Even Now

Funz and failz in DDO

Back where she belongs October 6, 2014

Evennote

I loved – seriously, loved – Even’s first life as a paladin.

Damage mitigation, self-healing, aggro getting and keeping… tanking was boatloads of fun. She was pretty good at it, IMHO, and she got plenty of requests for her tanking services.

There was just the little matter of her little DPS. In parties, it never mattered. As long as stuff was trying to kill Even and leaving everybody else alone, it was all good. But soloing could get tedious because it took her longer than most people to kill stuff. And I’m the kind of player who likes to kill everything rather than rushing through, which made questing solo on Even even longer.

It still wasn’t that big a deal until she started running into stuff that could self-heal – namely Nythirios, the boss at the end of the second phase of Tower of Despair. Solo-wise, it took her a couple of tries to figure out how to damage him faster than the shadows healed him, and even when she did, it wasn’t *much* faster.

I wasn’t looking to turn her into a lean, mean, DPS machine. I just wanted her damage output to be a little better. Ergo, she just spent 28 levels as a monk/rogue/fighter. And it was fun. Her DPS got pretty crazy, her trap skills up to EH were adequate (EE traps mostly just laughed at her attempts to find them, though), and her self-healing was usually adequate.

Still, she’s a paladin at heart. And as much as I enjoyed her monk life, I really missed the Even who I knew I could take into any quest, any difficulty, and be standing at the end.

So when I found out that paladins were getting some love in Update 23, I rejoiced. A lot. The day of the update, I took her out for one last monk spin, through the epic Orchard wilderness. And then she headed for Reincarnation Grove.

My plan was to do an epic TR immediately followed by a heroic TR into a Purple Dragon Knight, and then use a +1 lesser heart of wood to swap out the first fighter level and go pure paladin. It almost went off without a hitch.

The eTR went just as planned (I went martial for her PL). The heroic TR also went swimmingly. But it was late (or early, depending on your point of view), I was tired, and I just wanted to get the reincarnating over with and get some sleep. So after the heroic TR, rather than leveling her up to 15, I figured I’d just do the LR right away since I’d be leveling back up from that anyway.

So I opened up the lesser reincarnate dialog, dragged the heart into the box, and got a message that I couldn’t reincarnate because I was banking levels.

Oops, didn’t see that coming. Well, no biggie, I thought; I’ll just go to the paladin trainer and level up as fast as I can, then do the LR. So out of Reincarnation Grove, back through the Hall of Heroes to Eveningstar. Found the pally trainer and leveled up to 15 faster than I would have thought possible, simply by clicking the first available feats/enhancements/skill points/stat increases rather than picking and choosing – after all, it was all going to get wiped out when she LRed. Right?

Back to Reincarnation Grove, open the LR dialogue, and… wait, what? My lesser heart’s gone! Checked inventory, bank, mail, and buyback; even checked to see if it was still in the dialogue box. Nuttin’.

Filled out a bug report and a support ticket, the latter of which told me to contact ingame support. So I sent in an ingame ticket, and then realized that it would be hours before anybody was even in ingame support to look at it. Lucky for me I remembered @DDOUnlimited on Twitter. When I logged in the next day, everything was straightened out.

Thanks to the great customer service, Even’s now a level 15 Purple Dragon Knight pure paladin… and she feels nearly indestructible to me. I haven’t even geared her up yet; she’s wearing her greensteel con-op goggles, a heroic elite Jeweled Cloak, and her Voice, but everything else she’s got on right now is the default PDK gear.

I decided to take her for a spin through Vale just to see what the new and hopefully improved Even would be like… and WOW, am I happy! Her DPS is quite respectable; she was one- and two-shotting a lot of stuff. I wanted to try out her new shield attacks, but it was hard because she was killing stuff faster than I could click her hotbar.

Vey and Mas were doing heroic High Road and Storm Horns after that. I was a little nervous – after all, Even’s several levels under those – but figured what the heck, it was worth a try. And she came through just fine. Mobs died quickly, and Even wasn’t taking much damage at all. I deliberately let her get separated from Vey and Mas several times to make sure it wasn’t their DPS that was doing the trick (because both of them have some pretty serious damage output), and she still did fine. My favorite moment was when she leaped alone into a pack of six griffins, killed them all in rather rapid fashion, and emerged without even needing to throw a Cure Serious on herself.

She’s since done a wilderness fest – Sands, Gianthold, and Orchard – to get her maps cleared. Then tonight she and Vey duo’d the Attack on Stormreach chain on elite where, if I hadn’t managed to blunder her right into a bunch of mines in Undermine, she’d still not have a death for this life yet. (Sorry Even, my bad – I feel like I let her down!)

