the entrance way to the creation, forge, or production area  (however you want to term it).  The room is shaped like a large rectangle with two levels, essentially.  On the ground level, there will be a number of fenced in cages, each housing a newly created warforged.  There will also be some stacked crates along the walls also have some warforged casters and rangers prepared to attack.  Along the western wall, in the center of the wall actually, will be a ramp leading up to a catwalk, or the second level.  This ramp is trapped with the control box under the ramp itself.  As you make your way to the catwalk you will be assaulted by a number of warforged enemies.  You will also encounter a series of flame jet traps which can be turned off by pulling various levers scattered along the catcalk.  There is an optional objective to turn off all of these jets.  But be careful because use jet you turn off will free a warforged enemy from the cages below.  Once you make it around the catwalk, taking care of flame jets and warforged along the way, you will encounter one of the levers that controls the force field blocking the northern passage.  Be wary here, this particular lever is protected by two sets of traps.  The first set of traps are easy to find but the second is a little more difficult.  To deactivate the second set of traps, you need to hop onto the ledge that the lever is on and then snake around corner.  The second control box will be in this location.  Once you disable the second control box you will then be able to pull the lever without any repercussions.

Sludgge pearing inside the broken down door to the forge area of the foundry.

Inside the forge area ranging some warforged who are perched on some of the stacking crates.

The dangers of firewalls in the forge area.

The lightning guard golems here are only present on epic difficulties.

Fighting to get to the catwalk.

Looking for the trap box for the catwalk.

The flame vents look quite intimidating. 

One of the levers that turn off the jets.

The lever that is needed to unlock the northern passage is heavily trapped.

Don’t forget about this trap box on the power lever either!!

Once you have pulled the lever, you can make your way back to the floor level and deal with the warforged you just freed.  You will also notice another lever on the eastern wall. This lever raises a set of gates that block two tunnels.  These two tunnels lead to a shrine and to another set of tunnels that can take you to the other half of the Foundry, although at this point the bars are still up on this side.  Once this portion of the foundry is clear, you need to make your way back through the winding tunnel and across the pitfalls so that you can enter the western portion of the Foundry and activate the second switch.  Unlike the eastern portion of the Foundry, which is asked by taking a winding tunnel upward, the western portion of the Foundry is accessed by climbing a flight of ramps that are trapped throughout the climb with some large blade traps.  At the top of the ramp, you will enter a small hallway with another door.  This door leads to another rectangular shaped room.  This room is a storage and shipping area.  Like the eastern side, this room has two levels.  The second level consists of various alcoves that are directly above the storage alcoves on the bottom floor along wall.  Each of these alcoves, bottom and upper floors, are sealed with a force barrier. This room is crawling with warforged that you will to take care of.  Also, a short distance from the entry way to the room you will see the lever that raises the gates to those same tunnels from eastern room that leads to the shrine.

Sludgge on the ramp to the hallway to the western half of the foundry, this is heavily trapped as well.

Breaking down the door to the western half of the foundry.

The western half of the foundry is the shipping and storage facility.  You can also find the blood rage symbiont in this room, if you are lucky, from a breakable.

Fighting our way through more warforged to another catwalk.  Notice the barriers as well.

And the fighting continues on the top level along the catwalk.

Unlike the eastern half of the Foundry, the western half doesn’t have any traps but it does force you to fight in narrow and restricted hallways.  As you make your way to through this room you will come across a staircase that leads to the second level.  You will then make your way along a narrow catwalk tunnel that wraps around the room and eventually takes you to the second lever that needs to be pulled to open up the passage to the northern end of the Foundry.  However, when you pull this lever, the power that was being used to generate the force fields for each alcove is turned off letting out a number of warforged.  These alcoves also contained large crates, with may of them exploding when you approach producing even more warforged.  This room is much more straight forward than the eastern foundry room but is just as dangerous because of the tight fighting spaces.  As you make your way out of the western foundry room and back to the staircase, you will encounter another large blade trap that is only detectable after you pull the power lever and make your back towards the stair case.  It is actually just before the staircase.

Making my way to the next lever.

Finally coming across the second lever.

