I’m thankful… for griefers

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.

Hjeal meh nao!

Jalliria

Abs has a line in his profile that says something like, “Evennote was healed by you for 11,525 points.” Can’t remember the exact number, but that’s pretty close. So I was really proud of Jall when she hit her own not-very-heal-amped self for more than 15K a few weeks back. That’s with Unyielding Sovereignty, not a “normal” heal, just to be clear.

Tonight she was running EE Gianthold with Vey and Ray, and noticed that her aura was hitting Vey for close to 400. That’s some pretty nice heal amp, so when we were done, I decided to see what Jall could hit him for. The picture above is worth a thousand words… or 46,449 hit points.

I don’t get bragging rights with Abs, though, because he hit Sady for more than 50K the other night. But it’s a start… and now I want to try again in Exalted Angel, because Jall has a lot more positive spellpower there than in Unyielding Sentinel.

And as long as I’m talking about Jall… Vey asked me last night if I’d ever finished my March Madness series of posts. That was the first I realized that no, I never did, although I did have the results worked out… and at the time, Jall ended up as the overall winner. My toons have changed a lot over the past six to eight months, though; if I were to do a similar tournament now, I think Even might end up as champion.

Chasing immortality

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.

Mo! Mo! Mo!

Chalei

If you’re one of those strange people who occasionally turn their heads away from their computer screens and take a look around, you may have noticed a lot of men sporting more facial foliage than usual.

Yep, Movember is here! What’s Movember, you ask? I could try to tell you, but the Movember website explains it better than I can:

Movember is the month formerly known as November, where men and women across the globe join together to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. Men grow and women support a Mo (moustache) for 30 days becoming walking, talking billboards. Movember supports world-class men’s health programs that combat prostate and testicular cancer.
 
Men who support Movember, called Mo Bros, start by registering at Movember.comMo Bros start Movember 1st clean-shaven, then grow and groom their Mo, for the rest of the month, raising money along the way. Women who support Movember, called MO SISTAS, also start by registering at Movember.com. MO SISTAS champion the Mo by registering and supporting the Mo Bros in their life, spreading the important message of men’s health, leading a team and organizing events.

Daisy

Turbine is participating with a team called Turbine-Powered Moustaches, and Community Specialist Cordovan has offered up some pretty juicy incentives for DDOers who contribute to the cause. See that adorable snowy owlbear (or ours-hibou neigeux if you’re French) dancing with Chalei and smiling for her close-up? According to what Cordovan tells me, right now there are only two of them in all of DDO-land… but make a donation to Turbine’s Movember effort and the next one could be yours!

Cordovan is offering both individual incentives to donors, and group incentives to the DDO community as his goals are met. Full details are in a forum thread called ““Support the Turbine-Powered Moustaches this Movember!”

Sadly, being a mostly broke freelance writer/editor whose parents have no income and a lot of medical bills right now, there’s no way I can donate $250… but happily one of my friends did and passed his rewards on to me. (I won’t identify him ’cause I don’t know if he’s OK with that, but he’s welcome to reveal himself here if he wants to.) I’m going to have a blast running nekkid Tempest’s Spine with Cordovan and 10 of my best DDO friends (I can’t help but wonder if they had me in mind for this, given my penchant for nekkid Shroud dancing), getting my butt kicked by Cordovan in PvP, and having a custom forum title and avatar.

But I have to admit, my favorite part just might be Daisy, my new snowy owlbear – even though now I only need six more pets to hit the 50 mark on Thelanis. If I could choose, in no particular order – griffon, dretch (who says “glarb”), ooze, satyr (with a flute-playing trick), harpy and… Harry. I mean, who wouldn’t want their own pocket Arraetrikos?

Cordovan, THANK YOU for doing all of this, both the DDO part and more importantly, the men’s health fund-raising part! Your efforts are very much appreciated! 🙂

And just so you know, you have a hard act to follow – I got to run with Tolero a while back, and she was pretty darn cool. She wasn’t nekkid, though. *g*

Please donate if you’re able – every cent counts! – and support the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas during the month of Movember.  🙂

RSS = Ridiculously Stupid Stuff

Chalei

Back when MyDDO was dismantled and I got the idea to try to create a replacement, I had to do a lot of Googling, asking questions, and looking stuff up before the original OurDDO RSS feed came into being. It had some mostly minor issues right from the start, which led to the birth of the main OurDDO site.

