Roast halfling

Acanthia

There’s really only one thing Acanthia wants from Tower of Despair – a nice Kyosho’s Ring to complete her Shintao set. So when she ran her 20th ToD recently, there was only one thing she really wanted to see in her end rewards list.

She charged out of Tower Cave and landed eagerly in front of Uloth, hoping to see Kyosho’s, but maybe the Yugoloth were still ticked at her after she (accidentally) tanked Horoth on ToD #19. Uloth smirked and displayed 11 lovely rings for her, but no Kyosho’s. Pretty sad when the best thing in the reward list for your 20th ToD is Heroic Deeds.

Meanwhile Acanthia is probably kind of annoyed with me right now because Vic has been getting far more playing time than she has. I’ve tried telling her that since it’s been hovering around 100 degrees here (37-ish for you Celsius people), playing her might well result in roast halfling, but I’m not sure she’s buying it. Plus I don’t think she’s ever quite forgiven me for getting her nose a bit crooked and giving her WAY too much eyeliner the last time I tried to draw her, so hopefully this will soothe her feelings a bit.

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y u no play ddo rite??!11!!!!111

Evennote

I guess I’ll just never get it.

Nearly every day, I see something in game chat or in a blog post or on the forums that lets me know how completely awful I am at DDO. So many people think if you’re not doing things exactly the way they would, then you must be doing it wrong.

Azida

Well, color me wrong. I joined DDO to have fun, not to feel like my ePeen is bigger than anyone else’s because my pixels are more über than your pixels. And yes, one of the biggest ePeens I know in this game belongs to a female – or maybe she prefers to be called an überfrau, ’cause she’s, y’know, so über. Sadly, she’s not unique.

Evennote

At least a few of my friends from MyDDO are reluctant to join PuGs, worried about being ridiculed if something goes wrong. I often feel the same way myself. I kept Vic out of an eVoN run last night; I really wanted to join, and they sat around for a long time waiting for a trapper. I know Vic can handle the traps, because she’s done it before, but there was one guy in the group who’s given Even hell before for not having enough HP/armor class/something else I can’t remember, and who totally ripped up Jall after a failed ToD flagging run. He was so harsh that another friend of mine who was in that group says she’ll never again run with ANYONE from the guild he was in at the time.

Holdinn

So many elitists. So many insults. “Why are you using mana to heal?” “You’re stupid if you don’t have [insert spell] loaded.” “You should have taken [insert feat or enhancement] so you wouldn’t suck.” “You’re only using [insert gear]? Hahaha, fail!” Etc., etc., etc. It all boils down to, “If you’re not doing it like me, you’re doing it wrong;” or in other words, “You’re a noob and you’ll never be as über as me because I am the Überest of the Über, dummy.”

Jalliria

Jall is probably the toon who’s taken the most crap from people. A healbot! Who uses mana! And drinks pots! OH THE HORROR! What I can’t figure is WHY so many people give such a damn about how I play my toons. If Jall is keeping your red bar up as well as any other healer could under the same circumstances, why do you care how she does it?

A while back, Jall went through 26 major mana pots during an epic Devil Assault run. It was a group to make any elitist prig shudder – gimpy Jall (this was before I LRed her, so she was REALLY gimpy) in her first eDA and possibly the first time I’d done an epic with her; Slvr on his bard doing his first epic ever on ANY toon; Billy, who’d never gotten an eDA completion, on his nearly-as-gimpy-as-Jall cleric; Day with her ranger doing her first-ever eDA; Levin on his not-at-all-gimped caster; and a random monk who turned out to be pretty darn good. It was possibly the ugliest completion of eDA in the history of eDAs. Soooo many deaths! Neither Levin nor the monk died at all, and miraculously, mostly thanks to Death Pact (she didn’t have DI yet, since this was pre-LR), neither did Jall. She kept her aura going while throwing out bursts and heals as fast as possible and drinking pot after pot. Unlike your average elitist, though, I’m not COMPLAINING about how many pots she went through. If anything, I’m BRAGGING about it – I’m proud to have friends who are MORE than worth chugging pots for, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Evennote

I like building the best toons I can and doing well with them, but I don’t get all butthurt when my own – or anyone else’s – toons aren’t über builds with über gear. Give me a wipe with a fun group any time over a completion with a bunch of asses.

