Dragonborn-again heathen

I just love how I save some of my biggest snafus for the livestream. I mean, what fun is screwing up unless you can do it live, with other people watching, and leave a permanent video record?

Poor Zak. My gimpy Drow pale master has been on the stream once or twice before, I think, but this was probably his biggest moment. An epic reincarnation followed by a heroic reincarnation… and that’s where the glitches started. My ancient mouse double-clicked just as I was about to start choosing his appearance, so he started his warlock life as a plain, unadorned, boring beige Dragonborn – well, as boring as a Dragonborn can possibly be, anyway.

There was one other mistake I didn’t even realize at the time – can you spot it in the video?

So I gnashed my teeth a bit, because Zak’s appearance matters to him, and I knew he was NOT gonna be happy the first time he caught a glimpse of his own reflection. Luckily there aren’t many shiny surfaces in Korthos, where he (nearly) breezed through the village quests (had to get a Gold Seal barb hire and make a second run at Cannith Crystal, since the stupid cultists shattered the title object on the first one), then did the first three island quests to be flagged for Misery’s Peak.

He, um, might have gotten briefly lost – disoriented, anyway – after Heyton’s Rest. And there was much merriment had with some of Lars Heyton’s dialogue in that quest with the sahuagin.

‘Twas great to see both old friends and new faces in the chat! Thanks to everyone who showed up and cheered – or laughed at – Zak!

After the stream, Zak gobbled up the XP gems I’ve been tossing into the shared bank, which got him to level 3. Then I hustled his butt forthwith to the bank, where he had three lesser hearts of wood just sitting around collecting dust. I reincarnate so seldom that at least one of them was left over from the old MyDDO lottery, which has been defunct for at least three or four years now. Then it was back to Reincarnation Grove for no other reason than to make Zak look nice. You can see the new and improved Zak dancing in the above short video, while his trusty fiendling companion busts a move or two as well.

I checked the AH for gear and was rather appalled at the prices people set for starter-level stuff. Hundreds of thousands of plat? Really?! No experienced player is going to pay that for something they’re only going to use for a few levels, and no new player has that kind of plat. Probably the same people who put Tear of Dhakaan shards and Pit restart guides on the AH for exorbitant prices… but anyway. I’ve been working on Even’s crafting, and it occurred to me that I’d probably be able to craft Zak everything he needs.

Shockingly, I was right. I think this may be the first time I’ve ever crafted anything I was actually going to use; mostly I just decon a lot of stuff, and I spent half an hour and about a million plat buying, deconning, and making ML shards that I’ll never use, just to get her crafting levels up.

I was able to make everything on Zak’s wish list and then put almost all of it on gear for him. The only thing I didn’t manage to slot was heal amp – made the shard, but didn’t plan well and ended up with no gear I could put it on because the few things it would go on, I’d already crafted other stuff on.

Oh, and that other mistake I made while doing his heroic reincarnation? Totally forgot his alignment. THAT’S gonna have to change. He’s not the lawful type to begin with. He REALLY can’t be a lawful Dragonborn fiend pact warlock. Looks like I’m buying an alignment change the next time I log him on!

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time, now on the official DDOstream! The show will still be hosted on my own Twitch channel as well, but if you’re watching live and want to chat, DDOStream is the place to be. Videos are archived on my YouTube channel and/or on DDOStream’s YouTube. I’m usually on Thelanis, usually/often/sometimes on Evennote, and usually have room, so feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! I’m also definitely open to suggestions on what to run next. You can send ingame mail to Evennote on Thelanis, or email me at evennote (at) gmail dot com. Thanks for reading and/or watching!  🙂

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Hostamile takeamover

Niituna

ME TUNA

NOT DA FISH! WHOLE NAME NIITUNA, BUT BARB NOT LIKE WRITAMING TOO MANY LETTERSES

ME BARB

ME SMASH ALL DA TINGS

SMASH SMASH SMASH!