Even’s banking 16 but I’m going to keep her there for a while, I think; I want to milk as much XP as possible from the lower quests before leveling up. It’s hard, though – I can’t wait to get her back into epic levels and serious raiding again! She feels so solid to me right now, I’d almost like to try running a couple of the easier epics – BoB, Snitch – on her, just to see what would happen… if only she could get into them at level 15!

 

Growing up Flower Sniffer September 18, 2014

Flower Sniffers of Destiny

It’s probably been about three years now since, tired of the drama and stress from being successor and roster keeper in a huge guild, I accepted Slvr’s offer to put my semi-sekrit toon Zak in his then-one-person guild.

A few months after that, the rest of my toons followed. It was a great fit; Slvr and I have similar playtimes, similar playstyles, and similar taste in airship colors. I doubt either of us ever expected there’d be more than just us hanging out and dancing nekkid on the airship.

Well, we’re still the two who are most likely to be found cavorting sans attire atop our Stone of Change, but Shin and Comic each rolled up a Thelanis toon so we could have a Thelanis Night in addition to our weekly Cannith Night. I’m not sure if Keava joined next or if Baz moved an alt over (later followed by the rest of his toons) first. Then Sadie asked if she could put her alt account toons in our guild. And Seki, who’d run with us several times, showed up for our Friday group run a while back and took us up on our standing offer of a guild invite.

EIGHT people! Whoda thunk it? So after several weeks of getting people flagged for various stuff, I thought, hey, we should have a guild raid night – I bet we could shortman stuff.

Harahur and Even

It came down to a choice between Shroud and ToD, and we elected to go for Shroud because we didn’t have a proper shadow person in the guild and didn’t really want to PuG. Neither Sadie nor Baz made it, but other than one portal keeper showing up during Phase One, it was one awesomely smooth run. Even shortmanning, we managed to get all four chests in Phase Three, and there were NO deaths (well, y’know. Except that one part with the potential extra chest – wink wink, nudge nudge).

We followed that up with a five-man EH Devil Assault. Would’ve been a full party except Seki signed off because he had to get up early… in hindsight, we should’ve just told him to pike because Shin ended up having to go as well, so that’s what he did. Next time!

It was another smooth run, and again, no deaths. Definitely something I hope we do again soon – maybe this Friday again, we’ll see! I need to get Zak flagged and/or help Shin make a cold stick and teach him how to shadow tank so we can add ToD to our list.

Best part was definitely getting to do a guild-only raid, something I’m sure Slvr never envisioned when he made a guild for himself lo so many years ago. Next Shroud, though, nobody gets to leave until they ALL dance nekkid on the altar! *g*

And yes, the guild is called Flower Sniffers of Destiny. It used to be named after Slvr’s main, but when guild name changes became free, he renamed it – Flower Sniffers to reflect our preferred playstyle, and Destiny because that’s what our Cannith guild is called. Works for us!

 

Under the bridge August 11, 2014

Eveningstar bridge

I’ve been told that I’m too obsessed with the way some overly elitist people treat other players who they feel don’t measure up to their high standards.

Not surprisingly, the few people who’ve said that to me are some of the most overly elitist players I’ve ever come across. Yes, equality for all in DDO is a soapbox I’m happy to jump on. I’ve seen a number of my friends leave the game over the treatment they received from people whose egos far outstrip their intelligence.

For what it’s worth, ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you I’m just as obsessed outside of DDO; I’m very committed to equality and safety for ALL. Race, religion, gender, orientation, nationality – bullies use all kinds of excuses to try to make other people feel bad about themselves. So if you think I’m overly obsessed, I think you’re the one with the problem.

Reading this post really opened my eyes to just how bad some Internet trolls are. In case you don’t want to read the whole thing (it’s a bit lengthy), the tl;dr version is that a woman discovers her husband has been bullying people online. When she confronts him, he admits it and refuses to stop, even when she tells him she’s leaving him. This guy chose to lose his wife – who happens to be pregnant with his child, btw – rather than stop bullying.

I’ve experienced bullying at many levels. I choose to say, “I’ve experienced bullying” rather than, “I’m a victim of bullying” because bullying is a reflection on the bully, not on his or her subject. I’m not defined by what any bully says or does to me. I’ve been bullied at one time or another by family members, schoolmates, co-workers, and yes, DDO players.

I’ve often heard that the Internet is a hospitable atmosphere for bullying because of the anonymity. Some people feel invulnerable when they have a computer screen to hide behind. But unlike some, I believe the Internet only facilitates bullying rather than causing it. Someone who bullies people, whether online or off, lacks basic human decency. Some people are just much better at hiding it in public, I guess; I’ve certainly never wanted to deliberately make someone else feel bad about him- or herself just because the Internet would make it easier for me to “get away” with it. Intentionally inflicting distress on another person is wrong. Period.

