VoN 2 3/4

So our pre-stream Sunday night guild chat went something like this:

Me: Wow, the tablet’s cooperating, OBS is cooperating, I’ve got everything set up and ready to go, and still have plenty of time before the stream.

Comic: You know you just jinxed yourself, right?

Me: Haha, yeah, probably.

This is what I get for thinking everything was under control – after having various technical difficulties throughout the stream, the video froze an hour and 20 minutes in. I was going to chop it off after that point, but the audio continues. So if you want to listen, it’s all there; if you want to watch, you’re only going to see VoN 1 and 2 plus about 3/4 of VoN 3.

Just as it freezes, you can hear me saying something about my screen doing weird things. Those “weird things” involved flashing a few times. No idea what happened there. It may have been something to do with my lousy connection – if you watch the little box in the upper right corner, you’ll see it go to yellow a fair few times. Or maybe it was my video card, which was VERY unhappy; the fan kept kicking into Super Ultra High Gear.

Unfortunately I didn’t realize what had happened until someone brought it up in Twitch chat when we were nearly through Haywire Foundry. I had to reboot DDO after The Prisoner, but it was working fine once I signed back on… at least until it, y’know, wasn’t. We’re a bit shy of the beholder area when it goes out.

So you’ll just have to take my word for it that Comic and I were one-shotting mobs left and right with 200K damage rolls and 500K crits. Yep. That really happened. Uh-huh. *wink wink, nudge nudge*

I was actually hoping to pull a Seal of the Sword of Shadow, but – spoiler alert – I didn’t get one. Comic definitely expanded his scroll collection, though! And I don’t think I got too loopy (for me, anyway…); having a bit of a fibromyalgia flare-up after a busy weekend and took a muscle relaxant, which helps but makes me spaced out and groggy for a good 24-36 hours.

If you’ve been to OurDDO since Saturday-ish, you might have noticed that the icons look different, and not in a good way. Back when I still used a free server for it, I stored all my graphics on Photobucket so I wouldn’t have to worry about running out of storage.

Apparently Photobucket, with no notice (or at least none that I ever saw), has changed its policy and no longer allows linking from free accounts. So all of the icons now have a Photobucket message that says, “PLEASE UPDATE YOUR ACCOUNT TO ENABLE 3RD PARTY HOSTING.”

This did not make me happy, but I thought, well, I’ll see how much it is, maybe I’ll just pony up and get it over with.

Nope. Not gonna happen. If you want third-party hosting from your Photobucket, it’ll set you back $39.99…

A MONTH.

Sorry not sorry, I’m not paying $480 a year to be able to link a few dozen icons. So in the near future, I’ll be moving the OurDDO icons to my own server space. They’re icons; it’s not like they’re going to eat up a lot of storage, and I bumped the account up to premium anyway so it’s got scads of space now. Hopefully I’ll get around to that sometime this week. Sucks that Photobucket adds long random character strings to all your filenames; if not for that, I could just do a quick bulk upload and then search/replace the base URL. Wonder if those strings were implemented to try to keep people from doing that?

Oddly enough, the images on this blog that are linked from Photobucket are still working.

It’s been suggested to me, more than once, that I do some kind of fundraising to cover the cost (not specifically the Photobucket thing, but OurDDO in general), but… meh. No one asked me to put OurDDO together (well, OK, back when MyDDO was being taken down, people asked, but I was already in the process of doing it anyway). I used free servers for it for the first couple of years, and it’s really not that expensive for the account I have now. Plus, it was my choice to upgrade the account to premium. It would be, at best, not at all fair to ask my readers and/or viewers (all, what, two of you? ;)) to foot the bill. At worst, it would be… something I probably shouldn’t say if I want to keep this PG-13-ish. Suffice to say I will never be lazy or ignorant enough to beg people to bankroll any aspect of my DDO experience. 🙂

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time on the official DDOstream! The show is also hosted on my own Twitch channel, 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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From flagging to firsties

 

Our efforts to get all the Flower Sniffers flagged for all the things continued with this past weekend’s livestream, when Citi, Rayne, and Even (who was already flagged, but likes the area) headed out to Thunderholme to get flagged for Fire on Thunder Peak and Temple of the Deathwyrm.