Victaurya

I’m not sure how it would make me a better person if all my toons were completely über with full sets of twink gear. What would I do? Go to my class reunion and brag about having more hit points than anyone in my guild? Tell a job interviewer that I always lead the kill count with my +99 Epicly Epic Greatsword of Überness +15?

Evennote

I know DDO is more than a game for some. Heck, it’s more than that for me sometimes. But you elitists out there seem to think that makes it OK for you to judge the people behind the toons based on their toons. Oddly enough, I have never ONCE been in a group that wiped because someone’s build or gear wasn’t up to snuff. I’ve almost never been in groups where a wipe was solely the fault of one person – and when it was, it was either an honest mistake (like the poor guy who’d never done VoN6 and accidentally ran too far ahead, locking himself in with Velah while the rest of the party was locked out) or blatant stupidity (like the guy who claimed to have run Hound many times, but immediately started killing the puppies and wouldn’t listen to everyone telling him in text and voice to stop).

Acanthia

I’ve probably built and geared my toons differently than other people would have done – and to me, that’s a GOOD thing. Sometimes that means having to approach a quest in a new way, and again, that’s just fine with me. I’m always willing to listen to advice, but not to insults. If that’s a problem for you, do us both a favor and don’t group with me.

Jalliria

So I guess I’m doing it wrong… but if so, I don’t want to be right.

Chains of lame

Victaurya

Even with all the amazing new gear the MotU update brings, the named Tower of Despair sets are still pretty darn cool. Acanthia’s got no less than THREE ToD rings (still waiting on Kyosho’s, though) along with assorted belts and necklaces. Even’s got two rings, although not the Band of Siberys she desperately wants. Jall’s got the Radiant Ring in her TR bank waiting for her when she gets to 18 again.

But not Vic. Poor girl, she just wants a ToD ring, ANY ToD ring that has +6 Str. I was hoping she’d get it tonight when she joined a ToD LFM filled with some great old friends.

Alas, it was not to be, despite a really good group, because the Judge has added a little extra something to his spiked chain attack – apparently they’re now Spiked Chains of Disconnect +15. Every time – EVERY time – he chained someone, the entire party DCed. And from what I hear, it’s been happening in other quests with chain-casting horned devils as well, so Sins of Attrition and Vision of Destruction are also likely borked (Baz has had the same thing happen on Sins, haven’t heard personally from anyone who’s tried VoD since the update though).

Chains weren’t the kind of jewelry Vic was hoping for, but the night wasn’t a total loss. I logged Ironica in to do some renown farming and got both her and the Sarlona edition of Flower Sniffers up to level 5, so she can now mail out guild invites. Acanthia is feeling rather sage after snagging a +3 Wisdom tome in her 40th Shroud, and Jall healed elite Delirium and used almost no mana, just aura and bursts.

Shenlie

Aside from that pesky chains glitch, I’m mostly loving the update. I rolled up a Druid during beta and had a lot of fun running around as a bear with my own personal wolf pack, so I made a new version of Shenlie on Cannith. I fully expect her to get lost just as often as all my other toons, but at least with her wolves around, she’ll have company.

Thoughts arrive like cows, so I barbecue them

Acanthia

Tomorrow’s the day! In a little over 12 hours from the time of this post, the Menace of the Underdark update will go live as Druids, dire bears, driders and more come to DDO.

Last night I was reading through the Open Beta Release Notes thread to get a feel for the new update. There is a TON of info in there; I wouldn’t quite give it “tl;dr” status, but there’s no way my puny little brain is gonna absorb all that. I’m more of a “learn by doing” type. There were some things, though, that just stuck out to me for various reasons.

Fixed a bug where the Druid Reincarnate spell would sometimes kill targets immediately after they were rezzed.