Now the northern passage to the foundry is open.  This passage is another tunnel that leads to another intersection.  It doesn’t matter which way you go when you reach this intersection because the tunnel at this point will form a small square.  You can go completely around the square to take out all of the enemies just to make sure everybody, and everything is accounted for.  When you reach the top of the “square” you will might detect a hidden door to the south.  This hidden door leads to another shrine that is also protected by two more traps.  This will be the last shrine you will have access too.  Opposite to the shrine, to the north, is a gate.  That gate is controlled by a lever and a little while after the lever is pulled it will reset and the gate will close.  Once everybody passes the gate, they can’t go back (unless you use a dimension door spell or something like that).  The room on the other side of this gate contains a number of rune wheels.  In the center of the room is a chest that is sealed by another set of gates controlled by the rune wheels.  The sequence to turn the rune wheels is based on the symbols that are on the pillars that are above the inside rune wheels as well as the symbol above the chest.  The first thing to note is the symbol above one of the inside rune wheels.  Then rotate the two outside wheels that are on either side of the inside rune to that symbol.  When you do this, the inside rune wheel will be unlocked.  This will then allow you to rotate the inside rune wheel to the symbol that is above the chest.  When all three inside rune wheels are set correctly, the gates protecting the chest will lift up allowing you to access the chest, that contains a key.  One thing to take note of, as soon as you enter this room, oozes will continue to spawn, including arcane oozes, until the gates are lifted.

The path to the north is now open and it is time to fight our way through it.

Expect some trouble soon.

These mithral defenders once guarded the next passage to the north blocked by the portcullis in the picture. 

The hidden shrine in the northern half of the foundry, protected by traps as well as a secret door.

The key that you pick up opens a locked door to north.  This particular locked door essentially holds the “final” fight.  Inside this room is the Master Control Unit (basically a powerful red named iron golem), a couple iron golems, and a few large adamantine defenders that need to be destroyed.  Once they are destroyed you can get access to another chest that contains a second key that unlocks a portcullis that is protecting yet another control switch.

Time to enter the rune wheel room.

More lightning guard golems in the rune wheel room.  These only appear on epic settings.

Time to activate the rune wheels.  Take note of the symbol above one of the inner wheels (here it is a capital H for the yellow wheel) and set the two outside rune wheels (one to each side of the yellow rune wheel) to that symbol to unlock the yellow rune wheel.  Then set the yellow rune wheel to the symbol above the chest and move onto the next inside rune wheel.

We can now reach the chest protected by the locked rune wheels.

Time to the battle the guardians in the master control room.

Need to take down the master control unit.

The battle ensues in the doorway to the master control unit.

Now, up to this point, Haywire Foundry has been pretty straight forward.  This is where it starts to become the mad dash against the clock.  As you loot the chest, you get a dungeon master narration that is mimicking Haywire telling you to listen up and that when you pull that particular lever the self destruct mechanism of the Foundry will be activated.  When you pull the lever, you will have a few minutes to make your way through the rest of the foundry and to get to Haywire before you get blown up.  It is best to buff yourself up with jump, haste, rage, fire resist, fire protection, acid resistance, acid protection, neutralize poison, greater heroism, and mass aid if you can before you pull the lever.  When you pull the lever, a section of the way on the eastern side of the room will open up exposing a broken stairway.  You need to make your way through this broken stairway and up the shaft jumping out of the lava covered shaft floor.  When you get to the top of the shaft, you will come across another winding and up sloping pathway.  This pathway is lined with a few acid and poison traps as well as number of mithral defenders.

The chest that was protected by the master control unit and his guardians.

The mad dash now begins.

Hurrying up the path to Haywire.

One of the optional objectives in this quest is to destroy ten of those mithral defenders.  It is best to pull a number of them to a safer place along the pathway (outside of the traps) and to take them out as quickly as possible.  It is good to do this to keep dungeon alert down.  You can completely ignore them but it can get quite messy if you don’t take any of them out.  Eventually you will hit a portion of the hallway that is split down the middle that leads to a large cavern.  When you get to the cavern, it is best to hang off to the side of the room (as you enter the room hang a left and hug that wall).  This is because once you enter this room the blast doors will close and the explosion from the foundry will generate a huge flash of fire that will shoot right down the center of the cavern.  Keep in mind too, that when you enter this room, fire elementals will spawn.  Just make sure to battle them on the side of the room.  Eventually the draw bridge in this room will drop down allowing you to continue on to Haywire.  The quest completes once you talk to Haywire and pick up the Lightning Rod.