Naturally, I got lost and ended up leading them to Sarva first when we’d intended to start with Dagan. Along the way, there was much laughter, a  sprinkling of DPS, and far more bad 80’s songs than one usually finds during late-night groups. And we ran, we ran so far away, we just ran, we ran all night and day-ay-ay… couldn’t get away from the Song That Never Ends, yes it went on and on my friends, one night we started singing it even knowing what it was…

You get the idea.  LOL

Also this past weekend, I was Patrick‘s guest on DDOCast #439, New Player Tips, along with the lovely BonnieBew and Propane. There was some really excellent advice for new-ish players handed out – it’s well worth a listen!

And it got me to thinking. As excellent as the advice was, a lot of it would have been completely over my head when I first started. So I started pondering the idea of doing a second livestream each week, with accompanying blog, aimed at the really, truly new and inexperienced player. Talked it over with Keava, who was totally supportive, and then, purely by coincidence, Citi made a great post about rolling up your first character.

Probably should figure out what else I need to do to get on the official stream list first – already had to bump my start time an hour later to accomodate another stream that IS on the list and wants to bump its time forward an hour, which would lead to an overlap with the start time I’ve been using for the past few months – but what the heck, I’m gonna be streaming whether I’m on the list or not.

So, plan is, pick a night – probably somewhere between Monday and Thursday – and a time – probably midnight – roll up a brand-spankin’-new 28-point free-to-play (something). Probably a rogue, ’cause Citi’s making a paladin, and despite his assurances that his paladin will be fully capable of finding traps via face, it’d be nice to be able to disarm them. No twink  gear, no loans from other toons – 100% newbie compatible. Start with the character creation screen and go from there. Should be fun!

In other news, you might have noticed that OurDDO has been UPDATED! Tried to streamline it a bit, and the blogroll should be pretty current. Removed a couple of blogs that no longer exist or violated the rules. AFAIK, other than blogs in violation, it now has every DDO blog in existence.

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm  MIDNIGHT Eastern time. I’m usually on Thelanis, usually 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!  🙂

Roid rage

 

Every so often, usually when I’m in the middle of something else, I’ll get a tell from Sadie…

“EEEEVVVEEEEEENNNNNN!!!!! Come run Abbot with meeeeeeee!”

Sunday I was trying to decide what I wanted to run for the livestream, so I opened up my quest journal and started looking for things Even hasn’t run yet. Lo and behold, though she’s been flagged for, like, EVER, she’s not yet run Abbot this life. Not sure how that happened – I may owe Sadie an apology, because I REALLY thought I’d run Abbot with her at some point during Even’s current life.

I actually really, intensely dislike Abbot. I won’t go so far as to say “hate,” but… it’s close. A long, long time ago, I was in Abbot and was on roids duty. In case you’ve never run Abbot, aka Ascension Chamber, the best way to handle roids is to use mouselook to aim boulders at ginormous asteroids that hurtle toward your rickety platform.

I happen to HATE mouselook. It is just completely non-intuitive for me. And that night, as I was trying to go into mouselook to better target incoming asteroids, I pressed “R” instead of “T”…

Not once.

Not twice.

Not three times.

FOUR STRAIGHT TIMES (because yes, we kept failing roids and had to redo it that many times), I pressed “R” for “autorun” instead of “T” for “mouselook,” thereby running right off the precarious perch and plummeting to my death.

I’ve had autorun disabled ever since that night. Remarkably, two or three years later, the people from that PuG still ask me to group with them.

 

Even tosses boulders at roids.