That’s no consolation to people who are being bullied. It’s hard to know the right thing to do. People who aren’t involved find it easy to say, “Oh, just ignore it.” In my experience, that really doesn’t help. Like, AT ALL. Most of the bullies I’ve seen in action are attention whores. The more you ignore them, the angrier they get. It’s as if they feel, “How DARE your world not revolve around me! I’ll show YOU!”

But even though ignoring a bully doesn’t help and may actually make the situation worse, it’s often still the best option. Trying to stand up to a bully on one’s own is largely futile; trying to reason with one, even more so. Bullies are very good at twisting your words around, completely ignoring the parts that make them look bad and taking the rest out of context. They’re also very good at lying about their behavior and denying what they’ve said, even to the point of deleting or heavily editing their posts.

In fact, bullies who are confronted about their behavior often paint THEMSELVES as the victims. “I didn’t mean anything by it! You’re too sensitive! Why are you picking on me?” It’s hard to call them on their bullying, because they have a million and one excuses designed to gain sympathy for themselves and make YOU look like the bad guy. Yes, they really do think that they should be allowed to say anything to anyone, no matter how hurtful, and that the only time there’s “bullying” is when someone tells them their behavior isn’t acceptable.

This kind of thing happens all too often in DDO. Players are ridiculed for having the “wrong” build or gear. They’re jumped on for honest mistakes.

Friday night, I led a Tower of Despair learning run. One of the guys who joined typed in party chat that he didn’t have sound so he couldn’t hear spoken instructions (which incidentally is something I’ve also seen players bullied over and even kicked from parties, because people are too lazy/conceited/whatever to take a few extra seconds and type stuff out if needed).

The LFM clearly stated that this was a relaxed pace learning run with my usual “gimps/first-timers welcome” clause, so I told the group, both over voice and in text chat, that I’d be taking a little extra time at the start of each phase to type out instructions. At this point, I got a tell from the guildmate of the guy with no sound. Turns out he’s deaf and had never run a ToD before, in no small part because no raid leader would ever take the time to type.

Well, we got him through it just fine, and he did very well. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I had when he opened the end chest and pulled his first-ever Shavarath trophies. Seriously. Best ToD EVER (which was also because Slvr was tanking shadows for the first time ever, AND doing it on his “gimpy” – his words, not mine – hagglebard, and he rocked it! And because Bonnie ran with us!).

I have friends who take grief because they don’t use mics, although they do have sound. I can only imagine the abuse this poor guy has had to deal with. But now, I have some new people on my friends list, and there’s one more player on Thelanis who now knows how to do ToD.

If you’re wondering what you can do to support people who are bullied, my suggestion is pretty much what we did Friday night. No, you don’t necessarily have to host ToD, but BE THERE for people who are bullied. Make an effort to include them and make them feel welcome without patronizing them.

Publicly befriending a bullied person, IMHO, does far more to stop bullying than trying to deal with the bully. It also takes the focus off the person being bullied without putting it directly on yourself, AND lets the bullied person know he or she is not alone.

If you’d like to learn more about how this works and why, I suggest taking a look at an excellent article about Feminista Jones’ #YouOKSis campaign. While Jones specifically aims to stop street harassment of black women, the principle behind her idea works for any kind of bullying behavior.

Because of the nature of bullies, I’m aware that I’m likely to get a lot of hate for this post. Bring it on. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m bullying the bullies, although I’m sure some of them will try to paint it that way. The difference is that what I’ve said is not intended to shame, humiliate, embarrass, or otherwise upset anyone, nor is it intended to put anyone down. I could sit here and tell people about bullies, but that’s just my opinion. To really see a bully for what he or she is, you have to see him or her in action. So if you’re hatin’, let it fly. Show us your true colors.

And since I haven’t done one in a while, I decided to throw in a filk. “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers works well here. After all, trolls live under bridges. But it’s also appropriate because RHCP vocalist Anthony Kiedis wrote it to express the pain he felt at being ostracized by his bandmates after he got himself off of drugs. His struggle to still be part of the group while staying “clean” parallels the difficulty many of us have in being part of guilds or parties made up of people who troll or bully others.

Under the Bridge
(With apologies to Anthony Kiedis and Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Sometimes I feel
Like I can’t find a party
Sometimes I feel
I can’t get a chance
To join in the fun and
Be part of the action
Lonely I wander
With just an owlbear

I solo some sagas
‘Cause the groups are elitist
I work on my hit points
And beef up my gear
Still some parties shun me
They tell me I’m too gimped
I say it’s no big deal
But that is a lie

Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Yeah, yeah, yeah

It’s hard to believe
That some players are so cruel
It’s hard to believe
How they hate all the rest
At least I have honor
Kindness and compassion
Lonely is nothing
Compared to hatred

Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?

Oh no, no no, yeah, yeah
Grow up, I say, yeah, yeah
For once

Under the bridge the trolls
Laugh and sneer and smirk
Under the bridge the trolls
Flame and act like jerks
Under the bridge the trolls
Show their nasty sides
Under the bridge the trolls
Make up all their lies

Yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh no, no, no
Yeah, yeah

Stop the hate

 

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.