“I’m aliiiiiiive! I’m aliiiiiiive! I’m aliii – wait, what?”

Green Steel Altars now use barter-style crafting, with searchable and publicly listed recipes.

THIS. Because c’mon, you know you’ve either screwed up at least one GS item or come close to screwing up, or you’re like me and just don’t breathe until after each tier is completed, which can lead to danger of suffocation.

Kobold Gems no longer take damage.

But they still hate you.

Pale Masters should no longer get nuked by their own auras.

‘Nuff said.

More hirelings have been added to the game to support high level and epic content.

Did Turbine add more high level and epic traps for the new hirelings to stand in?

Maloren the hireling has yet again been retrained to cast healing spells.

Doesn’t he read the forums? He shouldn’t be wasting mana on heals. He should be using scrolls and bursts. Real clerics don’t need mana!  [/sarcasm]

Fixed an issue where some hirelings would go brain dead and try to freeze up the quest instance. Bad hirelings, bad!

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Docents can no longer generate with race restrictions, because that would be silly.

Yes. Yes, it would, although Acanthia’s sometimes wondered how she’d look in a docent.

The power of generated treasure at low levels has been increased to more closely match the level of the chest it comes from.

I’m hoping this means no more masterwork arrows from elite Pit.

Greater Halfling Bane now properly deals bonus damage.

Acanthia sez: “Nooooooooooooooo!”

Disembodied eyeballs have met their match – blind effects now kill them!

I like this. Almost as much as I like using Kormor’s Belt to make the eyeballs do the worm.

Xoriat gargoyles are immune to Flesh to Stone.

I always wondered how you could turn a gargoyle to stone when it’s already, y’know, stone.

Fixed a crashing issue when moving between quests or teleporting.

Fixed a crashing issue that would occur when attempting to log out.

Does this mean I’m going to be able to get into Sands again? And that I’ll be able to log one toon out and log in another without staring at a stuck screen for 10 minutes before finally using the task manager to shut DDO down?

Arrow trails have returned to following arrows. Rumor has it they were following the Grateful Dead for a while.

There are arrow trails?

Talbron the Warforged has a new voice.

Didn’t Talbron just get a new voice recently? Is this the same one, or did he get yet another vocal makeover?

Evennote

And last, but CERTAINLY not least:

You can now talk to cows (not that they have much to say.)

I was kinda bummed out when the Build Your Guild event ended, not just because it was a great event (which it was), but because I got my dates confused and mistakenly thought I’d also missed out on the chance to get the preorder in time to get all the cool extras that came with it. But thanks to a very surprising gift from an amazingly generous and wonderful friend, I’m the stunned and delighted owner of the MotU Collector’s Edition, and I can’t wait to experience the new content! I’d love to name this Benevolent Benevoler but I get the feeling that might embarrass him, so I’ll shup on that… but I’m LOVING my new panther hire, all the new companions, the learning tomes, the spider cult masks, ALL OF IT! Not to mention the 2000 Turbine points, which – being a gurl – I decided to spend on a little retail therapy. Artificer was the only “practical” thing I bought, but the companion tricks and armor appearance kits I also got are, for me, great enhancements to my enjoyment of the game (even though the kits went on sale AFTER I bought ’em, LOL). So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!  🙂

Time to get a mooove on

Victaurya

If you haven’t yet gotten the Menace of the Underdark preorder, now would be a great time, ’cause you can still get the bonus goodies (companions, Turbine points, awesome panther hire, Spider Cult mask, learning tomes, etc.). You know you’re gonna want it, because I’ve seen it and when it goes live, it’s gonna be legen – wait for it – dairy.

So hay, now that you’ve herd about it, get those calf muscles going and hoof it over to the new DDO Market to get the expansion now – don’t wait until the cows come home or you cud miss out! The new content is the cream of the crop, with lots of new adventures to farm for favor and new areas to milk for XP. You’ll have a field day playing it – it’s sure to put you in an udderly great mooood! But after June 25, all the extra perks will be put out to pasture and gone forheifer.