 

So I figured going in there was no way I’d get a completion, because even assuming I could get past roids, there would still be tiles (sheer luck to try to solo since you can’t see the tiles) and ice (that one, with Even’s HP and heal amp, at least I had a shot at).

Head in, beat down the Abbot, portals appear. I figured I’d roll to see which one I’d take first – 1 for left, 2 for center, 3 for right. Rolled a 2, clicked the center portal, and… you KNOW where I ended up. Great.

Oh, for any Abbot virgins out there, did I mention that hjealing of all sorts is disabled in roids? The roids come from all directions. If you don’t hit them with boulders in time, they smack into your little platform, dealing damage that you CANNOT HEAL.

No, I didn’t make it through roids. But then again, I never expected to. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised that I didn’t manage to run off the tiny platform, seeing as how I was in mouselook-that-I-hate, and even more surprised that I managed to take out what seemed (to me) to be a fair number of roids before they finally got the best of me. It was actually pretty fun, which is something I rarely say about Abbot… who knows, maybe I’ll try again sometime!

 

Keava and Getting do EE Demonweb.
Also this past week, Even continued to NOT get a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers from yet more Two-Toed Tobias runs. On a happier note, Keava talked Getting the intentionally-gimped bank bard into running Demonweb on EE. I didn’t think she’d survive the first fight… but we made it through Trial by Fury and The Deal and the Demon successfully before we realized it was bedtime.

So much for, “She’s JUST a bank toon. I’m NEVER going to play her!” Yeah, she’s now level 23 and one quest away from being flagged for Caught in the Web. despite being OH-so-gimpy. I was surprised that her CC generally worked pretty well on the rather resistant Drow in Demonweb and Sschindylryn… and wow, I also just realized that she can turn in the first saga if she wants to, just skip Reclaiming the Rift, and get credit for true elite. Go Getting!

She really does kinda suck, but it’s fun to play a toon who wears a giant mushroom on her head, beats things up with a bouquet of flowers, and never takes anything seriously.

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time. I’m usually on Thelanis, usually 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!  🙂

Of pets and raids and EE Shindy


This past Sunday’s livestream featured Even and Gonari duoing the epic elite Sschindylryn chain. Keava couldn’t join in, as he was splitting his time between work and leveling up his newly-TRed warlock… maybe that’s why this week, while there were certainly some laughs, nobody tried to grab Elminster’s thingie, or offered their Pale Rod to anyone, or told everyone to stop beating up Draya Dun’Robar so we could check and see if the Drow commander was male or female. Must work on that!

Next week’s livestream will probably be EE Demonweb. DRETCHES! Yay! You can watch live at 11 pm Eastern time on Sunday by visiting my Twitch channel.

 

Blonde bear cub

 

The past week also marked the acquisition of Dandelion, my new blonde bear cub cosmetic pet, aka Creature Companion #94. Just finished a run of Fall of Truth to farm wraiths; still need nearly 2,400  of those for the wraith pet. I don’t get it. Vey doesn’t play nearly as much as I do, doesn’t farm wraiths, and only needs about 900. And then it will be on to the rust monster, unless of course DDO introduces another cosmetic pet that’s easier to farm. *koff*DRETCHALREADY*koff*

 

Seven Flower Sniffers at once!

 

But the BEST thing that happened last week was our Friday guild night, when we had seven – SEVEN! – Flower Sniffers on at the same time! And in the same quest! We’d nearly given up on Runn when she finally showed up… and told us she had never, ever run Chronoscope before, ever. We were in the bank fight by that time, so we told her where to find the quest and how to get to the tavern, and then ran back and collected her. And passed her some loot, because she DID NOT PIKE! She told us! Keava made it on despite the U.S./Australia time difference, new guildie Cerah also made it for what I think was her first guild night run with us, and we even talked Citi into rolling up a toon and joining us! The stars must have been aligned pretty well, or maybe it’s the strawberry moon that’s out tonight… we were only short Shin and Seki, who have this weird concept about real life coming before DDO. Pffft.  LOL

‘Twas a super fun run that went amazingly well – elite Chrono at level can be a bit dicey, especially with a first-timer, a transplant from another server with no gear, and two members who haven’t played much DDO in quite a while… not to mention five PuGgers of unknown origin. But I’m pretty sure we had only three or four deaths total, which was less than the number of Hellfire Crossbows that dropped and weren’t wanted by anyone!