ME PUSH SILLY PALAMADIN OUT DA WAY SO ME CAN MAKE BLOG

STOOPID CLERICS WORSHAMIP DEE-TEEZ. BARB WORSHAMIP KARGON! TUNA DA PRETTIAMEST BARB COZ SHE GOTSES SHINY PURPAMLE EYES, BUT KARGON DA BESTAMEST BARB EVEN THOUGH HE NOT PRETTY AS TUNA. KARGON GOTSES TASTAMY HAM NAMEDED FOR HIM. TUNA WANT FOODSES NAMEDED FOR HER. CITI SAY TUNA SALAMAD FOR BARB. BARB SAY SALAMAD WHAT SKINNY ROGUES EATSES. BARB SMASH ALL DA SALAMADS! SMASH SMASH SMASH!

BARB THINKSES BARB SHOULD CHANGE LAST NAME TO CASSAMEROLE. OR MAYBE STEAK.

BARB RUN WHELOON TONIGHT WIF LORD SILVERMAHAND AND CITI. BARB STILL GOTSES LEVEL 6 GEAR SO BARB NOT KILL MUCH. BARB GOTSDED OUTKILLEDED BY STOOPID PALAMADIN, BUT BARB GOTSDED TO KILLAMASTEAL SILLY-LOOKING HOOMAN BARD. AND BARB GOTSDED LOTSES OF MYSTERIAMOUS REMAMANANTS. IF BARB WERE KOBOLD, BARB WOULD SAY REMAMANANTS BE OOOOOH SHIIIIINAMY, BUT BARB NOT KOBOLD. BARB BE DORF!

BARB NO CAN SMASH REMAMANANTS COZ DUH, DERE REMAMANANTS, SO DERE ALREADY SMASHDED. BUT BARB SMASH ALL DA CRATES AND BARRELS! SMASH SMASH SMASH!

UH-OH. BARB RUN – HERE COME DA PALAMADIN!

Even

Ahem.

Sorry for the interruption. While Even was off trying on the Legendary Slave Rags she pulled the other night, seldom-played barb Niituna decided to take matters into her own hands and hijack the blog. As you can see, she has a certain fondness for Caps Lock… but at least she didn’t eat the Caps Lock key.

Yet.

(Yes, when I play Tuna, at least for guild runs where everybody’s used to my weirdness, I do roleplay her pretty much like her post here. My guildies find it charming. I think…)

The Slave Rags aren’t something Even is going to wear on a regular basis. They’re definitely not tank gear – c’mon, diversion? What self-respecting paladin wants anything to do with diversion? Not Even! And let’s face it – it’s hard enough to maintain a positive body self-image. Mainstream media and outdated attitudes mean that, no matter how much Even might like the Slave Rags, she’s likely to be subjected to taunting and criticism if she wears them out in public. They show a LOT of skin… and being PDK, Even’s got a lot of skin to show.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may already know that Streamin’ with Even is on indefinite hiatus. So no video this week. I may stream at random times if there’s something I want to get on video, but no more regular Sunday show in the foreseeable future. Not my choice, so don’t ask… :/

And now I’m going to take a little break to talk about something that happened in real life tonight that was scary as hell at the time, but might be kinda cool anyway. Mostly I’m putting this here because I was trying to tell Citi over voice earlier and Comcrap was being so very, VERY Comcraptastic that my audio was breaking up, so he really couldn’t hear me.

I’m involved in an annual local production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I play Dr. Scott. (No, I’m not an old German scientist – it’s a long story.) We are a… “unique” bunch, to put it mildly.

At rehearsal tonight, we got to the scene where Rocky is “born” – i.e., jumps out of the tank and runs around singing “Sword of Damocles.” The guy who plays Rocky is also a rapper. He told us he’d been working on an alternate version of the song – same lyrics, same basic background music but with a rap beat added, and instead of the first set of “Sha-la-la-la that ain’t no crime” verses, he had written a rap. And he asked if he could do it for us, and if we liked it, if he could do that version in the show.

Like I said, we’re kinda weird. Er, unique. Anyway, everybody was enthusiastic, so he played the MP3 of the new version he’d composed and started singing. Got to the rap part and – it was freakin’ HYSTERICAL. Everybody was cracking up…

… especially Laura, who plays Magenta. She was sitting next to me, the music was blaring, and all of a sudden I noticed that she was having a really hard time breathing. I mean, a REALLY HARD TIME.

