Girl power!

It’s kind of weird how my Thelanis toons have shuffled themselves around. Victaurya was my first toon, followed fairly closely by Even. Then came Discordette, and finally Jall, who was originally only supposed to be there so my now-ex-boyfriend and I could play incognito sometimes.

Somehow Even ended up as my main toon. Jall and Vic ran neck-and-neck for a while, but over the past couple of months Jall’s just taken off, getting herself up to level 16 while Vic is back at level 11 (and getting outdistanced by some of her recent PUG mates). Poor Dissy (she needs a better nickname, but then again, I shouldn’t have given her such a lame name to begin with) is way back at level 7 and hasn’t run anything in a while because she’s not very solo-able.

Jall’s surge is due in large part to this incredible need I felt to see what she would do with In the Demon’s Den. Somehow I seem to have gotten obsessed with that quest; it’s the only F2P quest Even doesn’t have on elite. So one night, running with some new PUG friends (both Jall and Vic have been having great luck with PUGs lately), I realized that Jall was getting within spitting distance of level 16, which would grant her access to the Inspired Quarter and Demon’s Den.

Having a great group helped a LOT, and a bit later that night, after a run of several quests that wrapped up with an elite Delirium run, she was levelled up and ready. Our group had actually been talking about running Frame Work on elite next, but a couple of them knew how much I wanted to do Demon’s Den and suggested we head there instead.

A couple things were off right from the start. For one thing, we had three tanks, two wizzies and Jall as the only healer, and you really, REALLY want lots of heals for that, not to mention casters probably being more effective than melee, especially once you’re going up against the Marilith. For another, we were going to try it first on casual and someone accidentally went in on normal. But what the heck, we figured, we’ll give it a go.

And you know what – we made it! OK, we did have one wipe entering the last tunnel when we had a couple people get stuck outside in the main room, but we took turns releasing and healing and kept going. I had Jall’s sparkly feet (as I like to call her Radiant Servant thingy) going almost non-stop, and I think I went through about six major mnemonics, but dang it all WE DID IT with a group of 16s and 17s.

Now that I’m VIP, at least for the next three months, I decided to do some quick favor runs with Even this morning and figured the Sharn Syndicate would probably be the quickest way to get the itty-bitty last bit of favor she needed to unlock Champion status. Less than an hour later, I had her standing in front of Nyx Durandimion being congratulated for reaching 1750 favor and offered the +2 tome of her choice.

Since she’s already eaten a +2 Tome of Supreme Ability, and since the favor reward tomes are BtC, this didn’t seem so great at first… and then I remembered that once she TRs, she loses any tomes she’s eaten. Her next life will be as a rogue so my initial thought was to take the Dex tome, and then I thought of Vic. Her Dex is plenty high enough, but she could sure use some Con help. So there’s a +2 Con tome sitting in Even’s bank for her next life.

I really need to start playing Discordette more. Frankly, after I rolled her, I was kind of disappointed that she wasn’t a more powerful character. Her “bardness” just seemed weak – she’s not great at heals, she doesn’t have a lot of buffs yet, her DPS is pathetic, she doesn’t have great damage spells, she can’t do traps or locks. She’s kind of had me thinking, “Dang, why would anyone want to play a bard? They’re all but useless.”

And then I found myself in a PUG with a most awesome bard (a real girl, too – as much as I love my male DDO friends, it’s nice to have another actual female in the group). She healed, she buffed, she had the highest kill count in the group, AND she had a song that regenerated everybody’s spell points. That alone would be well worth having a bard along for. I’ve been tempted more than once to re-roll Dissy as another class, but not any more. I’m going to try to find her some patient party mates (maybe even Mizzaroo in two more levels!) and work her up to where she can really start showing her inner awesomeness.

Meanwhile in real life, I’m trying not to melt. It’s been 100+ degrees here most of the week and I have NO air conditioning and a west-facing window, so this room gets really, REALLY hot. My usual hours of playing time every day have been cut down to a few hours late at night after it’s cooled down a bit. I really need a summer home in Alaska.

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I did it…

I’M A FREAKING VIP!

*does the Happy Lucky OMG-I-can-do-Vale-with-Even-now dance*

Naturally real life is calling me and I can’t start enjoying my new status for another hour or two. But boy, am I going to be making up for lost time!

And maybe I’ll even start posting more.  *shameface*

Putting the “RP” in “MMORPG”

If you’re reading this, you probably know that DDO is an MMORPG, and that MMORPG stands for Massively Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game.

Lately it seems like I’ve been running into people who don’t get the “role-playing” part. As a DDO player, even if you don’t get into character and go to the Open Palm Inn and act out various scenarios, you still have a role to play. It’s determined by your class, your race, your level and your abilities.

If you want to run a quest solo, go right ahead and do your thing. But when you join a group, be prepared to do what’s expected of you.

The other night I was running Vic with a couple of new friends who are a LOT of fun, the kind of group you’d rather be with and wipe than be with others and cruise. We decided to tackle Taming the Flames, and our leader put up the LFM. Our full party ended up with only one healer, a cleric 4/bard 3/fighter 2. Most of us had at least some rudimentary healing of our own, so we figured we’d give it a shot.