I still kept the original feed up, because some people prefer to get the latest blogs via their feed readers. But a few days ago, Erdrique sent me an E-mail to let me know that the old feed hadn’t updated since Nov. 3.

What with all the pesky real-life stuff I have going on, and since the original feed was actually on a third-party site that I have no control over, I didn’t really get a chance to look into it until tonight (see, downtime can be good!). So I pulled up the site, tried to log in, and got a “502 Bad Gateway.” I could still get to the “support” (and I use that term loosely) section without logging in, and there I found that many people are having the same problem, and that the site has not answered any of them.

So, went hunting for a new way to make an aggregate feed. To try to shorten a long story, I found one and set up a new aggregate feed, which can be found here. The upsides are that it’s free and doesn’t limit how many feeds I can add to it. The downside is that if I need to add any additional feeds now that it’s set up, the URL will change.

But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, if you were using the old RSS feed, please change to the new site. Many thanks to Erdrique for letting me know the old feed was down!

 

(Oh… and in case you were wondering, RSS in this context actually stands for Really Simple Syndication. But I think mine’s more appropriate.)

Fun for ALL III: Reality check

Evennote

 

I’m not sure anyone will really want to read this post. I’m not sure I even want to write it. Not that anyone wants to read any of my posts; I’m not nearly conceited enough to think anyone will be overcome with despair if I don’t post at regular intervals and fill them in on every last piddling detail of everything that every one of my toons has been doing. But I digress.

 

And I might digress a lot during this post, because there’s a LOT going on in this empty shell I call my head. I’m relieved. I’m hurt. I’m frustrated. I’m nervous. I’m confused. I’m anxious. I’m overwhelmed. I’m happy. I’m sad. I’m dealing with so much stuff right now, in and out of DDO.

 

See, stuff happens. It happens in DDO; it happens in real life. Most of what I’m going through right now is real life, and I’m freaking sick and tired of people who just cannot get it through their thick arrogant heads that NO. Some of us DO NOT freaking spend EVERY damn minute of EVERY damn day focused on DDO and how to rub in everyone’s faces how very über we are. I know there are people who put DDO ahead of “real life” things. I don’t have a problem with that; it’s a matter of personal preference. But don’t be all arrogant and condescending to me because I don’t make DDO my top priority.

 

I tend to be a pretty private person online except with people I know well and like. Even has a Gmail for DDO-related stuff. I try to check that every day in case someone has questions or concerns about OurDDO. The people I talk to on a regular basis outside of DDO have my “real” E-mail, Facebook and/or AIM. I don’t have time to spend checking messages in multiple places, so if someone sends me a message anywhere that’s not Even’s Gmail, my “real” E-mail, Facebook, or AIM, chances are I’m not going to see it. I have been called “rude and ignorant” on my OWN DAMN BLOG for this. Personally, I think “rude and ignorant” is expecting me to take time away from the non-DDO things I prioritize to cater to someone else’s whims as far as which messages I should be checking and when I should be checking them. When I didn’t cave to the bullying and become a minion, I got more crap… but I’m not going to apologize for that.

 

Anyway. I digress again. Being a mostly pretty private person, I don’t tend to share all the little details of my personal life online. Sharing the little stuff makes no sense to me – does anyone really need to know if my nose is stuffy or I stubbed my toe or that I had chicken for dinner? And most of the time, I prefer to keep the big stuff to myself. But. Today my emotions are getting the better of me. I should be pouring all this into my NaNoWriMo novel, but that’s going in a totally different direction. So, to all you egolitists out there…

 

I have a REAL LIFE. Like it or not – and I know you don’t, and I don’t give a flying fig that you don’t – I value my real life more than I value you. If you want to insult me and spread crap about me because I won’t bow down to your überness – screw you. Go bully someone else.

 

My father is in the hospital right now recovering from surgery. Yesterday he lost a half a rib, a goodly chunk of lung and a  number of lymph nodes in what will hopefully turn out to be a successful attempt to remove his lung cancer. Doctors found the tumor back at the beginning of May while treating him for a mild heart attack. He’s spent the past NEARLY SIX MONTHS being shuffled from doctor to doctor, being tested for all kinds of things and given all kinds of conflicting diagnoses, but until yesterday nothing had been done to actually TREAT him. In those months, the tumor grew from the size of a walnut to the size of a golf ball.

 

So far he seems to be doing well. I’m realistic; he’s 73 years old, is severely diabetic and requires an insulin pump, has had several heart attacks, and has already survived colon cancer. But I’m also trying to be optimistic.