The cavern where the backlash of the foundry explosion will occur.  Oh, and don’t forget the fire elementals.

Speaking of fire elementals…

One thing I haven’t really mentioned yet are the types of enemy you will encounter in this quest.  This quest is dominated by various types of warforged and their construct cousins.  The various warforged include engineers, surveyors, troubleshooters, and drones.  The engineers and surveyors are especially troublesome as they are the arcane and divine casters of the group, respectively.  The surveyors are rangers and really like to cast barksin on themselves and the drones are fighters.  Besides the warforged, you have the elementals in the beginning and end of the quest, various forms of defenders (metal dogs), iron golems, oozes, and in epic settings you have the lightning guard constructs.

The most striking thing about Haywire Foundry is that race against the clock at the end.  I remember when I first did this quest had some many panicky situations when I tried to jump out of the initial shaft that starts the “mad dash.”  However, as long as at least one party member reaches Haywire and picks up the Lightning Rod then you will get the quest completion, even if you are a permanent fixture Haywire’s exploded Foundry.  Overall, it is a fun quest, that can be a little hair raising, especially at the end.  Give it a try if you have never completed Haywire Foundry before.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Haywire Foundry!!

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Trying to Figure Out Haywire

As our characters make their way through their adventuring and courageous careers they will come across so other intriguing adventuring parties.  One of these parties includes Marek Malcanus’ disbanded party known as the Laughing Knives.  The Laughing Knives were hired to test the weaknesses of the Vault of Night and in so doing the group’s failure to get past the security of the vault broke them and they disbanded.  Marek will ask for your assistance in pulling the party back together and one of these party members includes an interesting character named Haywire.

Haywire has an exceptional mind and is an extremely clever artificer.  He enjoys tinkering and working on constructs and in fact you will need to rescue him in two different quests (Haywire Foundry and Made to Order) because his tinkering with constructs has led him into some sticky situations.  However, the first instance wasn’t really his fault.  Especially since those from the Inspired Quarter have penetrated his foundry and sabotaged his constructs with mind altering parasites.  The second ordeal though, well he should have known better that trying to reanimate a Marut.

Haywire at the end of Haywire Foundry.

I always wondered what it would be like to have Haywire as a party member.  Marek comments on how Haywire had saved the Laughing Knives a number of times with his inventive gadets illustrating Haywire’s resourcefulness.  However, I have to wonder about the stress Haywire puts himself under.  My concern comes from the fact that Haywire has replaced his flesh and blood arm with a construct arm at the end of Made to Order.  Not to mention his obsessiveness with being “discovered.”  This last note can be illustrated when the Marut is destroyed in Made to Order and Haywire opens up his security measures to let you into his safety room.  I don’t think you will even see so many different doors activate and unlock.  Talk about being a little paranoid…

Being a dwarf, there is no doubt that Haywire would be a faithful and loyal companion  I don’t know of too many dwarves who would turn their backs on a trusted party member but it might take some time to garner that trust.  Haywire is also pretty stout.  I mean dang, he literally had his arm removed and replaced.  That had to take quite a bit of constitution to maintain that, even if it was magically enhanced.

Haywire would be an interesting party member.

As a party member, I bet you Haywire would be fun and complicated.  I think he would be good and capable of getting the party out of a tough spot but I also think he would be one of the reasons why a party got into a tough spot to begin with.  His ability to tinker and develop new gadgets would be extremely useful, especially with setting up traps and ambushes.  I wonder how he would be as a hireling :).

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Haywire Foundry.