 

Fun for ALL II: A tale of two Souls October 4, 2013

Meren and Winnie

Recent posts about paladin hate – and love – got me to thinking about why anyone would have a blanket hatred of a particular class when within any class, there’s potential to go in all sorts of different directions. And that got me to wondering why so many people like to diss the builds that others have without ever seeing them in action.

I was excited when I unlocked Favored Soul on Thelanis and quickly rolled up Merenwynne, an elf Soul with a monk splash. About the same time, I made a half-orc monk named Winnabette. To this day, they’re the only characters I’ve ever rerolled. Meren was too monk-ish for me – oh, I love my monks, but I wanted to play a Favored Soul, not another monk with better healing. And Winnie just never really got off the ground. (To be fair, she was originally created with the sole intention of soloing hard Pit at level 4. I just never got around to upgrading her starter gear.)

So both of them got rerolled into pure Favored Soul builds. For Winnie, I chose the Lord of Blades used by my friend Purp, who may be the best healer I’ve ever run with. I’d watched his FvS solo heal elite ToD in a group that had a healthy share of gimps (can’t remember who I was on; I may have been one of them!). This was back when the level cap was 20 and there were no such things as epic destinies. That ToD is what sticks in my mind, but many other runs with Purp convinced me that his build was quite possibly the best FvS I was ever going to see.

Plus, Purp was the one who helped me come up with the build for Jall’s second life. I told him what I was aiming for, and he’d run with me enough to know my playstyle. So even though he gave me a little good-natured ribbing because what I wanted for Jall wasn’t what he would have chosen, he made me a build tailored to what I wanted, and it’s worked out amazingly well.

I really had no idea exactly what I wanted to do with Meren except make some kind of heal-specced Soul with casting backup who wasn’t really a melee, but who could handle herself if the situation called for jumping in and bashing away with a nice scimi. While I had what amounted to step-by-step instructions from Purp on how to build Winnie, poor Meren got stuck with a build that I made up as I went along.

Logically, you’d think Winnie would be completely uber – she’s using the EXACT same build as Purp’s FvS, and if that ain’t uber, I don’t know what is. And logically, you’re probably wondering if I even kept playing Meren once I got her out of Korthos.

What’s surprising, at least to me, is that in my hands, Winnie is… so-so. I like her. I can definitely have fun with her. But she doesn’t “fit” me as well as the toons I’ve built myself, so I always feel a little off when I play her. It’s hard to put it into words. Maybe it’s that my playstyle and Purp’s are so different. Winnie’s build is designed for someone much more hardcore and zergy (the good zergy, just getting things done quickly and efficiently, rather than the bad zergy of running off and leaving everyone else behind). I tend to prefer having more of a specific role to play rather than trying to be everything. In Purp’s hand, Winnie’s build CAN be everything… but not in mine. With me at the controls, she’s a self-sufficient melee who can definitely do some healing, but nothing like what I’ve seen Purp do.

Meren, on the other hand… well, since I didn’t plan out her build at ALL, she’s kind of a hodgepodge. Every time I spent her action points or leveled her up, I looked at what was available and picked what sounded best at the time for the way I wanted to play.

“The way I wanted to play” – THAT is what made the difference. All the uber things I can’t do with Winnie’s uber build, I CAN do with Meren’s patchwork one… because that cobbled-together mess fits the way I like to play. Playing Meren is much more intuitive for me than playing Winnie. I don’t have to stop and think about what I’m doing; it just happens. So while I know I can’t utilize Winnie to her maximum potential, I’d bet Purp would have similar issues if he tried to play Meren.

I’ve managed to get Winnie to level 15 and mostly only run her with our little Tuesday night static group. I’d certainly never join a PuG of strangers as the sole healer with her. Meren, though, is level 23 and having a blast working through Unyielding Sentinel. She’s done very well soloing eNorm quests that are above her level, and I’m starting to try her in eHards as well with good results. I’m thrilled that she’s at nearly 800 HP and well over 3,000 SP considering I never made a really serious effort to beef up either one.

Meren even tanked Horoth in a short-manned ToD not too long ago – no, NOT because I think she’s all that. I KNOW she’s not a tank. But we didn’t have a tank or even a good tank candidate. Meren had the highest HP in the group, plus respectable AC, plus she was self-healing… it was a case of, “Either the FvS tanks or we call it off because it’s taking too long to fill.” That’s all. So please don’t think I’m one of those egolitists who want people to think they do everything better than anyone else.

If just one person reads this and goes away thinking, “Hmmm, next time I’ll see how someone does before I diss their build,” I’ll be happy.

 

Reflecting April 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — EvenNote @ 2:17 am
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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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