 

So how does this rant relate to DDO?

 

DDO is my escape. It’s where I go to NOT think about the stressful things in my real life. Most of the time I think I’m a competent player.

 

But even though I’m often in DDO to “forget” real life, reality still creeps in. Sometimes this means I’m playing DDO, but I’m not completely focused on DDO. Late nights when things quiet down and I’m getting tired is usually when it’s worst. Vey has probably seen that the most; sometimes it seems like I’m always apologizing to him for being brain-dead. But thank heaven for friends like Vey, Baz, Ninja, Abs – I’m going to stop there because I’m not running on all cylinders right now, and I don’t want to leave anyone out – for them and the others who still invite me to run with them, or even INSIST that I run with them, and never give me a hard time when I’m not “all there.” In fact, they make a point of telling me the things I’m doing RIGHT. And that means that when I need to escape real life for a little while, I know I can head for DDO and lose myself there.

 

It’s certainly been eye-opening for me, seeing who really has my back, who’s just a good questing buddy, who doesn’t give a crap about me as long as I bring in some renown and lead a raid when they want me to. I have a lot to think over right now and figure out what I want to do and where I want to go.

 

I’m not going to apologize, EVER, for valuing real life above DDO. Nor will I apologize for speaking my mind and saying things that are true. I DO apologize for the rambling, disjointed nature of this post. Staying focused isn’t my strong point right now.

 

And speaking of points… I do have one. The next time some egolitist is about to start yelling at someone for making a mistake, or not obeying orders, or for just being a fallible human, I’d like to hope they’d stop and think, “Hey. Nobody’s perfect. That person could just be having an off day. Maybe I’ll just deal with it and move on instead of going on a rant about ‘stupid ppl’ wiping my parties.”

 

Yeah, well, it’s a nice thought.

Drinking and dancing

Discordette

Many, if not most, DDO players don’t have much good to say about the quality of Turbine’s customer service, especially when it comes to getting a help ticket response from a GM. A while back, I posted about an awesome GM experience I had. Last night I encountered a GM who gave me laughs to rival that first one.

First, a little background… Dissy made her first trip to Storm Horns last night; I was looking for about 180K XP to get her leveled up to 25 so she could wear her blue dragonscale armor (she ended up leveling in eChrono with Ninja and Abs, and the armor looks GREAT with her hair, shield and Elyd Edge). She was singing her way through the snowy mountaintops when she got a tell from a friend who shall remain nameless, who was slightly – OK, more than slightly – inebriated. And I’m SO going to embarrass him here before I get to the GM part, just because I can. LOL

So, Nameless started yelling at me for not joining his guild, because he kept trying to talk to me in guild chat. Then he wanted me to send him a party invite so he wouldn’t have to type (which kinda made me sad, because his drunken typos were cracking me up). I sent him an invite, but it didn’t work – all I got back from him was a tell that said something like, “tlepaxorang.” (He later told me that was supposed to be, “Stop teleporting!”) Turned out that he was getting the “can’t add to the party when any member is teleporting” message. Neither of us was teleporting, though, and I noticed he was on a lvl 17 toon. Dissy, being lvl 24, was in epic Storm Horns, so I thought maybe he couldn’t join because he was under level.

He was sober enough to switch to an epic-level toon… and same result. I told him I’d try putting up an LFM, and got something like, “I’m not joining your party unless you put, ‘[toon name] only, everybody else f*** off’ in the LFM.” (My spelling is MUCH better than his was. :D) We argued about this for a bit, and I finally went with, “[toon name] only. He says everybody else should eff off. Sorry. :(”

And it STILL didn’t work. So I took the LFM down as fast as I could, recalled out, and THEN I was finally able to add him. He ran in circles around me on the bridge in Eveningstar until he got dizzy, ran off the edge and forgot how to get back up. But we finally made it into Storm Horns and teleported back up to the snowy area.

Now, Nameless knows I get lost easily. I’ve followed him around Storm Horns before, and he zips from explorer point to explorer point with unerring accuracy… or at least, he does when he’s sober. I knew he was REALLY drunk last night when he said, “Where are we going?” I said, “I need all the explorers from 22 on up except for 43 and 44.” He replied, “No. I mean, where are those?” I said, “East.” And he said, “Which way is east?” Trust me – when Nameless is asking ME for directions, something’s definitely wrong.