Last Weekend of February, Quest Runs February 26th to February 28th

My quest runs during the last weekend of February started out to be quite productive but as the weekend carried out I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked.  Kicking things off on Friday morning, February 26th I took Garrrin (Level 23 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild) into the majestic King’s Forest for my morning slayer run.  As Garrrin made his presence known to the denizens of the King’s Forest he picked up another 24 slayers (including a couple of dire bears), picked up an explorer point (Eliminster’s 4th message), and completed the rare encounters for freeing the purple dragon knight from his slaver collar (using brute strength to snap it) and money or life (freeing the villager from the bandits).  When I came back from work, I then logged on with Hamllin (Level 18 Fighter) and I took him into the challenge Lava Caves: Time is Money.  Hamllin completed the objectives for collecting 100 crystals, defeating the fire giant warlock, and sending kobolds through the teleporter 200 times.  Hamllin picked up 156 crystallized magma shards as a reward and gained enough experience to move up to level 18.

Garrrin bringing down the drow in the King’s Forest.

Hamllin making his way through Time is Money.

On Friday night, it was Erdrique’s (Level 26 Rogue/Grand Master of Flowers) turn to get in on the action.  Erdrique made his way through the Underdark to get to the portal to Sschindylryn.  While making his way to the portal to Sschindylryn, Erdrique freed three slayers from their collars, slayed the drider rogue, Hastrunn, and picked up another 22 slayers which granted up past the 200 total slayer mark for the Underdark.  In Sschindylryn, I defeated at least one blademaster, found missives one, five, and 11, defeated 16 drow (hitting the 10 slayer mark), defeated seven children of Lolth, and defeated Soldirn Dun’robar.  I then entered the quest The House of Rusted Blades on epic hard.  Making my way through the quest, I completed the optional objective for applying the corrosive liquor on all of the weapon racks.  From the end chest, I picked up the Duergar Waraxe of the Weapon Master and picked up 20 Commendations of Valor for a quest reward.  I then headed back into Sschindylryn to make my way to the next quest, The House of Broken Chains.  During my second romp through Sschindylryn, I picked up another 45 drow slayers and 5 more children of Lolth slayers (giving me credit for reaching 25 and 50 drow slayer marks and 10 chldren of Lolth slayer marks).  I also found missives 2, 7, and 15 and defeated the rare encoutners Soldirn Dun’robar and Tras’ekhan.  In the House of Broken Chains, I completed the optional objectives from freeing 5, 10, and the rest of slaves (except for those at the end fight).  I was awarded a Commendation: War Wizard from the end chest and picked up another 21 Commendations of Valor.  I called it a night after that run.

Erdrique making his way through the Underdark to find the portal to Sschindylryn.

Taking a look at Sschindylryn from a distance.

Erdrique coming upon the House of Broken Chains.

Freeing the slaves in the House of Broken Chains.

On Saturday, I took Erdrique back into Sschindylryn to tackle the next quest, The House of Death Undone.  While making my way through Sschindylryn I picked up another 17 drow slayers and another six children of Lolth slayers.  The House of Death Undone was an interesting run for Erdrique.  I entered the quest on epic hard.  I took out six astral panthers, at least 10 blademasters, one priestess of Lolth, and four guardian panthers.  I also completed the optional objectives for defeating Silan Szind, destroying up to 36 undead, and destroying all of the necromantic cauldrons.  I also had the unfortunate situation of blowing up my own chest in one of the cauldron rooms as well.  Erdrique also picked up 16 mysterious remnants, a Commendation: Clerics of Amaunter, a Commendation: War Wizard, and 21 Commendations of Valor as a quest reward.  That was the only quest run I was able to complete on Saturday as I worked on some character maintenance as well.

Making our way to the quest House of Death Undone.

Time to start the quest the House of Death Undone.

To close the weekend out, I logged on with Sludgge (Level 21 Rogue/Shadowdancer) and I took him into Haywire Foundry on epic normal.  While making his way through VON 4, Sludgge picked up two monster manual deeds, Warforged Exteminator I (423 experience) and Fire Elemental Exterminator (1,130 experience).  He also collected another 32 Token Fragments of the Twelve,  He completed the optional objectives for defeating the elementals in the beginning of the quest, defeating RC2 and RC1, turning off the flame vents in the forge room, and defeating 10 mithral defenders on the mad dash out of the quest.  As a quest reward, Sludgge picked up 11 Commendations of Valor.  Once I made it out of the quest I called it a night.

Sluddge starting his exploration of Haywire Foundry.

