Since DDO currently won’t load for me, figured I might as well blog, y’know?
So, I’ve had this idea for a series running around in my head (hey, I need SOMETHING to fill up the space in there). Actually it was originally going to be a single post, but I’ve been working sporadically on the draft for a few months now and it’s way, way, WAAAAAY too long. Ergo, a series dedicated to the idea that DDO should be fun for EVERYBODY, regardless of class, race, server, skill level, or anything else.
A while back, after running (one of the Eveningstar quests, forget which one) on epic elite, I got a tell from someone who’s read my blog but hadn’t run with me before that night. He told me he was surprised that I ran EEs because “you keep saying you’re not an elite player,” and he also mentioned that he’d seen my LFMs, which nearly always say something like “noob/gimp friendly, first-timers welcome.”
Well, I’m NOT an elite player, but I DO run epic elites. I rarely PuG them mostly because, if I’m running EEs, 99% of the time I’m in a full or nearly-full-and-able-to-shortman group. I PROBABLY would not use the “noob/gimp/first-timer” disclaimer if I were putting up an LFM for an EE quest… but then again, I might, because I believe five (or 11) solid toons shouldn’t fall apart just because one person might need to be carried a bit, as long as that person is trying their best.
One thing I’d never done before until recently was join an EE PuG made up entirely of people I didn’t know. But I was on Jall, kind of felt like running something but couldn’t decide what, and saw an LFM for EE End of the Road with two spots open. What the heck, I thought, and clicked it.
I can’t remember the makeup of the party, except that Jall was the only divine, there was an arti, and only one person was over 500 HP besides Jall (in fact, two of ‘em were under 400). The leader was already in the quest, and everybody else just kind of went in when they got there and took off. So we ended up with six people who were nowhere near each other at first. Then the leader said he’d never run the quest before, and a couple others said THEY hadn’t run it before either, and turned out NONE of us had run it on EE (well, Jall had it, but from a group she’d joined late that already had most of the stuff cleared by the time she got there, so it was an easy run to the end fight – I didn’t really count that).
Cringe-worthy? It definitely could have been. But then the arti started making jokes about his low HP and “crappy trappy” skills (his words, not mine, although he wasn’t able to disarm any of the traps), and somebody else started making puns out of everything anybody said, and we all got to laughing, and nobody seemed to care that with a group like this, we were probably facing a guaranteed wipe.
The leader was far ahead of everyone else and died once in the traps around the locked chest (which he didn’t know was locked), but must have gobbled a rez cake because he got himself back up before Jall could get to him. There were some close calls, but once the rest of the party figured out which blue dot was Jall’s, they stuck close for aura healing. I did ask them to stay with me for heals so I wouldn’t have to drink pots – ASKED them, not ORDERED them, which was probably why everyone was quite happy to do so.
The leader, not being close to us, decided his best chance for survival was to run through without fighting. He wasn’t a jerk about it at all; there was just a lot of space, including traps and mobs, between him and us, and he figured tearing through would give him the best chance. It did slow the rest of us down a bit while we stopped to fight, but it really wasn’t a huge deal, and it beat having to look for the leader’s soulstone along the way had he tried to make it back to us (staying put for him wasn’t much of an option as he had some stuff aggro’ed on him).
Remember, the leader had never run the quest before. So when he got to the end, he ran through everything and jumped down into the endfight room, not realizing it was, well, the endfight room. He didn’t last long and wasn’t able to make the jump back up to the shrine to rez himself, so I figured I’d just shrine once we cleared the outer area and then the rest of us would all jump in together and I’d rez him.
Except Razagnol, the boss demon, was pretty darn angry by then. So we clear the inside of the main enclosure and start running around the walkway to the shrine… and even though he’s down in the room below, he starts throwing us around. Over the fence, out into the wild. Of course no two of us ever seemed to land close to each other, and there were still some dire bears and spiders out there… but miraculously no one died.
It probably took us at least five or six tries to find a sweet spot on the walkway where ol’ Raz couldn’t toss us out. Shrining was out of the quest, but luckily Jall wasn’t down too far on mana; she’d thrown out a few BBs but had been using aura and bursts for heals. So one major pot brought her blue bar back pretty close to full. She buffed everybody up, and then on the count of three we all charged into the end room.
Jall got the party leader up right away and we all TRIED to stick together – TRIED because Raz was still inclined to throw us over the fence. The upside to this was that, once tossed, nobody was taking damage out there because pretty much everything was dead. The downside was that it was really hard to stack DPs on Raz since Jall was getting thrown into the wild too often.
Don’t ask me how, but… once the leader was rezzed, there were no more deaths. Jall did drink one more pot towards the end from trying to spam DP, Implosion, Searing Light, and anything else she had on Raz, but everybody was great about making sure they were sticking close to her for aura and burst heals – well, when they weren’t flying through the air.
Nobody could have called us an epic group, or an elite group, or possibly even a GOOD group. I’m sure a lot of people would have ragequit just upon seeing our collective HP total (when Jall has 150 more HP than anyone else in the group, that’s not a good thing), or upon finding out that several people had never done the quest. Once the talking and joking and laughing started, though, that kind of stuff didn’t matter. Obviously I WANTED us to get the completion, but it would have been a great time if we hadn’t.
And oh yes – we DID get the completion. With just those two deaths the leader had. And the loot was crappy, but we even made jokes about that (of course, the chain rewards were better).
This is why I avoid LFMs that say things like, “Be uber/awesome/useful,” “Best destinies,” “KNOW IT,” “Have at least XXX HP,” “BYOH,” etc. Our gimpy little group proved you don’t need ANY of that to complete EE content. Oh, it helps, no denying that… but this run was FUN. DDO is supposed to be FUN. Not just fun for the egolitists, but fun for EVERYBODY.
And in other news… got up early to do some errands and then joined Comic and Mizz on a wild ride that included a trip through Haywire Foundry even though poor Yttsie is 4-5 levels below Comic’s Timp and Mizz’s, uh, Mizz and then, since Yttsie was power-leveled and got no XP, a happy jaunt through the Demon Sands, where, as Mizz pointed out, there are NO DEMONS. Real life called me away, but I left Yttsie logged in to pike slayers and came back to find that she’d picked up around 17K XP. So thanks, guys! :)
Also, if you saw this on Twitter, you’re not hallucinating; that doesn’t mean *I’m* on Twitter, just that I set WordPress up to automatically twit my blog entries. LOL