Hopefully this Friday we’ll get another good Flower Sniffin’ turnout for guild night. Hmmm… I’m not normally much into PvP, but a guild one might be fun. I might even stream that!

A little break from reality

Sundays at 11 pm Eastern has been working out quite well as a livestreaming slot for me. Still waiting to be added to the official schedule – maybe “soon*” ™?

Listening to, watching, and reading the news over the past few days… well, “depressing” is an understatement there. Forget that the two likely candidates for President of the United States are people of, erm, questionable integrity at best, IMHO. That’s old news. The election hasn’t happened yet. There’s still a chance for a happy ending. (Yep, I #FeelTheBern.)

Senseless violence, though… different story there. Was about to go to bed Friday night when I saw a headline that former “The Voice” contestant Christina Grimmie had been shot by a fan and was in critical condition.

I’ve been watching the show for several years now. I remember Christina. I liked her when she was on. She wasn’t my favorite, but I was happy that she ended up in the top three. The last thing she tweeted that night was, “ORLANDO!! Come out to the show tonight at the Plaza Live! Starts at 7:30!😎”

She never got the chance to tweet again. She was signing autographs after the show when a man walked up to her and shot her. Just like that. I stayed up that night waiting for news of her condition. Unfortunately, when word finally came, it wasn’t good. Bright, talented, 22 years old… gone. Just like that. No reason. Incredibly freaking sad.

And just one night later, a shooting spree in a nightclub, also in Orlando. Fifty people dead. More than that injured. Because some douchebag thought he had the right to kill people who didn’t love the way he thought they should.

It touched a nerve for me. My best friend is gay; I’m going to her wedding in July. My brother is gay. Some of the people I care about most are gay or bi. I am having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around the fact that there are people who want to kill them – KILL THEM – for being who they are. And I simply cannot understand why so many Americans vehemently, even violently, oppose any form of gun control.

But this is supposed to be a blog about DDO, not a soapbox. So I’ll get to that in a minute. First, though… be kind to each other. Cut the negative people out of your life and focus on the ones who make you laugh, who inspire you, who support you, who love you. Appreciate them. Cherish them.

So after everything that went on, it was a good feeling to log into DDO Sunday night, fire up the livestream, grab Keava and Slvr, and laugh our way through the Eveningstar chain. Slvr and I were over level, but SAGAS. I probably should’ve brought someone other than Even since Even can cruise through that stuff solo, but Even was who I wanted to play. She’s the one who’s the most like real-life me, and sometimes that matters.

Sunday’s run was just what I needed. In between liberating the Midlers (or are they the Milders? C’mon, DDO, a little consistency!), ridding Eveningstar of evil necromancers, leading Ana around (she wandered off and got lost once – maybe she needs some Bigby’s Guiding Hands), lighting bonfires, and comparing giant bebeliths to Herb Tarlek’s top account on “WKRP in Cincinnati” (yeah, you’re gonna have to watch the vid if you want to know about that one), we had a running gag about Elminster’s… thingie.

See, the night before, we’d taken a jaunt through King’s Forest. Keava and Slvr had already done a full circuit, but my intentionally-gimped bank bard Getting had never set foot in there, so she needed allllll the explorers. Y’know, those little snowflake things with messages from Elminster. I’d taken a quick side trip to pick up one I missed, Keava asked me what I was doing, and without thinking, I said, “I’m just over here grabbing Elminster’s thingie.”