As I mentioned earlier, the questing over the weekend started out to be extremely productive.  I did run into some maintenance issues of the weekend though that kept me from making it an extremely productive weekend.  My quest runs were dominated with epic questing though, which is typically unusual for me.  Either way, it was still a fun weekend.  I hope everybody else had a great weekend as well!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Underdark!!

Gathering Some Epic Quests, Quest Runs January 29th to January 31st

I kicked off the weekend by taking Sludgge (Level 22 Rogue/Shadowdancer) into the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic).  Sludgge is working on gathering his 1,500 Stormheart Slayers.  During this quick morning session, he picked up 63 Stormheart slayers, 2 Stormeye slayers, and 1 Stormfist slayer.  He currently stands at 1,295 Stormheart slayers.  During this run he picked up one Ancient Dragon Relic from defeating Lord Cirrus.  In the afternoon, I took Hamllin (Level 17 Fighter) into the challenge, Lava Caves: Colossal Crystal.  Hamllin completed the collecting of one progenitor crystal and the clearing out of the giant arena.  When the challenge was completed, he was awarded 284 Jade Scorpions.  That was the only afternoon run I was able to complete.  On Friday night, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 25 Rogue/Legendary Dreadnaught).  After checking in with the fellow Crypt Crawlers, I then headed off for the Red Fens to complete Into the Deep on epic hard.  I was expecting on having some trouble with crowd control in here and basically getting overwhelmed but that turned out not to be a problem at all.  While I was making my way through quest, Erdrique picked up a Water Elemental Hunter monster manual deed and picked up over 4,500 experience for it.  He also gathered a Scroll of the Greatclub of the Scrag.  I completed the optionals for reducing the loyalists forces (one times), the elimination of the scrag slaves, and defeated the Hezerou in the underwater pit.  In the end chest I gathered a Shard of the Raven’s Sight.  All told, I also picked up another 46 Fragments of the Token of the Twelve.

Sludgge collecting Stormheart slayers in the Gianthold.

Hamllin clearing the path of drow for the kobolds.

Erdrique battling the sahaugin in Into the Deep.

After making way through the capstone of the Red Fens, I then started on the Vault of Night chain on epic hard.  For this set of runs, I was joined by Friedrice and we headed off to do the Tharashk Arena on epic hard.  Again, I was expecting on having some issues with being over whelmed during the arena fight.  However, that didn’t materialize either.  Once we entered the arena we headed straight off for a set of gates and as soon as they opened up we rushed in and took out the enemy combatants.  As we made our way to the arena, through the arena fight, and to complete the quest we completed the objectives for defeating Angog, Durge’s contact (Myr’dril), took out the drunken ogres, killed the troll enforcers, defeated Smashjaw, and defeated Grogan.  The only thing of note that I picked up was 54 Fragments of the Token of the Twelve.  After we made it through the Tharashk Arena, we then headed to The Prisoner on epic hard.  The Prisoner was easier to make it through than the Tharashk Arena.  I picked up another monster manual deed while we were questing through The Prisoner, achieving quori exterminator I.  I also picked up a medium Eberron dragonshard fragment from a collectible, received a scroll for Stonemeld Plate, and picked up 46 Fragments of the Token of the Twelve.  We also completed the optionals for killing the arcane oozes, Ingstoldt, his pests, and the gargoyle guardians.  We both called it a night after that run through.

Erdrique and Friedrice battling in the Tharashk Arena.

Erdrique making his way through the maze in the Prisoner.

On Saturday, I did some Risia Ice Game jumping with Kolll (Level 22 Ranger/Shiradi Champion), who happens to be my default jumper, and picked up a couple purple coins.  Later that night, I logged back on with Erdrique and I took him into The Jungles of Khyber on epic hard.  The Jungle of Khyber is known for the large number of optional objectives it contains.  During this run, I completed the optional objectives for defeating Drinto Luridae, Blackheart Ambassador, Wumat Luridae, Chactar Luridae, and Huarn Luridae.  I also picked up  five mysterious remnants and 71 Fragments of the Token of the Twelve.  After that run, I headed over to Haywire Foundry and ran that one on epic hard as well.  While questing through Haywire Foundry I completed the optional objectives for defeating the elementals, RC-1, RC-2, disabling the flame jets, and defeating 10 mithral defenders while escaping.  I also picked up a scroll for the Cloak of the Silver concord, 5 mysterious remnants, and 60 Fragments of the Token of the Twelve.  Neither quest caused me any issues on epic hard.  After running through Haywire Foundry, I called it a night.