I wouldn’t steer you wrong. And that’s no bull, so… don’t have a cow.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the cheesy things I come up with when I wake up and can’t get back to sleep, so don’t start trying to horn in on my weirdness or steak a claim to my nerdiness.

For the ones who help me hide the bodies

Jalliria

I really, really, REALLY wanted to get Jall to lvl 8 and then Stoned before the Build Your Guild event ended today (mistakenly thinking that she’d earn some nice guild bonuses, which turned out to be for new and returning players). But as she’s the first toon I’ve true reincarnated, and being a not-overly-soloable lowbie cleric, I’m finding that the TR grind is grindy. Things were starting to look desperate with just a few days remaining and Jall at lvl 5.

Enter friends! Slvr, before heading off on vacation (Goooo Red Sox! Beat those Cubs!), dug up a fighter alt and helped me tear through the Waterworks chain, Cerulean and a bunch of Harbor and Market quests. Baz stormed through Steam Tunnels with me. In less than two days, Jall was a newly-leveled 7… but she had just one night left to get those five bubbles on her XP bar lit up.

I signed her on a bit early to get a head start only to find no one I knew online (well, no one who had a toon around Jall’s level AND wasn’t already in a party) and no likely-looking LFMs, so I gritted my teeth and headed to hell – I mean, Tangleroot – for the third quest in the chain (Jall had already done the first two, which was all the Tangleroot I could take in a single night). She got to the very end, the fighter hire died in traps, as hires so love to do, and then the hobbie cleric took Jall out before she could get him first. The summoned air ele dispatched him, but poor Jall was JUST shy of being able to reach the rez shrine – she could actually get inside the door but not quite close enough to click before being zapped back to her soul stone.

But friends came through again! By that time Billy was on and sent me a tell asking if I wanted to do hard Pit. Hello?! It’s me. It’s Pit. HELL YEAH I wanna do it. “But, um, I’m kind of sitting here dead at the end of Tangleroot 3. All the bad guys are dead and I can’t quite make it to the shrine, and I REALLY don’t ever want to run this quest again.” No problem for Billy, who happened to be on his lvl 7 rogue, so he swooped in, disarmed the traps and carried Jall’s stone to the shrine before we partook of the box of crap loot and got the heck outta Dodge.

Pit was a joy, and not just because it’s Pit; more because I got to group up with my former guildies Billy, his wife Day, LG (who got Muck’s Doom! YAY LG!) and Chee along with a very nice newcomer who I suspect will soon join Monty’s as well. ‘Twas a great fun group; there were times I was laughing so hard I couldn’t type OR talk. And ’twas great XP as well, leaving Jall about 28K-ish short of that magic level 8. Alas, by the time we were done it was bedtime for everyone except me. One Redwillow’s PUG later and I was still looking at a dishearteningly large XP number to level.

Luckily for me there’s no timer on Pit, so back I went. Just as I was running up the ramps in the first furnace room, Baz signed on and offered to help. We battled through a normal run that seemed a lot tougher than the hard one I’d done earlier – even the force traps were hitting for more. And at the end, I still needed about 9K, and it was late, and we were tired. So we decided to scoff at ComicRelief’s scoffiness and go in on casual; I wasn’t sure it would get me QUITE to 8, but figured I’d be close enough that a few kills in Searing Heights afterwards would do the trick.

Jalliria

No trip to Searing Heights was needed, though; we enjoyed a much smoother trip through the Pit (despite my total inability this time to make it all the way up to the optional in the third furnace room), and thanks to still having a few minutes left on her XP pot, Jall got enough experience to level. After a bit more help from Droog, she’s well into lvl 16, and I’m still trying to sort through her TR bank to decide which gear to use now and figure out how to set up her hotbars. Her REALLY good stuff is min lvl 18, but that’s OK; I intend to have a ball getting her flagged for Demon Queen and Shroud and ToD, for starters.

