Even Now

Funz and failz in DDO

Fun for ALL IV: Stop. Think. Win. February 16, 2014

Seregeth

I’m a firm believer in the idea that a reasonably intelligent player on a gimped toon beats an idiot on an ubertwink 99.99% of the time.

Sere, my Shadar-Kai assassin rogue, definitely fits the “gimped” category. I really need to do some shopping and/or farming for her; at level 22, she’s still wearing mostly the stuff she came with. What few things she has that I’ve gotten her are still nothing to write home about – for example, I put her in a Parasitic Breastplate about five levels ago and still haven’t gotten her anything better. And she needs a +2 Con shrine to reach the 400-hit point mark.

So the other night, when Vey asked me if I had anyone 20-24 to run EE Carnival, the last toon I was thinking of was Sere. I told Vey I’d bring Chalei, and he said, “We could really use a trapper.”

Well, Vic’s a dandy trapper, IMHO, but she’s lvl 27. So I said, jokingly, “Great, I’ll get Sere and you can carry her stone from trap to trap.”

And Vey was all, “Bring her.” Which made me all, “OMG NOOOO, she’s gonna diiiieeeee!” But Vey kept being all, “BRING HER. She’s not gonna die. You’ll be fine.”

Oh, and did I mention we were short-manning without a healer? This had disaster written all over it.

Except it didn’t. Sere died a total of twice in all four quests combined, once when Crateos one-shotted her (which also took out one of our other party members). I can’t remember what her other death was; think it might have been a caster in Partycrashers. She needed a GH to find the traps a few times (and oops, she probably wouldn’t have if I’d remembered to swap in her search/spot item) but had no trouble disarming them.

And no… she did NOT pike. In fact, in three of the four quests, she finished second in the kill count, and definitely had enough kills in each of them to show that she was contributing.

Sere’s ability to be productive in epic elite content was definitely not the result of her build or gear. Nor was it any great skill on my part. I didn’t do anything that required a genius IQ or uber playing ability. But, I didn’t do anything *stupid* either.

Seregeth

I know Sere’s HP is low. I know she probably won’t survive pulling aggro. So I kept her in sneak mode most of the time, let the rest attack first and grab aggro, and only then did I move in. Pretty simple, really – but my gimpy toons have more than once carried the soulstones of better-built, better-geared characters played by people who rushed into a fight without thinking about the best way for them to approach it.

It helped that by the time we got to Big Top, we had a paladin who tossed a few Lay On Hands Sere’s way, and someone – think it was the bard – threw her a Cocoon from time to time. And it really helped that the rest of the party were smart, experienced players who were very good at keeping a gimpy undergeared rogue alive.

Sere was still about 20K short of level 22 when we finished the chain. A quick two-man EN Snitch with Vey almost did the trick – she was still 137 XP shy. Vey DDoored back to the start while Sere was still trying to figure out what she could trash to make inventory space for her shiny epic loot, and did one of the optionals to get her to 22.

I think a green steel HP item would be a good first step in un-gimping Sere. She flagged for Shroud a while back but hadn’t run it yet. Seemed like every time I put up an LFM, we filled without a healer so I ended up switching to Jall. (My groups are always gimp/first-timer friendly, so running without hjealz is not a great idea.) Last night she finally got her chance, and again managed to get a decent number of kills without dying herself (well, y’know, except for that one part after Phase 4). People were great about passing her shards of power, and she ended up with one regular, one great and one supreme. Looks like I’ll be doing some GS crafting tomorrow!

Earlier last night, Chalei ran her first ToD and had a great time once she managed to get and stay online. In the first run, we’d just dropped down to the doggie doors when I got a blue screen of death. Once I got the computer back up and running, it took me several tries before I could get all the way on DDO without crashing, and it was a nice surprise to find that someone had grabbed Chalei’s soulstone from the penalty box and carried it along so I wouldn’t be stuck there when I got back. The party was in Phase 2 by the time I got back on, and I crashed again about 10 seconds after I got rezzed, so I was kinda glad to get back on yet again and find out that there’d been a mishap with the shadows and they wiped, because that meant another chance for Chalei.