So even a night later, we were still laughing about that. And then Keava opened a chest and asked if anyone wanted a Pale Rod… yeah, I think that probably deserves a Button of Winning!

Thanks, guys. I needed that. 🙂

One last party

 

Alas, poor Jeets, I knew him, Malicia.

I was really glad that Turbine extended the 10th anniversary event by one more day, because last night – when I’d originally been planning to run it one last time – I ended up farming hellhounds to get the hellpup pet. (And finally, success! … yes, that’s 93.  LOL)

So tonight, after a great time running mid-levels with guildies, I started up the stream and headed off to House P for one last hurrah. And hurrah it was. Pretty sure I talked to every NPC, and clicked the Oracle until I’d gotten what I believe are most or all of the tips (well, it took that long before mine came up, LOL).

The resulting video is kind of long as a result, but now I have the event immortalized on my hard drive… and my YouTube account.

I hope Turbine brings back at least the anniversary dungeon every year. I had loads of fun with it, and seems a shame to go to the trouble of developing it to keep it around for a month and a half and then toss it for good.

Many kobold shrieks, slaughtered devs, and creepy Jeets thoughts later, I’ve gotta hand it to DDO for an awesome event. Thank you!  🙂

Think Pink!

 

Meant to get this posted sooner, but due to technical difficulties… Anyway!

I’ve been lucky enough to get to run not one, but TWO Shrouds with Geoff, Judye, Tholgrin, Bonnie Bew, the good (if short) folks of Halfling Commandos and Torchwood, and – most importantly – Raid Princess PINK!

I rolled up a brand-new (and brand-newly-gimped) bladeforged pally named Foiled Again for the event. She killed a few things. Very few. I’m blaming her starter gear. Uh-huh, yeah, that’s it. I wasn’t the only one in the party with a sword inadequacy… but that’s a story for another time.

We went in on normal (because lag) for our inaugural attempt, and it went amazingly well. Disappointingly few shards dropped, but looked like Pink picked up a fair few ingredients, at least. I presented her with a bouquet of  flowers to celebrate her first-ever Shroud, and Bonnie gifted her with her very own fiendling companion!

In fact, the first attempt went so VERY well that when we went in again a week or two later, we decided to try it on hard. That… didn’t go as well, LOL. We weren’t doing badly until Phase 4 and THE BLADES. OH, THOSE BLADES. At last Bonnie was the only one left alive, and rather than spend time and resources trying to push through, we opted to start over on normal. More ings and a few shards for Pink, and  more fun!

I didn’t stream our first Shroud, but Bonnie did, and you can watch it here!

Pink did AMAZINGLY well – far better, for sure, than I did in my first Shroud or two or 10. Thank you guys SO MUCH for including me!  🙂

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!

Players Helping Players launches

Players Helping Players

As promised, Players Helping Players is now up and running! It’s still in its infancy, but I have big plans for it.

Friday night I happened to be on Thelanis at the same time as Dean from DDO University. He’d seen my earlier post about getting Players Helping Players started and very kindly offered any help I needed, including the use of his content. He also has guilds and teaching characters on every server.

As part of Players Helping Players, I’ve been debating adding a forum to OurDDO – not to compete in any way with the official DDO forum, but to provide an alternative source to get help. Unlike Turbine, I don’t have to deal with the issue of offending paying customers, because I don’t have any. So I’ll have much more freedom to edit or delete posts that troll, grief, or bully, and to sanction users who make such posts.

If I add the forum, it will undoubtedly be a much, MUCH smaller community than the official DDO boards, so the pool of knowledge will also be smaller. But I’m hoping that the smaller population will also mean a more friendly and welcoming experience for players who want help with DDO basics.

I’d really love some feedback on this. Do you like the idea of adding a forum to OurDDO? Why or why not? If implemented, what features would you like to see? What features do you think should NOT be included? Would you use the forum, and if so, for what?