I would never, EVER have gotten her leveled up so fast without my friends, and I sure as heck wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun without their questing help, crafted goodies and most of all moral support. I’m not going to try to name everybody because my Swiss cheese memory might leave someone out, but y’all know who you are. Thank you.  🙂

Now that Jall’s where I want her, maybe I’ll have time to head over to Lamannia and play my poor neglected druid, assuming there hasn’t been a character wipe since the last time I played her. I’ve been kind of avoiding Lama Land because 1) I was playing Jall nonstop; and 2) I didn’t get the MotU preorder and unfortunately I really can’t justify spending the money to get it right now, dealing with some recent medical bills, and the premium areas are no longer open to anyone who didn’t buy the preorder. So I couldn’t follow Shin and Comic into King’s Forest, and although I told them to go without me, they chose not to, and I felt really bad about that.  😦

It’ll be quite some time before I’ll have the TP to buy the packs when they’re released, so no new content for me for a while. I wanted a Spider Cult mask, and I REALLY wanted those tomes of learning (that would’ve been a big help for Jall, LOL), and a spiderling companion and a wolf companion (I LOVE the companions)… but oh, how I wish I could’ve gotten that black panther cub and/or panther hireling. I’m a total ailurophile and one of my cats is mostly black; would’ve been so great to run around with a little version of Victoria.  🙂

Letting the cat out of the bag

Evennote

When about half the members of your elite Shroud group have less than 400 HP, you expect that a group fail will be on, well, y’know, the group.

You don’t expect to cruise confidently into Phase 2 and see your adventure come to a grinding halt because the stupid lion gets stuck in the stupid tree.

But that’s just what happened to Even and a bunch of friends. Mowed down portals like a hot knife through butter in Phase 1, then headed to Phase 2 and decimated the trash before pulling the rednames. Esarhal crumbled before us! Anur-Shub got frozen out! Ubein-Lnaa never even knew what hit him! Unfortunately though, Nimrisr wedged himself (herself?) firmly into the tree in the southwest corner and sat there laughing his bezekira butt off at us.

Nothing worked – we could, with difficulty, target him, but melees and ranged couldn’t touch him. Firewall didn’t work. Blade barrier didn’t work. Intimidating him didn’t coax him out; neither did killing off all his buddies. Several people submitted tickets and got nothing back except, “We’re working on it.” Half an hour or so later, people had places to go or things to do or were just tired of sitting around looking at a kitty stuck in a tree (where’s a fireman when you need one?), and the group disbanded.

‘Twas a fun time, though. Besides grouping up with several old friends – a number of Even’s former Monty’s guildies were in the party – it was a jolly group. While we were waiting, we all piled into the little nook where Nimrisr’s head was sticking out and sat down on top of each other. The wizzy put up a dancing ball and a very pretty prismatic ray so we could have a disco party. We didn’t get the completion, but it was fun while it lasted.

Spoilsports

Snow panther

Never fails, does it? Turbine does something nice but not especially well-thought-out, and the more unscrupulous players quickly find a way to take advantage of it at the expense of others.

In case you haven’t seen this thread (or the others about the same issue), I’m talking about the new Stones of Experience. A quick breakdown for the unfamiliar:

  • Everyone who purchased the MotU pre-order can now receive up to five Stones of Experience by talking to an NPC in the Harbor.
  • Each Stone will advance a lvl 8-15 player to lvl 16.
  • Only one Stone can be used per server per account.
  • If you have a Stone, you can use it on yourself or on someone else (provided the toon getting the benefit of the Stone is between lvls 8-15 inclusive, and none of that account’s toons on that server have already had a Stone used on them).
  • If you use three Stones on players other than yourself, you’ll receive, via ingame mail, an ownership certificate for a snow panther cosmetic companion.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Help people out and get a nice reward – except for the glitches. If someone tries to use a Stone on you, you’re SUPPOSED to get a dialog box that will let you click “Yes” to accept an instant advance to lvl 16, or “No” to decline it and stay at your current level. Trouble is, the dialog box sometimes doesn’t appear at all, and when it does, it can easily get hidden behind other windows, particularly if you’re at the mailbox, the bank, the AH or the crafting hall. And the dialog defaults to “Yes,” so if you inadvertantly press Enter or Space – easy to do if you’re typing and get hit with an unexpected Stoning – you’re suddenly insta-leveled to 16.