Second run went much smoother, except that Chalei was kinda forced to pike against Nyth. Any time she hit him with anything, he immediately aggroed *hard* on her. So she ended up having to stand off to one side blocking; I had some cure scrolls at the ready figuring that maybe she could at least be useful that way, but our two hjealers did a great job keeping everyone’s red bars up.

 

Chasing immortality November 25, 2013

Evennote

 

A few nights ago, Vey paid Even one of the nicest compliments she’s ever gotten – “Even’s pretty much impervious.”

 

“Impervious” is exactly what Even is built to be, as much as possible. I like to think of her as a Timex watch – “takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” She doesn’t kill a lot of stuff; after all, she thinks DPS stands for, “Duh, pally slow.” But she doesn’t GET killed by a lot of stuff, either.

 

Sometimes she can’t even seem to get killed when she WANTS to. Last night she teamed up with Vey, Suz and one of their friends (and later Baz as well) for some EE Gianthold questing. Once the end boss in Feast or Famine was down, everybody ran into the tent to loot. Even had a LOT of aggro (well, that’s her job), so she let the others get clear before heading in, and then found herself crowd-surfing on top of a horde of angry orcs. She couldn’t get back out of the tent to get to the DDoor Vey had put up, so he told her to just let them kill her and then release.

 

Well, I was fine with that. But Even apparently had other ideas. Her HP would drop into the teens or even single digits… and suddenly jump back up by a few hundred. I checked her combat log and found that Reactive Heal was responsible – except Reactive Heal is an enhancement in the cleric Radiant Servant tree. We didn’t have any clerics, nor any Favored Souls, or anyone with splashes in either class. Even was the closest thing to a divine in the party. So after a bit of discussion, we surmised that maybe it was a glitch where the buff stayed with you even after it should have expired. (I remember hearing about a buff that did that, just can’t remember which one.)

 

I mostly forgot about it until a few hours later when I decided, for reasons I don’t even know, that I wanted to try a solo ToD run on Even. She’s attempted it before, but can’t get past Nytherios – not because he kills her, but because the shadows heal him faster than she can damage him. But the last time she tried, she didn’t have Celestia or a Shamanic Fetish or con-op goggles.

 

Bold, who was in the middle of his own solo attempt in EE Tracker’s Trap (and he succeeded!), offered me a ship invite but no one was on his boat at the time. Luckily for me, Sady’s party had just finished a dungeon, although Meli beat her to the shipvite button.

 

A nicely buffed Even marched out to Amrath. The Judge/Jailer fight was a bit tedious – stand and swing, stand and swing, stand and swing, get thrown across the room, stand and swing, drink a curse pot, repeat ad  nauseum. But their red bars went down a lot faster than on Even’s previous two attempts, and she was taking a LOT less damage. Last time I had to carefully meter her Lay On Hands to make them last and went through a fair number of pots (well, by Even’s standards) keeping her mana up for Cocoon, Avenging Light, and replenishing her buffs. This time she used NO pots and was never down more than two Lay On Hands.

 

So I was feeling cautiously optimistic as Even uttered the disconcerting passphrase, “Eberron burns,” and stepped into Nytherios’ chamber. I had Celestia in her main hand and her green steel cold stick in the off one, Energy Sheath twisted in from Draconic Incarnation, and a stack of fire shield scrolls in case she ran low on mana.

 

Well… it didn’t start off on a very promising note. Just like before, for every little dent she’d put in Nyth’s red bar, the shadows would quickly heal him back to full. I was talking to Sady via tells, lamenting Even’s lack of sufficient DPS, and said that I figured I might as well just let them kill her instead of spending hours on a lost cause.

 

That should’ve been easy, right? Heaven knows my toons often find it discouragingly simple to get killed when they’re trying to stay alive. You’d think getting killed when you want to would be a piece of cake.

 

But Even’s HP would drop… I’d see her actually fall to the ground… and suddenly she’d be back up with a few hundred HP. I was pretty darn puzzled. Not complaining, mind you. Just puzzled. So I stopped Cocooning and started looking through her gear, feats, EDs and whatnot, trying to figure out what was going on.