A big THANK YOU to everyone who’s been supportive of OurDDO and Players Helping Players – I could never undertake either without the help and support I’ve gotten!

Under the bridge

Eveningstar bridge

I’ve been told that I’m too obsessed with the way some overly elitist people treat other players who they feel don’t measure up to their high standards.

Not surprisingly, the few people who’ve said that to me are some of the most overly elitist players I’ve ever come across. Yes, equality for all in DDO is a soapbox I’m happy to jump on. I’ve seen a number of my friends leave the game over the treatment they received from people whose egos far outstrip their intelligence.

For what it’s worth, ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you I’m just as obsessed outside of DDO; I’m very committed to equality and safety for ALL. Race, religion, gender, orientation, nationality – bullies use all kinds of excuses to try to make other people feel bad about themselves. So if you think I’m overly obsessed, I think you’re the one with the problem.

Reading this post really opened my eyes to just how bad some Internet trolls are. In case you don’t want to read the whole thing (it’s a bit lengthy), the tl;dr version is that a woman discovers her husband has been bullying people online. When she confronts him, he admits it and refuses to stop, even when she tells him she’s leaving him. This guy chose to lose his wife – who happens to be pregnant with his child, btw – rather than stop bullying.

I’ve experienced bullying at many levels. I choose to say, “I’ve experienced bullying” rather than, “I’m a victim of bullying” because bullying is a reflection on the bully, not on his or her subject. I’m not defined by what any bully says or does to me. I’ve been bullied at one time or another by family members, schoolmates, co-workers, and yes, DDO players.

I’ve often heard that the Internet is a hospitable atmosphere for bullying because of the anonymity. Some people feel invulnerable when they have a computer screen to hide behind. But unlike some, I believe the Internet only facilitates bullying rather than causing it. Someone who bullies people, whether online or off, lacks basic human decency. Some people are just much better at hiding it in public, I guess; I’ve certainly never wanted to deliberately make someone else feel bad about him- or herself just because the Internet would make it easier for me to “get away” with it. Intentionally inflicting distress on another person is wrong. Period.

That’s no consolation to people who are being bullied. It’s hard to know the right thing to do. People who aren’t involved find it easy to say, “Oh, just ignore it.” In my experience, that really doesn’t help. Like, AT ALL. Most of the bullies I’ve seen in action are attention whores. The more you ignore them, the angrier they get. It’s as if they feel, “How DARE your world not revolve around me! I’ll show YOU!”

But even though ignoring a bully doesn’t help and may actually make the situation worse, it’s often still the best option. Trying to stand up to a bully on one’s own is largely futile; trying to reason with one, even more so. Bullies are very good at twisting your words around, completely ignoring the parts that make them look bad and taking the rest out of context. They’re also very good at lying about their behavior and denying what they’ve said, even to the point of deleting or heavily editing their posts.

In fact, bullies who are confronted about their behavior often paint THEMSELVES as the victims. “I didn’t mean anything by it! You’re too sensitive! Why are you picking on me?” It’s hard to call them on their bullying, because they have a million and one excuses designed to gain sympathy for themselves and make YOU look like the bad guy. Yes, they really do think that they should be allowed to say anything to anyone, no matter how hurtful, and that the only time there’s “bullying” is when someone tells them their behavior isn’t acceptable.

This kind of thing happens all too often in DDO. Players are ridiculed for having the “wrong” build or gear. They’re jumped on for honest mistakes.

Friday night, I led a Tower of Despair learning run. One of the guys who joined typed in party chat that he didn’t have sound so he couldn’t hear spoken instructions (which incidentally is something I’ve also seen players bullied over and even kicked from parties, because people are too lazy/conceited/whatever to take a few extra seconds and type stuff out if needed).