She managed to grab her purse and get her inhaler, but then she just went out. I grabbed the inhaler and shoved it in her mouth and tried to squeeze it – DAMN, those things are hard to squeeze! I was screaming that she was having an asthma attack and I needed help, but between the music blasting and everybody cracking up at the rap, no one heard me for what seemed like HOURS. It was probably more like 30 seconds or so… meanwhile, Laura was limp and turning blue and I really, truly thought she was going to die right there in front of me.

Like I said… SCARY AS FREAKING HELL. But finally people started realizing something was wrong, and one guy who’s not even in the cast, just showed up because he’s a friend of Riff Raff (well, the guy who plays Riff Raff) came over and helped me get Laura up and get some… whatever it is that’s in inhalers into her.

It took a while, and even once she was conscious and breathing and able to sip a little water, the girl who plays Eddie (well, female Dr. Scott, why not female Eddie? And no, she looks NOTHING like Meatloaf) told me that I was shaking for at least half an hour afterward. I didn’t even realize it.

So you’re probably thinking, “Wait, she said this was kinda COOL?! Seriously WTF?!”

No, Laura nearly dying was NOT AT ALL COOL. But… on our way out, she thanked me for saving her life.

Yeah.

I may have saved a life tonight.

That’s cool as all freaking hell.

And still scary as all freaking hell, too.

Filkin’ Around: “Pally”

 

Our little band of Flower Sniffers of Destiny has been shortmanning raids of late – raids because they’re fun, shortmanning because of the lag monster.

During a fun but failed (because we let too many good guys die) attempt to four-man Defiler of the Just the other night, Seki said that Even seemed impossible to kill.

He mentioned that again tonight, after a successful three-man Fall of Truth and a not quite as successful Fire on Thunder Peak, also three-manned. We were actually not doing badly in FotP until Even accidentally grabbed the aggro of BOTH dragons and couldn’t shake it. PDK flesh must be a gourmet delicacy to dragons; even when she turtled up and let Seki and Gonari – neither of whom is any slouch when it comes to DPS – go after the dragons, all the dragons wanted was paladin shish kebab.

Sooo, no completion since you can’t damage either dragon if they’re near each other, and with them both aggroed hard on Even, there was no way we were going to get them separated. Eventually Seki had to log – real life, sleep, that kind of nonsense.  😉

I considered recalling, but RESPAWNING HELLHOUNDS. And I do not – YET – have a hellhound pet.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. A couple hundred hellhounds later, my fingers were cramping up and I was feeling almost ready to pack it in. Almost, but not quite. “I’ll just keep going until she dies,” I told myself. I figured it wouldn’t be terribly long before I ran out of both mana and Lay On Hands. I was right – kinda. The outdated con-op goggles Even wears, although they took a heck of a beating, kept replenishing her spell points when she got too low to Cocoon. Her Lay on Hands regenerate – not terribly quickly, but fast enough. Oh, and she’s using Terminus, which tosses a hjeal on her every so often when she gets hit.

No, Even wasn’t going down without a fight. “OK,” I thought, “I’m just going to stop hjealing her.”

But there was the not insignificant matter of those random shield hjeals, and then there was this nifty thing called Eternal Defender – short version, if Even’s hit points drop below zero but not lower than her range of unconsciousness, she immediately gets a hjeal. And with her crazy high heal amp, it’s a pretty nice hjeal, too. Oh, and I can’t remember the exact number, but her range of unconsciousness extends pretty far.

I stopped blocking. I took off her armor (Breastplate of the Celestial Avenger). I unequipped her shield…

… none of which helped. She still stood there very much alive for an inordinate amount of time considering there were two dragons, a bevy of magma brutes, hordes of skellies, the occasional necromancer, and, oh yeah, those hellhounds, all trying very hard to kill her.

I don’t know exactly how long she actually lasted. She’d been going for quite a while before I got the idea to start up the video capture, and the first capture went for maybe 10 minutes before failing because I ran out of disk space. (Oops.) After that, I tried to stop each video somewhere around a minute; ended up with four short clips I strung together, chopped the beginning off so it’d match the length of the song, and put on my filk hat. (No, I don’t really have a filk hat. Maybe I should get one.)

tl;dr: I tried really hard to kill Even. It took a while.