We got in and started getting hit pretty hard. Lucky for me, Vic’s Evasion kept her pretty healthy; she gulped a few Cure Lights and that was enough to keep her HP bar full. We had a few people who were struggling, though; meanwhile our “healer” (oh yes, I use that term loosely)… stood there. Doing nothing. When we had two people in imminent danger of dying and one more getting way too low for comfort, we finally started asking “Joe Healer” to toss a few heals out. No response. At all. He wasn’t AFK or lagged because every few seconds he’d run around a bit, but he did NOTHING else.

Vic still had a candy cane with a few charges left on it so I tossed that to our party leader. We barely managed to fend off the fire elementals and get up the corridor to relative safety so we could regroup a bit. “Hoe Healer” came right along with us. Even his OWN health was getting pretty low, but he still wouldn’t even heal HIMSELF despite all of us asking him in both text and voice. He wouldn’t even ANSWER us.

So we headed up a bit farther and came to an area where a couple of fire barriers spring up, and you have to kill the mephits to make the barriers go away so you can continue. “Joe Healer” suddenly decided he was “Joe Melee” and went charging in. The barriers came down, leaving him and two members inside the chamber while I was stuck outside with the other two.

And then, without ever saying a single word or tossing a single heal to ANYONE, Joe Healer/Melee recalled and quit the party.

I brought this up on a forum (not the official DDO forum) and was a little surprised at the responses I got.

“Well, he wasn’t a pure cleric, he probably only had 200 mana.”

“You can’t do that quest with only one healer.”

Yadda yadda yadda. OK, fine, he didn’t have a lot of mana. Sure, it would have been much better to have another healer. What pissed us off was that he wouldn’t even TRY. NOT ONE HEAL. NOT ONE WORD IN CHAT, either text or voice. NOTHING. NADA. ZIP. ZILCH. And his mana bar was FULL.

That to me is completely unacceptable. If he didn’t think he could handle healing the whole party, he could have said so. We could have gotten an extra healer or gone in on a lower difficulty. Just a couple of Cure Lights would have made a HUGE difference to our party. Maybe we still would have wiped, but at least we’d have gotten the chance to try.

Then there are the people who either don’t know or don’t care what their roles are and just do their own thing. Not just zergers – I found out the other night that you can somewhat stick with your party and still be more of a hindrance than a help.

I was on with Vic again and joined a PUG to do Stormcleave Outpost on elite. The group was full, although I was a little worried that several members were well under quest level (two of them were only lvl 5). But Vic’s soloed that so I figured if everyone were smart, we should be OK.

IF everyone were smart – darn, that’s a big if. There was little to no communication in either text or voice. I stuck to the group leader (that’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do unless told otherwise, right?); everybody else would start running off and then kind of wander back. The whole party except for me and one other person all decided to melee – NOT a good idea. The wanderers kept stirring up mobs and towing them along when they came running back to the main group.

Then there was the Warforged who kept getting hit REALLY hard. The cleric – when he wasn’t trying to melee – did toss him a few heals, but obviously wasn’t able to help much. I kept telling the WF to stop for just a sec and I’d repair him; Vic has five Repair Constructs per rest. He kept ignoring me, but I finally got a chance to throw a repair on him while he was looting a chest. I told him that if he got low, he just needed to stop and stand next to me for a few seconds. More than a step or two away and I’d get a “player out of range” error message. The guy WOULD. NOT. LISTEN. Went tearing around griping about how low his health bar was, but couldn’t take three seconds for me to repair him.

When he finally DID seem to realize that I could help him more than the cleric could, he’d wait until his health bar was almost gone and come running up to me. I’d target him and click my Repair Construct icon – and he’d go running off while I was still in mid-repair. So he didn’t get healed, AND it still used up one of my repairs.

It got really clear really quickly that most of the party was in way over their heads and had no clue what they were doing. It didn’t take long until we ran into a horde that was way, WAY too much for us, and four players went down FAST. It ended up being me and one other guy left alive. I’m not sure what the other guy was doing, but now that everybody else was dead, a couple of giants took out after poor Vic, who was running backwards trying to gulp cure pots, fire her crossbow and look for soul stones at the same time. Of course, one squishy rogue alone (the other guy got killed pretty quickly after the main wipe) against many giants – not good.

As I was propelling Vic backwards as fast as I could make her go, people started recalling one at a time and then leaving the party. They didn’t reform it, which is good because I wouldn’t have joined up with them again anyway.

Part of your role is knowing what you can logically be expected to handle. I’d LOVE to run Vic through the F2P Medusa Chain quests, but even though she’s ALMOST at level for them, I know she’d be more of a liability than an asset. Stormcleave Outpost is level 8, which makes it a level 10 quest on elite, and it’s designated as “challenging.” Joining the party as a level 5 is pretty stupid; having the party leader accept your request to join when he can see you’re only a level 5 doesn’t make him any too bright either.

Maybe Vic’s just having bad luck with parties lately. She also ran Gwylan’s on elite the other night with four great people and one zerger. The entire party asked the guy to slow down and stay with us. He was like, “I know this quest by heart. I can avoid the traps.” I was very grateful to the guy who told him, “We have a great rogue, let her shine,” even though Zerg-dude didn’t listen.

I’m all in favor of doing your own thing, but either do it solo or form your own party and make it clear what’s going on. Don’t join someone else’s party and ruin the experience for five other people. It DOESN’T prove you’re a great player. Great players know how to be part of a team.