Well, OK, it’s more like a den of fire – the quest called In the Demon’s Den.
There are so many different quests to choose from, it’s only natural that most of us have our favorites… and we also have those quests that become our nemeses. For me, the first one was Haverdasher. I got through it just fine on normal, needed a few tries to get it on hard, and then elite kicked my butt. Those scorpions were PISSERS. I tried various hirelings and summoned creatures and got close a few times, but try as I might, I couldn’t solo it (although I did finally get through it with a very helpful party).
I really, really wanted to solo that quest on elite, though. It wasn’t the XP or the favor or the loot, just a matter of principle. So I kept trying. I think I was level 5 when – down to my last few HP with a pocket cleric lying dead at my feet – the last scorpion fell and I realized I’d done it.
And then came The Pit. My first experience with that came with two fellow guild members who were a level or two ahead of me. We saw “Level 7” and figured, come on, how bad could it be?
That’s one of the questions you should NEVER ask in DDO, because you’re likely to find out (another is, “How much worse could it get?”). The trogs and slimes were bad enough; the fire elementals in the furnace rooms were beyond our worst nightmares. I remember having to get myself positioned just right so that my arrows would hit the fire elemental but not allow its fireballs to hit me. I made a couple of stabs at trying to get up on the pipes in the furnace rooms, but my jump skill at the time was something like minus-4. We ended up wiping and I swore I was NEVER going back in there again, EVER EVER EVER.
A few months and a few levels later, with The Pit sitting there staring unfinished at me from my quest journal, I started having second thoughts. Maybe I COULD do it. But I wanted to try to solo it, because I knew it was going to take me a very, VERY long time and I didn’t want to hold a party up. So I buffed up, bought 50 jump potions, put on my feather fall boots, grabbed a pocket cleric, cleared my calendar, brought up the Wiki page and set off for House D.
Well, I fell off the pipes in the furnace rooms. A LOT. And I died a few times. So did my hireling, although since we managed to not both be dead at the same time, we didn’t wipe. And it took me almost four hours and nearly all of those 50 jump potions even though I went in on casual and didn’t do any of the optionals (except the Avatar of Juiblex). But when I climbed back out and saw the big green checkmark over Vargus d’Deneith’s head, let me tell you, I felt like I could do ANYTHING.
No quest has stuck in my mind quite like those two until a few weeks ago, when I got to level 16, gained access to the Inspired Quarter and discovered In the Demon’s Den. “Oooh, a new quest and it’s F2P!” I thought. “Cool!”
If only I’d known… of all the words I could possibly think of to describe In the Demon’s Den, “cool” does NOT apply. “Scorching” comes about as close as I can get and still keep this post PG-rated.
I decided to try it on casual first – after all, it’s a level 18 quest and I’d just levelled to 16, plus I was going solo except for a pocket cleric. I hit the AH first and bought fire-resist armor along with a couple elixirs of major mnemonic enhancement to make sure I could cast fire resist as often as I needed to.
It became pretty clear right away that my pocket cleric and I weren’t going to cut it. During a lull in the onslaught of fire-breathing, hard-hitting, ice-storm-flinging creatures, I headed for the DDO store and dropped pretty much all the points I had on gold seal hirelings. I was shocked when the Marilith finally fell and a healthy amount of XP dropped on me; even with the extra hirelings, I didn’t expect to make it through.
I’ve since managed to complete it ONCE more on normal with a very good, very experienced party. I’ve also wiped several times on various difficulties, also with very good, very experienced parties. The most notable was a few weeks ago when our entire party of seasoned players ended up running around in their underwear with no weapons because of all the damage we took. Nearly everything in my inventory was broken; I had to go to the Stone of Change and bind stuff before I repaired so it wouldn’t take permanent damage. And speaking of repairing, my repair bill was something like 7,000 plat (several of my party mates weren’t nearly that, uh, “lucky;” one guy said his bill was almost 30K).
I’m still F2P for about another week or two, and In the Demon’s Den is the ONLY F2P quest I don’t have on elite. I don’t even have it on hard. But like Haverdasher and The Pit, I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before I even try it again on casual, and an even longer while before I get it on elite.