Lyrics are NOT in this post because I FINALLY GOT CAPTIONS TO WORK! GO CAPTIONS! If you don’t see them, click the little “CC” button near the bottom right of the player.

Sadly, I don’t know how to contact Dolores O’Riordan to see if she’d sing my lyrics to the Cranberries’ hit “Zombie.” I used Karafun’s karaoke version for this video.

Boldly going…

 

… where no Flower Sniffin’ paladin has gone before.

Even is my go-to toon for – well, pretty much everything. Out of all my toons, she’s the one I get for the tough stuff. She’s the one with 60-ish EE solos and a fair number of solo raids under her belt. I’m not trying to brag; Even happened by accident – I didn’t plan her build  at all, just made it up as I went along, and it ended up working out nicely. I have 18 other Thelanis toons who can’t come close to doing what Even does.

But the one thing Even hasn’t yet been able to do is solo the Shroud. She’s only gotten past Phase 1 once. Darn portal keepers – for some reason, she NEVER seems to be able to find them. Killing them isn’t a big deal, since they go down in one hit. FINDING them – that’s a whole ‘nuther story. So Vale ends up going coterminous and Even gets booted. The one time she DID make it all the way through to Phase 2, she couldn’t beat the fire ele back to the crystal, and I finally got tired of having to prep and kill everything all over again and gave up.

Vic is no Even. She’s a little first-life squishy mechanic rogue with one epic past life. I had never even thought of trying to solo a raid with her. But the other night, she was in a shortmanned heroic Shroud (’cause she was bored and someone was farming shards), and I noticed that when she was on a portal by herself, she was taking it down WAY faster than Even ever did.

“Hmmm,” I said to myself, “I wonder if she could solo Phase 1 at least, because she probably wouldn’t get nearly as many portal keepers as Even does.”

And so, once she was off timer, I gave it a try. Phase 1 went beautifully. Phase 2 went far better than I’d ever expect it to go. But in Phase 3, I made the mistake of trying to solve all the puzzles, and ended up running around a corner straight into the Prismatic Wall of Death.

So tonight I gave it another whirl. Easy cruise through Phase 1, bit more trouble in Phase 2 – think it took me about half a dozen tries to get all four rednames down at once AND beat them back to the crystal. Changed strategy in Phase 3 – didn’t even try to solve puzzles, just shot all the crystals and then ran water to the rooms in the north. And then I sat in the middle and waited… and waited… and waited for the wall to come up, because I didn’t want to risk it dropping on her head.

Once the last fountain had water, I pretty much knew that, barring something REALLY weird happening, she was going to get the completion. She had to kill three or four rounds of gnolls in Phase 4, and the rednames weren’t overly cooperative about separating at the start of Phase 5, but finally it was just Vic and Harry.

And then it was just Vic.

I got the last bit of the end fight on video. Muted the audio, not sure what’s going on there – the game sounds didn’t come through, but there were some loud clanky noises that sounded like bad plumbing.

There are plenty of people who can solo Shroud faster, on a higher difficulty, or both. But it’s not something I ever thought Vic would be able to do at all. So yeah. It feels pretty good!

Nothing left to prove

Victaurya

It’s time.

For four and a half years, my poor Victaurya has been running around Stormreach and Faerun sporting a 28-point build and some of the worst feat choices you can make and still be survivable. She followed a path build until she was level 8 or 9 and until now, has never done any kind of reincarnating – not lesser, not greater, not heroic, not epic. She’s been a true first-lifer; she doesn’t even have all her destinies (or even MOST of her destinies) capped. Heck, she probably hasn’t even tried half of them.

Despite that, she’s actually fared pretty well. She’s not particularly solo-able, although she’s made it through some of the easier EEs on her own, but – IMHO, anyway – she’s a pretty good supporting member of a party. She was my very first toon, and I never really had clear-cut goals for her at the beginning, other than, “Try not to die.”

Over the past few years, as she’s slowly (very slowly) leveled to 28 and I’ve learned a lot more about DDO, I’ve sort of formulated this idea of a Vic who could deal with any trap or lock in the game, deal reasonable DPS, self-heal as much as possible, and be able to survive if she drew aggro.