The LFM clearly stated that this was a relaxed pace learning run with my usual “gimps/first-timers welcome” clause, so I told the group, both over voice and in text chat, that I’d be taking a little extra time at the start of each phase to type out instructions. At this point, I got a tell from the guildmate of the guy with no sound. Turns out he’s deaf and had never run a ToD before, in no small part because no raid leader would ever take the time to type.

Well, we got him through it just fine, and he did very well. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I had when he opened the end chest and pulled his first-ever Shavarath trophies. Seriously. Best ToD EVER (which was also because Slvr was tanking shadows for the first time ever, AND doing it on his “gimpy” – his words, not mine – hagglebard, and he rocked it! And because Bonnie ran with us!).

I have friends who take grief because they don’t use mics, although they do have sound. I can only imagine the abuse this poor guy has had to deal with. But now, I have some new people on my friends list, and there’s one more player on Thelanis who now knows how to do ToD.

If you’re wondering what you can do to support people who are bullied, my suggestion is pretty much what we did Friday night. No, you don’t necessarily have to host ToD, but BE THERE for people who are bullied. Make an effort to include them and make them feel welcome without patronizing them.

Publicly befriending a bullied person, IMHO, does far more to stop bullying than trying to deal with the bully. It also takes the focus off the person being bullied without putting it directly on yourself, AND lets the bullied person know he or she is not alone.

If you’d like to learn more about how this works and why, I suggest taking a look at an excellent article about Feminista Jones’ #YouOKSis campaign. While Jones specifically aims to stop street harassment of black women, the principle behind her idea works for any kind of bullying behavior.

Because of the nature of bullies, I’m aware that I’m likely to get a lot of hate for this post. Bring it on. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m bullying the bullies, although I’m sure some of them will try to paint it that way. The difference is that what I’ve said is not intended to shame, humiliate, embarrass, or otherwise upset anyone, nor is it intended to put anyone down. I could sit here and tell people about bullies, but that’s just my opinion. To really see a bully for what he or she is, you have to see him or her in action. So if you’re hatin’, let it fly. Show us your true colors.

And since I haven’t done one in a while, I decided to throw in a filk. “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers works well here. After all, trolls live under bridges. But it’s also appropriate because RHCP vocalist Anthony Kiedis wrote it to express the pain he felt at being ostracized by his bandmates after he got himself off of drugs. His struggle to still be part of the group while staying “clean” parallels the difficulty many of us have in being part of guilds or parties made up of people who troll or bully others.

Under the Bridge
(With apologies to Anthony Kiedis and Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Sometimes I feel
Like I can’t find a party
Sometimes I feel
I can’t get a chance
To join in the fun and
Be part of the action
Lonely I wander
With just an owlbear

I solo some sagas
‘Cause the groups are elitist
I work on my hit points
And beef up my gear
Still some parties shun me
They tell me I’m too gimped
I say it’s no big deal
But that is a lie

Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Yeah, yeah, yeah

It’s hard to believe
That some players are so cruel
It’s hard to believe
How they hate all the rest
At least I have honor
Kindness and compassion
Lonely is nothing
Compared to hatred

Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?

Oh no, no no, yeah, yeah
Grow up, I say, yeah, yeah
For once

Under the bridge the trolls
Laugh and sneer and smirk
Under the bridge the trolls
Flame and act like jerks
Under the bridge the trolls
Show their nasty sides
Under the bridge the trolls
Make up all their lies

Yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh no, no, no
Yeah, yeah

Stop the hate

Fun for ALL IV: Stop. Think. Win.

Seregeth

I’m a firm believer in the idea that a reasonably intelligent player on a gimped toon beats an idiot on an ubertwink 99.99% of the time.

Sere, my Shadar-Kai assassin rogue, definitely fits the “gimped” category. I really need to do some shopping and/or farming for her; at level 22, she’s still wearing mostly the stuff she came with. What few things she has that I’ve gotten her are still nothing to write home about – for example, I put her in a Parasitic Breastplate about five levels ago and still haven’t gotten her anything better. And she needs a +2 Con shrine to reach the 400-hit point mark.

