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.

 

I’m thankful… for griefers November 28, 2013

Evennote

Yep, you read the post title right. I’m thankful for griefers. And for newbs, and for mistakes. Probably seem like strange things to appreciate, right?

But if nothing bad ever happens, how will we recognize good when it comes along?

Last night – well, early this morning – Even, Baz, Slvr, Bene and some truly awesome people managed to salvage elite Shroud and elite ToD despite some pretty overwhelming odds against them. The specifics will definitely be a topic for another post soon, but here’s a taste…

Our Shroud group had three griefers who did everything they possibly could to try and make us fail. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt for as long as I could, but by Phase 3 it was obvious that they were definitely out to sabotage us. So I asked the rest if they wanted to recall and reform without the griefers or press on, and the vote was unanimous – keep going and make the best of it. Things got ugly at times, but we persevered and got the completion.

Our ToD group, thankfully, had good people, but several first-timers and no Sully tank. Even’s dual-tanked Horoth and Sully before but not with newbies in the party, so the endfight was… interesting, LOL, and definitely longer than usual. But the real test came in the second part, with Nytherios and the shadows. One of the first-timers apparently had some item with an area of effect spell, because he got aggro from the shadows immediately and kept getting it back. Even, who was tanking shadows, ended up having to go up on the platform and intim everything, including Nyth, to give the rest of the party a chance to rez and heal.

How we made it through, I have no idea. At least once, Even was the only one left alive and was tanking both Nyth and shadows while trying to get Bene raised so he could start getting everyone else up. With both Nyth and the shadows on Even, most of the party couldn’t do anything more than pike so they wouldn’t draw shadow aggro, and Nyth’s health went down REALLY slowly… but it did go down, and when he finally dropped, for me it was an amazing feeling.

So I’m glad there are griefers to make me appreciate all the wonderful DDO players who pitch in to get the job done with teamwork. I’m glad there are newbs and gimps because helping someone learn helps ME learn and often ends up with new friends made. And I’m glad there are mistakes to overcome, because while it’s always nice to get a smooth completion, those aren’t the runs I remember. The ones that stick in my mind, the ones that make me feel like I’ve really accomplished something, are the ones like last night, where a bunch of non-elite players faced some pretty daunting circumstances and still found a way to win.

 

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.

 

Reflecting April 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — EvenNote @ 2:17 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Even

so many tasks, so little time

It’s nice to get some time to sit back and work on a blog post. The last couple of weeks have been pretty full of stuff both real-life and DDO – dentist visits, escaped cats, leveling Dissy and getting OurDDO going, for starters. So while I’ve got plenty of IDEAS for blog posts swimming ’round my head, I just haven’t had the time to actually do anything about them. It’s probably a bit late for the April Fools’ Day post I had planned, complete with screenshots of my new Invisible Stalker pet. And if it’s past due for April Fools, the remaining saga of March Madness is way late as well, but I WILL be finishing that. Soon. I hope. Maybe.

Anyway, my dental work is now complete – YAY! And I was rewarded with Reese’s peanut butter cups (maybe a silly choice for someone who just had a lot of major stuff done to her teeth, but TOTALLY worth it), nail polish, and the latest issue of “Math Puzzles and Logic Problems,” which was doubly cool because 1) I hadn’t seen it in ages and wasn’t even sure it was still around, and 2) This issue’s cover is CHARTREUSE!

With everything going on, besides not writing anything on my OWN blog, I’m way behind on pretty much everybody else’s too. I’ve tried to skim through here and there but mostly I’m feeling very out of the loop. I still need to send Baz the screenies I got of him in his new armor kit, and I’ve owed Keava an E-mail or two or three as well.

 

just call her sherman

Even

‘Cause she’s a tank. Based on something Samius commented on one of my older posts, I decided to see if Even could dual-tank Horoth and Sully at the same time. Yeah, yeah, I know, you don’t even need a tank for ToD if you’re superduperuber – well, Even is NOT uber in any way, shape or form. So what’s trifling to uber folks is rather a big deal to her… especially because not only did she tank them both successfully, holding aggro while taking very little damage, that run also marked her first official stab at tanking shadows. That’s always intimidated me mostly because I’ve seen some damn good parties wipe when just one or two shadows made it up onto the platform.

No worries, though; a shiny new GS cold stick, a stack of fire shield scrolls, a solid fog clicky, and Even cruised. From the start of the quest to the end, I don’t think she used more than maybe five or six Lay On Hands, and really didn’t need any additional healing even though one of the healers kept cures on her every time she got under a thousand HP – but hey, I’ll take a little overhealing over underhealing ANY day.

And speaking of healing, I got Jall for Baz’s 20th ToD, which was HIS first time tanking shadows – I was all ready to keep him healed up, but he never needed it at all. VERY nice work. :)

I did have to laugh the other night, though – I was on Dissy running the Web of Chaos chain with Vey (OK, Vey was pretty much dragging Dissy’s gimpy li’l butt through). Vey had LFMed to fill the last couple of spots. At one point Vey called me “Even.” No big deal; no matter which toon I’m on, most people who know me call me Even. But one guy goes, “Even? As in Evennote? The uber pally?” I thought at first he was being sarcastic or something, but turns out he was in the party when Even soloed Harry in elite Shroud. That may be her finest moment, but I still cracked up hearing someone call her “uber.”