Well, she’s done all that, and more. I don’t think she’s failed a trap or lock in the entire epic part of her life (tbh, the last time I remember her failing a trap was Chamber of Insanity, and I’m not sure she’s EVER failed to pick a lock). Epic destinies – well, mostly Cocoon – have given her enough self-healing to mostly not need any additional help except in EE.

As for the rest… Friday night, our little band of Flower Sniffers decided to tackle What Goes Up on epic elite. There were four of us: Slvr’s druid, Comic’s arty, Seki’s cleric, and Vic. Slvr and Comic each brought a hireling healer as well, although Garret and Erytheia were mostly more drawback than asset. We are probably not really an EE-caliber group overall, but our philosophy is pretty much, “Hey, let’s try it, if we wipe we can always go again on a lower difficulty.”

Victaurya

Vic, being a rogue and not having a hire, probably had the least self-healing capacity, but died the least, by quite a bit (well, except Seki, but he had to leave halfway through). She also dominated the kill count, ending up with nearly half of our total kills (which surprised me, because Slvr’s druid has some serious DPS). Her UMD, besides being enough to lower all the barriers, also allowed her to throw out heals and rezzes. And several times, she went toe-to-toe with angry orcs and survived without taking serious damage.

I’ve been kinda proud of how well Vic does despite her 28-point build. Her performance in EE WGU made me think that maybe she does pretty well for any build. Not that she’s a rock star, just that I don’t think I could ask for any more from her even if she were a completionist. It’s kind of bittersweet; I have to admit I like getting to the end of a tough quest and having someone send me a tell or say something in party chat like, “I just looked at your profile – wow, you’re still an adventurer build? Nice going!”

So as much as I sometimes want to keep Vic at 28 points forever, I think she’s earned the right to four more build points (not to mention a much better feat selection). A few hours ago, I took her to Reincarnation Grove for an epic TR.

New level 20 Vic feels a little gimpy compared to old level 28 Vic – fewer hit points, lower skills, and all her cool gear now has red boxes around the icons. But she overcame a lot to level to 28 and make herself a valuable, contributing party member. I think she’ll be just fine until she levels up enough to equip all her shinies.

The toon I hate to love

Getting

A few years back, faced with ever-dwindling inventory space because I’m the DDO equivalent of a hoarder, I rolled myself up a bank/haggle toon to hold some of the stuff I didn’t have room for anywhere else.

I named her Getting Even More (get it?). Banking and haggling were ALL she was supposed to do, but I wanted to get the extra inventory and bank slots on her, so I did some Coin Lords and House K favor farming.

And of course, it happened – I started liking her. And I bought her some gear, and all of a sudden she didn’t have room for anyone else’s items because her inventory was full of her own stuff.

When I unlocked Favored Soul, I didn’t have any toon slots available. So I told myself sternly, “Delete Getting and roll up a FvS. She’s never going to be a serious toon anyway.”

Which I did – delete her, that is. And as silly as it may sound, I felt bad about it almost immediately.

But she stayed deleted for, oh, probably two or three years. Then one night, for some reason, something made me think of her. And just as I was thinking of her, Shin said, “Hey, don’t forget it’s Thursday, last day of this week’s DDO store sales. Character slots are on sale until tomorrow.”

It was a sign! It was destiny! I am a Flower Sniffer of Destiny! (No, really, I am – that’s our guild name.)

I bought another character slot – hey, I only had 15 – and rolled up a new Getting. This time, instead of a helf pure bard with royal blue hair, she’s a sun elf 1 cleric/14 bard.

I laid down strict rules – I will spend NO plat, shards, or TP on her. She will get NO new gear unless it 1) drops in my name; 2) no one else in the party wants it; and 3) none of my other toons need it. And she will run NO quests except for Coin Lords and House K favor. Her function is inventory space, and ONLY inventory space. I maxed her Charisma, mostly dump-statted everything else, and took feats I’ve always ignored (Eschew Materials, Augment Summoning) to make her as un-viable as possible. No way was I going to let myself get attached to her.

Oops.