We got as far as the entrance to Breaking the Ranks – which wasn’t very far, as we’d TPed to the northwest marker when we went in – when Nameless suddenly said, “It’s time.” I was wondering, time for what? And then he said, “seeppy tiem.” And he stopped right there at the Netherese Central Camp, and that was the last he talked, typed or moved for the rest of the night.

About that time, Ninja sent me a tell asking if she could join the party. So I tried to add her and the “can’t add party members while teleporting” bug kicked in again. (May or may not be relevant – when Nameless went beddy-bye, Dissy summoned the owlbear, who never appeared on the party list). Dissy was still about 40K short of level 25, so Ninja told me to come run eChrono with her.

So I typed in party chat – just in case Nameless was conscious at all – that I was dropping to run eChrono, recalled out, and… couldn’t drop. SAME “teleporting” bug. I logged Dissy out, logged Char in, and then rebooted DDO and brought Dissy back in – same damn thing. And I couldn’t dismiss Nameless, because now HE had the star AND he was still in the dungeon.

I figured it was high time to fill out a support ticket. What follows is a great convo I had with the GM who responded. Per Turbine policy, I won’t name him (or her, for all I know). I doubt s/he will read this… but Mr./Ms. GM, THANK YOU! I was laughing so hard I could barely type back to you by the end.   🙂

GM: Greetings Discordette! I am a Game Master for online support and will be with you momentarily. You can reply to my messages by typing /r and entering your message.

GM: Are you still stuck in the party?

Me: Yep! It’s ironic, earlier I couldn’t ADD people to my party.

Me: (Error) You can’t create, destroy, or modify a party while any members are teleporting.

Me: That’s what I’m getting when I try to drop.

GM: Alright I need you to try to invite *PlaceholderToon to the party.

A wizard suddenly appears on the ship in front of me… and waves to me. And no, “PlaceholderToon” is definitely not his real name.

Me: I can’t, because my friend’s got the star – and he’s passed out drunk. LOL

GM: Any way you can wake him up? I can only fix this if I can get invited to the party.

I type in party chat; I yell, “[Nameless], wake up!” on voice. No response.

Me: Well, I’m talking to him on voice, but I’m not getting anything back.

Me: Nada. I just yelled, “[Nameless], wake up!” over voice, and nothing.

GM: I’m really sorry, we’re gonna have to wait for him to wake up, or get disconnected.

Either the GM manages to disconnect Nameless, or, with perfect timing, he DCs due to inactivity. I quickly send a party invite to the placeholder toon standing in front of me. For a minute or two, nothing happens.

Me: OK, sent the invite… don’t tell me, let me guess, you got the teleporting message. LOL

I send another party invite. This one goes through.

GM: OK make me the leader.

I’ve already dismissed Nameless, which gave me the star back. Just for the heck of it, I buff up the GM’s placeholder wizard with the full works… and he starts dancing. I successfully – though to be honest with a bit of regret, ’cause I’m having fun – drop party.

GM: There you go.

Me: Oops, hit Leave too fast – but it worked. And your wizard has some buffs. LOL

GM: That works too, as long as you are out of the party.

GM: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: That may be the most bizarre bug I’ve ever encountered. LOL

Me: Nope, that’ll do it. Thank you! 😀

GM: It is pretty rare but it happens once in a while.

GM: You’re welcome, have a great day!

Me: You too! That wizzy’s all buffed, take him out and kill stuff. 😉

GM: Unfortunately this one is going away after this. He was made just to fix this problem.

GM: But I’m sure he will be happy with those buffs on whatever plane of existence he ends up on!

If anyone from Turbine happens to read this post – THIS is exactly what you want your GMs to do. He (or she) was polite and friendly. When it looked like he might not be able to fix the problem, he told me why and apologized. Even if I were STILL stuck in party, I would have come away feeling like at least someone tried to help me. The dancing wizard taking his buffs to his new plane of existence was just the icing on the cake. Bravo, Mr. or Ms. GM. You made my night! 🙂

Nameless – YOU know who you are. No one else needs to. I’m not going to call you out publicly, because I understand what a rough night it was for you and why you were drinking. I hope you’re not upset that I posted this; I did it because I’ve been going through quite a rough patch myself and you were completely cracking me up last night. Thank you for the laughs. 🙂

tl;dr – My friend got drunk and was funny. Then I couldn’t drop party, filled out a ticket and got a GM who was just as funny. It made for an awesome night.