 

ourDDO takes off

TiraeI might have neglected some other stuff, but AFAIK everyone who’s asked to be added to OurDDO is on there, and I think I got all but MAYBE one within 24 hours (and that wasn’t even the one who is apparently ticked that I didn’t get them sooner). I’m calling that a good start, but I’m definitely looking at ways to make it better. I’d like to spiffy it up and do a lot more customizing. The trouble is, free sites to consolidate feeds don’t give you a lot of options. It was hard just to find one that didn’t limit me to only three or five feeds.

There’s also a big difference in what you see depending on what browser you’re using. I mostly use Chrome, which has serious issues with feeds. Safari gives me a much nicer display with some options in a sidebar. If you’re having trouble viewing the feed, try searching for “RSS feed reader” along with your preferred browser name. Anyway, the options I’m mulling over are:

  • Pay to upgrade this WordPress account to give me more customization options (pro accounts have access to plug-ins that can handle RSS feeds elegantly, but I’m definitely not thrilled about the prospect of spending real money on this)
  • Make a new page and update everything manually, which would be a CRAPTON of work and make it impossible to get instant updates
  • Port it over to my existing site and host it there

Option 3 is kind of looking like the way to go, and if I do that, I’ll probably move the whole blog over as well, but I have to decide if I really want anybody and everybody from DDO having the address of my personal site. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’d be no big deal. It’s the 1% that scares me – my blog’s linked in my profile on all my toons; do I really want the guy standing next to me at the AH on my personal site? I s’pose I could just add a domain name, but there’s that real money thing again.

Point is, though, I AM going to find a way to make OurDDO easier to read and use. Also, if you’re not on the OurDDO feed and you want to be, let me know! I will NOT add anyone unless they specifically ask me to. Best way to reach me is via Gmail; my username is Evennote. And I’m making a serious effort to actually check mail there at least once a day instead of once every month or so like I WAS doing. :D

 

epic bard is epic

Dissy

… and I’m talking about Dissy, so when I say “epic,” I mean “epicly gimped.” LOL But she IS now level 20, so she’s epic in that respect even though she’s still squishy as hell. She surprises me at times… the Shavarath wilderness is a painful grind with her. At level 18 (I banked 19 until she capped), a lot of her CC didn’t work overly well because those darn Amrath mobs have such high saves. Not to mention, she thinks “DPS” stands for “Drow, Pretty, Singer.”

And yet she did OK in Cannith Manufactury slayers even before I reset her enhancements to get Music of Makers. As level 20 got close, I decided to try a couple of the quests in there, starting with Schemes just because it’s the one I know best. Aside from me somehow getting lost (gee, imagine that), the only close calls she had were when the panther started the beeeeeg fight by attacking the door you’re not supposed to attack. THAT got hectic, but she used her bow to take out the cannons one at a time until they finally stopped respawning. After that, the end fight was cake, just kinda long and tedious.

I didn’t try Power Play with her yet – don’t know why, I’ve never really had trouble with that quest but I’ve never liked it – but after signing off Friday night with less than 50K to go for level 20, I scrapped my usual Saturday errands, got up early and took her into Blown to Bits. She had a lot of fun with that and even did the extreme challenge optional, then headed back to Amrath and s-l-o-w-l-y got the last four explorers she was missing along with a few more slayers to get her to… 400, I think.

If she’d remembered to get her deathblock necklace out of the bank, she’d have capped after running Acute Delirium later Saturday (after a few hours spent on, of all things, real life). Darn beholders… she ended up about 350 XP short of cap; I noticed she still needed a few Ataraxia explorers, headed there, got Mineshaft IV and the Mining Cave, and then the rare wildman was nice enough to be home, which capped her with a whopping 12 XP to spare. My little bard has grown up!

 

on drama

Acanthia OK… I really, REALLY didn’t want to have to address this at all. And I appreciate the concern, I really do.   But here’s the thing. I’m already aware that there are things being said behind my back. No one else needs to tell me about it. And no, I’m not going to address the issue.

If someone else wants to start drama, I can’t control that. All I can control is my own involvement. IMHO, the best way to deal with stuff like that is not to deal with it at all so as not to add fuel to the fire. As Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” My mouth’s not the one that’s open, so to paraphrase LOLcats, “All ur dramaz are belong 2 U.”

I’ll settle for Acanthia winning DDO with her shiny new Easy Button. For 25 points, I just couldn’t resist the urge to give this a try. It sure beat hearing anything more from anyone else about drama.

Now if only I had a “You Win Blogging” button, something I could just push… have it go through all of my old posts imported from MyDDO and update the colors and fonts and all that stuff that I really want to do but just haven’t had the time or ambition.

 

 
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