I’ve broken most of those rules. I blame Billy, Dayja, Geek, and a couple of other Monty’s who invited her to run elite Acid Wit with them. I didn’t think she’d make it through the first fight – I was wrong. Oh, she died a few times, but she didn’t die the most, or nearly as often as I thought she would. And her CC and healing weren’t half bad.

Then I soloed the VoN flaggers on elite with her. And not long ago she ran HE Temple of Elemental Evil with Shin, and again had some nice CC going on along with respectable self-healing. (She couldn’t help Shin out there, as he’s a PM.) Granted, she was over level, but I think her degree of intentional gimpy-ness more than made up for that.

Maybe it’s the writer in me that makes me attached to my toons the way I get attached to the fictional literary characters I create. Maybe that’s why I know the back story of every toon pretty much by the time I’m done rolling them up. And maybe that’s why, despite my best intentions, I found myself liking Getting.

So I bought her a sword, and then I spent some TP for a Bouquet of Roses to glamer onto her new sword. Then I thought she needed her own unique look, so I picked out a blonde hair dye from Sere’s rather extensive dye stash, and shelled out a few more TP to get her a new hairdo as well.

But that’s IT. I swear. I’m not getting her anything else.

… no, that’s not me at the AH. Must just be someone who looks like me. Uh-huh. That’s it.

You gotta have hearts

Zak

Maybe it was how well Even’s recent TR turned out that I decided to go on a bit of a reincarnation spree the past two days.

First it was Meren, who’s been wandering through epic levels kind of aimlessly, not sure if she wants to be a healer or a caster or even a melee. I have a friend who’s starting a new toon and wanted a rogue along; I asked Meren (yes, I do talk to my toons) and she reckoned traps were something she could deal with.

Meren

I didn’t want to make a carbon copy of either Vic or Sere, since they’re all individuals in their own right; instead, Meren is going to focus primarily on trap skills and secondarily on DPS and assassinate DCs. We also have a monk, so Meren’s melee damage won’t be crucial.

Next it was Zak’s turn. I considered just swapping out a couple of feats and resetting his enhancements, but since he had something like five lesser hearts in his bank (thanks, MyDDO lottery! I knew you’d come in handy!), I decided to just give him a makeover. It nearly backfired on me when I forgot to put him back into lich form afterwards and got somewhat panicky that his HP and intelligence were a bit lower than before – in form, though, he’s right where he should be.

Riva

And then Riva decided that her charisma was really a bit low for someone who wants to be an undead specialist, so she headed out to Reincarnation Grove as well. She was originally going to be a divine caster, but being the strong-willed Morninglord she is, felt that her talents would be better suited to blasting the un-living crap out of undead.

Now her charisma is maxed, her wisdom is almost maxed, and the rest of her build points went mostly to Con with a few in Str and Int (for skill points). I haven’t taken her out for a spin yet (hey, it’s tiring doing all that reincarnating and leveling up and spending action points and re-populating hotbars), but I did check out her hjeals, and they’re looking pretty good – she hit herself for 966 on a cure light crit.

Evennote

Meanwhile, Even is still having an awesome time tearing through stuff and laughing at anything that attempts to damage her. At level 15, still in mostly the PDK starter gear, she’s got PRR of 120 and MRR of 86, and her base damage with the standard-issue PDK longsword is in triple digits. Heck, on her paladin life, I was stunned if she could crit in triple digits! (LOL, well, not really; she was mostly using Celestia at the time, and that worked fairly well for her. But still.)

I’m also happy to report that she’s back to her usual acid green hair color. Somehow, Even just isn’t Even until her hair is chartreuse. I need to find her some armor that’s more green-ish. Nothing against the PDK armor (oddly enough, while she got all the other PDK starter gear, she didn’t get the armor cosmetic, just the armor itself – good thing she’s not overly partial to it!), it’s just not really Even’s style. She’d really like to have the Deneith armor, the one the guy on the House D splash screen is wearing, but I’m not sure that’s actually available ingame anywhere.

If you count Even’s epic, heroic, and lesser reincarnations, plus Zak and Meren and Riva, that’s six reincarnations in the past few days, which probably close to doubles my total reincarnations, like, EVER. I’m really surprised at how painless it was. I might have to do this more often!

Back where she belongs

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!

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.

Fun for ALL II: A tale of two Souls

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.