Kolll preparing to participate in the Risia Ice Games.

Erdrique battling the drow in the Jungles of Khyber.

Unfortunately I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked to on Sunday.  However, I did I get another opportunity to dual box :).  I was originally scheduled to play Kanndar (Level 13 Paladin).  So I also logged on with Stoorage (Level 14 Fighter) from my premium account and paired them up and took them out into Sorrowdusk Isle.  Kanndar is currently working on that explorer area and the Cult of the Six story arc.  I took them both through lower Sorrowdusk Isle and into upper Sorrowdusk Isle and ran the The Temple Outpost: Libram of the Six on elite.  While making our way through the explorer area, I cam across Teargon and Furley and collected 56 slayers for Kanndar.

Kanndar looking into the wild jungles of Sorrowdusk Isle.

Taking on the slimes in the Temple Outpost.

So those were my runs and activities over the weekend.  I actually gathered enough experience with Erdrique to take level 26 but haven’t done it quite yet.  I might go ahead and level him up but I was originally thinking of keeping that level “banked.”  Although, I don’t believe it really matters.  I still have quite a ways until I hit level 30.  Overall though, it was a good and fun weekend.  I hope everybody else had a great weekend as well!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in DDO!!

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.

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Rimuldar watching the bears attacking each other.

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Hamllin doing a dance with the Thirsty One.

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

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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.

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

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Erdrique making his way through Litany of the Dead.

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

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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.

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Cannock finishing up his slayers in the Cerulean Hills.

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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.

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Tuhnn hunting the scorrow in the Desert.

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Erdrique making his way through the quest Grim and Barret.

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

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Hamllin backing up the forces in Assault on Summerfield.

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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!!

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.

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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!!

A Light Weekend of Questing, Quest Runs August 15th to August 17th

This past weekend, my quest runs were relatively light.  For my typical morning slayer run, I logged on with my warforged favored soul, Harrgon (Level 9) and took him into the Tangleroot Explorer area.  Harrgon was finally able to come across his last rare encounter out there, Silkweave, and now only needs to finish up his slayer runs to be completed with the area.  Once I got back from work, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 16 Druid) for my mid-day questing and took him into the Devil’s Assault on hard.  I had a fun time experimenting in there with earthquake and a few other abilities and enjoyed taking down the final orthon boss.  Friday night I was back on with Erdrique and working on taking down Maldetto in the Cursed Crypt.  I had an interesting time in there and I wrote up those runs here.  By the time I took down Maldetto it was pretty late, so I called it a night.

Harrgon getting ready for some fun photo Harrgongettingreadyforsomefun_zps31e507fb.jpg
Harrgon getting ready to have some fun in Tangleroot Gorge.

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Erdrique having fun in the Devil’s Assault.

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Erdrique working again in the Cursed Crypt.

I didn’t log on Saturday night, as it was the third Saturday of the month and I’ve decided to spend that day with my wife so that we can watch our movies and TV shows that we have a plethora on our schedule to watch.  But I was back on Sunday with Wapoyei (Level 23 Cleric/Exalted Angel).  Wapoyei was working on the Vault of Night Series on Epic Normal, so I took him into Haywire’s Foundry.  I entered it on Epic Normal and brought with me a rogue hireling, my two owlbears, and my onyx panther.  Overall, the quest went relatively smoothly, although I did seem to be standing in a large number of firewalls through the quest, which bothered me.  But besides that, I had little difficulty in making my way through the quest.  However, by the time I completed the quest, it was time for me to head to bed.

Wapoyei fighting in VON 4 photo WapoyeifightinginVON4_zps8c01b155.jpg
Wapoyei and his mini-gang in VON 4.

So, the weekend was relatively light, primarily because I didn’t do any questing on Saturday and because I had to try the Cursed Crypt a couple times before completing it.  However, it was still a fun weekend and I hope everybody else had a good weekend as well.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!