So the other night, when Vey asked me if I had anyone 20-24 to run EE Carnival, the last toon I was thinking of was Sere. I told Vey I’d bring Chalei, and he said, “We could really use a trapper.”

Well, Vic’s a dandy trapper, IMHO, but she’s lvl 27. So I said, jokingly, “Great, I’ll get Sere and you can carry her stone from trap to trap.”

And Vey was all, “Bring her.” Which made me all, “OMG NOOOO, she’s gonna diiiieeeee!” But Vey kept being all, “BRING HER. She’s not gonna die. You’ll be fine.”

Oh, and did I mention we were short-manning without a healer? This had disaster written all over it.

Except it didn’t. Sere died a total of twice in all four quests combined, once when Crateos one-shotted her (which also took out one of our other party members). I can’t remember what her other death was; think it might have been a caster in Partycrashers. She needed a GH to find the traps a few times (and oops, she probably wouldn’t have if I’d remembered to swap in her search/spot item) but had no trouble disarming them.

And no… she did NOT pike. In fact, in three of the four quests, she finished second in the kill count, and definitely had enough kills in each of them to show that she was contributing.

Sere’s ability to be productive in epic elite content was definitely not the result of her build or gear. Nor was it any great skill on my part. I didn’t do anything that required a genius IQ or uber playing ability. But, I didn’t do anything *stupid* either.

Seregeth

I know Sere’s HP is low. I know she probably won’t survive pulling aggro. So I kept her in sneak mode most of the time, let the rest attack first and grab aggro, and only then did I move in. Pretty simple, really – but my gimpy toons have more than once carried the soulstones of better-built, better-geared characters played by people who rushed into a fight without thinking about the best way for them to approach it.

It helped that by the time we got to Big Top, we had a paladin who tossed a few Lay On Hands Sere’s way, and someone – think it was the bard – threw her a Cocoon from time to time. And it really helped that the rest of the party were smart, experienced players who were very good at keeping a gimpy undergeared rogue alive.

Sere was still about 20K short of level 22 when we finished the chain. A quick two-man EN Snitch with Vey almost did the trick – she was still 137 XP shy. Vey DDoored back to the start while Sere was still trying to figure out what she could trash to make inventory space for her shiny epic loot, and did one of the optionals to get her to 22.

I think a green steel HP item would be a good first step in un-gimping Sere. She flagged for Shroud a while back but hadn’t run it yet. Seemed like every time I put up an LFM, we filled without a healer so I ended up switching to Jall. (My groups are always gimp/first-timer friendly, so running without hjealz is not a great idea.) Last night she finally got her chance, and again managed to get a decent number of kills without dying herself (well, y’know, except for that one part after Phase 4). People were great about passing her shards of power, and she ended up with one regular, one great and one supreme. Looks like I’ll be doing some GS crafting tomorrow!

Earlier last night, Chalei ran her first ToD and had a great time once she managed to get and stay online. In the first run, we’d just dropped down to the doggie doors when I got a blue screen of death. Once I got the computer back up and running, it took me several tries before I could get all the way on DDO without crashing, and it was a nice surprise to find that someone had grabbed Chalei’s soulstone from the penalty box and carried it along so I wouldn’t be stuck there when I got back. The party was in Phase 2 by the time I got back on, and I crashed again about 10 seconds after I got rezzed, so I was kinda glad to get back on yet again and find out that there’d been a mishap with the shadows and they wiped, because that meant another chance for Chalei.

Second run went much smoother, except that Chalei was kinda forced to pike against Nyth. Any time she hit him with anything, he immediately aggroed *hard* on her. So she ended up having to stand off to one side blocking; I had some cure scrolls at the ready figuring that maybe she could at least be useful that way, but our two hjealers did a great job keeping everyone’s red bars up.

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.