 

Turns out that one of the core abilities in the Sacred Defender enhancement tree is a nifty little thing called Eternal Defender. Not sure who came up with that name, but they sure got it right…

 

While Eternal Defender is active, if you drop below 0 hit points but are not killed, two uses of Turn Undead are immediately expended and you receive a reactive heal for 250 points of Positive Energy healing.

 

I’m not sure it’s working quite as intended; I didn’t notice Even’s turns going down, but her smites, which should regen once per 90 seconds, hit zero and never came back. It was amazing to watch – I really wish I’d gotten video. (Maybe next time!) Over and over again, Even’s HP would drop below 0 and suddenly, without me doing anything at all, she’d have 500 HP and be back up swinging.

 

And miraculously, maybe from continuing to spam Cleave and Great Cleave and Sunder and Avenging Light (woulda been nice to have had those smites for DPS too, but can’t complain with the unexpected healing she got instead)… Nyth’s health started to drop. V-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, but just a little bit faster than the shadows were healing him. All I really had to do was make sure she either had Energy Sheath or Fire Shield active so the cold spells hit her for small amounts; that way she’d drop below 0 HP but wouldn’t be killed, giving Eternal Defender a chance to kick in and save her.

 

Except it was REALLY boring sitting there just watching her swing away. This went on for probably a good half hour or so; meanwhile I was talking to Sady and working on the last little bit I needed for my NaNoWriMo project this year (which paid off, as I’m now at 50,012 words for my third straight win)… and I forgot to pay attention to the timer on her Energy Sheath.

 

Oops. She was down to about 25 or 30 HP and I was thinking her Eternal Defender was going to kick in at any second – but then she was dead, hit by a shadow that did 73 cold damage instead of the 10-15 they’d been doing.

 

But don’t get too cocky, Nyth. I have a feeling Even will be back for you tomorrow night.

 

Have you hugged a paladin today? October 1, 2013

Evennote

Dear Turbine,
I would like to suggest that the first week in October be hereafter
officially designated as “Paladin Appreciation Week.”
Love, Even <3

 

Sometimes Even’s total lack of DPS makes me forget about all the amazing things she CAN do. Luckily for her, a pair of posts by Geoff Hanna and Adiurd reminded me that a paladin tank can be incredibly fun to play.

 

It’s easy to forget all the great things about paladins when you see a monk or barb doing quadruple-digit damage, or when you see all the paladin hate in forum posts and the advice channel. Want to get flamed? Just ask for advice on a paladin build – it’s a guaranteed 5000% troll bonus to threat.

 

Even's BoB XP report

XP report – click for full size.

Seeing two people whose opinions I respect and admire speaking up publicly via blog in favor of paladins made me kinda proud of Even… so proud that I decided to try something I haven’t quite managed with Acanthia yet. I wanted to solo an epic elite. REALLY solo – no hirelings, no summons – and REALLY epic elite. Not doing Impossible Demands or Rusted Blades the “easy” way on EE. Even squishy rogue Vic can do that. One fight isn’t EE in my book. So nothing that involved invis-ing and running to the end for one fight either. I didn’t want to solo an EE so I could say to other people, “Look, I soloed an EE.” I wanted to solo an EE so I could say to MYSELF, “Hey, I soloed an EE!”

 

Acanthia’s come very, VERY close. In fact, a few hours before Even’s attempt, Acanthia made it all the way to just outside the end fight in Bargain of Blood before she got neg leveled to death (note to self: next time keep an eye on her buff bar so you know when to drink another DW pot). I chose BoB for Even as well; Snitch seemed an obvious choice, but I found out the hard way that the seer in the first fight heals herself faster than Even can damage her, and also is annoyingly good at hitting Even with Greater Command.

 

Was it pretty? Oh HELL no! It seemed to take Even forever to beat down each mob. On the plus side, they didn’t seem to be able to do much damage to HER either. Throughout the entire quest, I think she dropped below 600 HP – my “Uh-oh, it’s Lay on Hands time” danger signal – maybe half a dozen times. Rejuvenation Cocoon was mostly enough to keep her red bar at a healthy level, although she did go through all seven of her seven greater mnemonic pots and two majors that she really just carries to reimburse healers. It’s amazing how fast that 10 SP from Cocoon adds up when you’re using it as your main source of heals – and when you have less than 450 SP to start with. Of course, she also had to refresh her buffs a few times, and – since I forgot to twist in something more useful before I got into the quest – she used Energy Sheath from Draconic Incarnation quite a bit when there were casters around.