For some this isn’t a big deal – “Yay, I just skipped ahead a whole bunch of levels, so much less grinding!” But not everyone WANTS to level up this quickly; I certainly want to keep Char and Chalei (lvl 13 AA ranger and 9 fire savant respectively) on the beaten path since I haven’t played an AA or sorc before. I want to take them through all that great mid-level content – Fens, Sands, Gianthold, Lordsmarch – and see how they handle it compared to my other toons. I don’t want to find either of them suddenly in a position to do Vale flagging when the hardest thing they’ve faced so far is elite Pit.

Not to mention, if I could level ONE toon up quickly, it would be Jall, who’s TRed and is now lvl 4. Slvr’s saving a stone for her when I get her to 8; I don’t mind her advancing quickly because, being a TR, it takes her a lot longer to level, and as both her lives have been cleric, I already know how to play her in high-level content. But if someone Stones Char or Chalei, there goes Jall’s shot at that 8-16 jump.

And unfortunately some people are so eager to get that snow panther, they’re lurking at the AH and the bank and the mailboxes dropping unsolicited Stones on unsuspecting players. It’s being called “ninja stoning” on the forums, and it SUCKS. Seriously, people are so anxious for a cosmetic companion that they’ll take a chance on ruining someone else’s game experience to get it? NOT COOL… and also not cool is the fact that thus far, Turbine seems disinclined to do anything about it. Support tickets, from what I’ve been told, are getting a generic sort of, “Sorry, we can’t do anything and we don’t intend to change that” response.

Chalei

Speaking of ruining the game for others, seems one DDO entrepreneur is back in business on Thelanis. After getting banned for spamming ads for his lottery (according to what he himself told a friend of mine), he’s once again taken up his spot by the Harbor mailbox, selling lottery tickets, blind inviting people to his guild, and being pretty much up to his old tricks. Unfortunately those tricks include trying to get a monopoly on popular AH items such as large green steel ingredients and mana pots.

I don’t price GS ings often; I pretty much just grind what I want/need, so I don’t know personally how the value of those has changed (although several people in our ToD group last night said that AH prices on large ings have more than doubled since “Joe Corporate,” as I nicknamed him in a previous post, has been back). But I DO have a pretty good handle on the price of mana pots, as I check those a couple times a night. Right before Joe Corporate got banned, major pots were running around 35K. Within 2-3 days after the ban, they were down to around 15K, and I picked up a fair number for less than that.

Now he’s back, and even before I saw him in Harbor, the first inkling I had was when I went to the AH and saw, instead of the usual four or five pages’ worth of mana pots, ONE page, and that wasn’t even full. Last night there was exactly ONE greater pot listed – starting price 15K with no buyout. Last week I was getting those for 5-6K or even a bit less. And only three major pots were listed – a set of two with a 66K buyout, and one with a starting bid of – think it was around 12K, but with the slim pickin’s out there, I’m sure it’s quite a bit higher now, haven’t logged into the game yet.

Trying to make a little plat is one thing. Trying to control prices by using the millions of plat you’ve obtained by running a “lottery” and selling “stock” in your “company” – with neither enterprise subject to regulations of any sort save the no-spamming thing – to establish a monopoly, well, that’s just pathetic. And WRONG.

There doesn’t seem to be much Turbine can/will do about either the ninja stonings or Joe Corporate’s monopoly, so I guess it falls to us, the players. Me, I’m going to be VERY careful where I take Char and Chalei – if I log them in at all – until I have Jall leveled up high enough to get her Stone, and I’m not buying any mana pots off the AH unless I’m lucky enough to find them at pre-monopoly prices, and DEFINITELY not buying any direct from Joe Corporate. Both solutions are pretty sucky, but unless/until Turbine steps up with solutions, they’re all I have.