 

Evennote

 

Still, I don’t think I really believed she was going to do it until I realized that she had the General Manager down to about 10%. His red bar dropped incredibly slowly; for a good two or three minutes, when she had him at about 75%, I was starting to wonder if he was managing to heal himself somehow, because his health didn’t seem to budge at ALL.  Once he was finally down, the Manager was a much easier fight. It took a while to get him pinned in a corner so he wasn’t jumping all over, but after that it was pretty much auto-attack, sit back, and hit Cocoon every so often.

 

So hug a paladin today! They’re amazingly fun, and don’t forget to thank them for keeping the aggro off YOU.

 

Fun for ALL, Part I – Gimp is as gimp does September 1, 2013

Jalliria

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

 

Fun, friends and fatalities April 19, 2013

Acanthia

Oh, I do love me a challenge!

Lately Keava and Slvr and I have been teaming up to run epic elites in the newer content. We’re usually joined by one or two of Keava’s guildies/friends, and sometimes PuG any remaining spots.

Having cruised pretty easily through the Eveningstar and Sschindylryn chains, last night we set our sights on Demonweb after a quick cruise through the Druid’s Deep chain for commendations. Two of Keava’s friends joined us, along with a great ranger who’d run the Sschindy chain with us a few nights back.

We figured we’d do the quests in whatever order we found them, given the randomness of the web paths. I was pretty happy when we found Deal and the Demon (“Ah,” Ymris says. “You have come to honor our bargain. Good.” – yes, I DO always have to throw that in there. LOL) and Trial by Fury first, since I’m not overly fond of either of those – particularly Trial by Fury, because I always get lost and usually end up falling back to the start several times.

But we handled those quite nicely, maybe a few tense moments here and there, nothing we couldn’t get past, though. Keava’s healer friend had to drop, but we whined loud enough in the Adepts channel to snag First’s attention. We only had Reclaiming the Rift left to go, which made me happy – hey, Acanthia solos that easily on EH. How bad could EE be?

Well, you know what they say about “Ask a stupid question.” And you probably know that the answer is, “Very bad. Very bad indeed.” To say that the end fight was brutal would be doing a grave disservice to the word “brutal.”

Weird thing, though – well, probably weird to anyone who wasn’t part of the group. We were laughing our arses off the whole time. First warned us that he “might be drinking a lot of alcohol” on the way there. I don’t know if he really was or not; you couldn’t tell from his healing, which was excellent (then again, if you’ve run with First, you probably know that he’s a better healer drunk than most so-called “elite” healers are sober). How he managed to keep us all going with only one shrine in the whole quest is beyond me.

Nobody gave up. It could’ve easily been a wipe – I think there was at least one point when all of us were dead (good thing the ONE shrine in the game is right there) – but we laughed and hung in there even though by the end we were mostly playing naked because all our gear was broken.

For once I was glad to be a packrat, because everything Acanthia was originally wearing was completely broken except her helm and gloves, and they were down to a sliver of blue. I kept getting messages that my backpack was overflowing from all the broken gear now taking up inventory space, but thanks to my hoarding tendencies I had other stuff to swap in. The downside was that I didn’t have enough inventory space to take off her outfit at the end so she could be nekkid in our celebratory “YAY, we did it!” screenshot.

I did manage to clear one inventory space, though… and for the best possible reason. I’d been hoping to pull an Embrace of the Spider Queen for Jall; I think that’ll be better for her than her Leaves of the Forest, and although she has the cleric commendations set armor, I’m really not overly impressed with it. I was disappointed to open the chest and not find an Embrace, but First DID pull one and no one else wanted it. I was quite happy to send him 25 major pots from Jall’s stash, and that Embrace totally made up for Acanthia’s 11K+ repair bill.

That’s the kind of night I love. Great friends, great fun, even some great loot for the icing on the cake – hard to improve on that!

 

 
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