Sleepless in Thelanis

Sere vs. Cenodoxus

 

Ah, another sleepless night. Good time for a blog!

Even was midway through yet another EE Two-Toed Tobias run when newest Flower Sniffer Citi signed on tonight. We completed that in short order and, after a bit of debate, decided to start flagging for Tower of Despair.

Even’s flagged, of course – heck, she’s been soloing it on elite for months now – but assassin rogue Sere is not. So I logged her in and set off for Amrath with Citi on his cleric.

We had trouble getting the quests to open at first, but at last, while we were, like, MILES away killing random stuff in the wilderness, the dialogue box FINALLY popped up. (What’s going on with that? It’s been happening a lot lately.) We tore through Genesis Point first, nice easy run, and then tackled Sins of Attrition, also pretty easy except for “someone” forgetting that there were undisableable (YES, that’s a word if I say it is) air jet traps and getting blown up into the spikes and killed.  *g*

And I got a pretty nice screenie of Sere fighting Cenodoxus, which sorta makes up for not playing her in so long that when she got to the Twelve, she got a message that she’d completed the Midwinter Festival.

 

Twins!

 

A few nights before that, I’d dropped a Sands guest pass on Amie the free-to-play alt. Citi brought his 13 paladin, and we dashed through the desert side quests. The biggest problem we had there was that Amie had a hard time telling Citi apart from his hireling. Look at that screenie – they’re practically twins! It’s bad enough that I sometimes find myself following a blue dot that turns out to be a hireling. It’s even worse when I can’t tell who’s the real player and who’s the hireling when they’re standing right in front of me!

Amie had enough time left on her guest pass to finish a slayer/rare/explorer run the next night. Citi showed up about the time she’d cleared out the undead area, and I surprised both of us by knowing the way to most of the explorer points. Had to check wiki for the Crow’s Nest – for some reason I can NEVER find that one on my own. Gotta do the flagging quests next, but she’ll need a fresh pass – or I could just move her on to Gianthold, since I bought that for her when it was on sale a while back.

 

Even and Stormreaver

 

Even is still Cursed-Blade-of-Jack-Jibbers-less. I’m convinced now that Jack is sekritly a kobold wraith who remembers what Even did to him in Waterworks a little too well.

Meanwhile someone was asking me about soloing EEs and raids earlier tonight, and wanted to know which ones Even had completed. I’d made a New Year’s resolution in 2015 to try to solo more raids, EEs, and generally tougher content. Her list of EEs is at 60-some quests now, so I’m not going to list all those (I’m lazeh like that). Raids, though – she does Fall of Truth on EN on a regular basis, mostly to farm wraiths (about five more runs until she gets the pet), and has done it on EH a few times. Besides wraiths, she also gets to admire the Stormreaver’s pretty hair!

She’s also successfully soloed EE Chrono and Demon Queen, EN Lord of Blades and Master Artificer, and elite Tower of Despair, Vision of Destruction, and Reaver’s Fate. Most of the others I haven’t tried yet. She has issues with the portal masters in Phase 1 of Shroud (which Vic has soloed successfully on heroic normal) – she can’t FIND them. A couple of stabs at Caught in the Web have ended with her getting knocked off by the legs.

And a few nights ago, she made her second try at legendary normal Tempest’s Spine – her first attempt was thwarted because her Int wasn’t high enough to get the runes. So I bought her some +14 Int goggles to swap in, grabbed some Yugo pots and the House D pots that stack with almost everything, and tried again. Went much better this time; she even did the drow optional (although I was cursing a lot in guild chat about those damned drow). She got all the way to the dropdown point right before the end fight, where there’s a big mean beholder you have to get past to get to Sor’jek’s portal – she was running around trying to stay behind the beholder and somehow got stuck on the ladder. Tried to jump off and kept ending up right back on it, to the tune of nine negative levels, one disintegrate, and a very disheartening ding.

As she keeps telling Jack Jibbers, maybe next time!

No wraith for the weary (yet)

 

Even though my cosmetic pet count is up to 93 thanks to some serious hellhound farming, I’m not ready to quit yet. And many thanks to Geoff Hanna for his very nice tribute to my pet collection!  🙂

But oh, those last two pets I need – wraith and rust monster from the Monster Manual – are NOT gonna be easy. Or quick.

As far as I know, there’s no good place that has respawning rust monsters. I’d heard the acid part of ToEE2 did, but I spent probably an hour and a half running around in there. Know how many rustie respawns there were? Two. Yeah. I could’ve run the start of Gwylan’s or Stromvauld many, many times in that span. Or even Threnal Arena. Or Rainbow, or Ataraxia. Or even VoN 5.

The end fight of Siegebreaker does have respawning rusties… but at a rate of only about one per minute, meh. Definitely better than ToEE, but hardly efficient.

Wraiths are a bit easier. I could run part 3 of Delera’s over and over (although I should mention that running anything over and over is totally not my idea of fun… unless it’s the Pit…). I could make laps around Tomb of the Shadow King and cull out the wraiths from all the other respawning undead, which is about as efficient as Siegebreaker for rusties, which is to say not very efficient at all.

But there’s one more place where you can get a few hundred wraiths per hour, IF you have a toon who can handle it. For 18 of my 19 toons on Thelanis, that doesn’t apply.

Luckily, though, I have Even (as in Even the toon, just so you know I’m not referring to myself in the third person). And Even has set a couple of goals for herself, namely to try and solo tougher content, specifically raids and epic elites. So a while back, she made her first stab at soloing Fall of Truth. Didn’t work out – she had only a non-epic Bow of the Silver Flame for a ranged weapon and ran out of arrows looooong before the crystal was shattered. But I noticed that there are a whole, whole, WHOLE bunch of wraiths in there.

Besides, Even loves Fall of Truth, because the Stormreaver shares her chartreuse hair color. (OK, Turbine calls it “acid green.” But close enough. And YES, Slvr, chartreuse is a real color.  :P)

If you want to farm as many wraiths as possible from FoT, it’s actually pretty simple – don’t kill Bjorn the Liar and the Disciple of Lies. Because as long as they’re alive, they’ll spawn wraiths. And the Stormreaver will be nice enough to kill those wraiths for you while you fight the other stuff. I definitely recommend taking down the other two dragon/giant pairs, though – as the video from this week’s Sunday stream shows, my video card does NOT like dealing with their ice storms and dancy balls.

At a rate of 300 wraiths per hour, I think I need about 12 more hour-long farming runs to finally get my violet wraith pet. And then, rusties, look out, because Even’s gonna be coming for ya!

And then there were 89

Violet cube!

I thought February had already been a pretty good month for cosmetic pets. First the fiendling companions – standard, magma, and shadow – and they JUGGLE! Then the invisible mini-stalker; I’d like to take credit for that, since back in early April 2013, I wrote a blog post that included the line, “It’s probably a bit late for the April Fools’ Day post I had planned, complete with screenshots of my new Invisible Stalker pet.” But I think it’s just coincidence that there is now indeed an Invisible Stalker pet. (If they ever release a dretch pet, that is TOTALLY on me – but that’s a topic for a whole ‘nuther post.)

The three fiendlings and Claude, the Invisible Stalker, put me at 88 pets. I had just four left to go: the wraith, rust monster, and hellhound from the Monster Manual, all within reach if I want to do some serious grinding, and… the violet gelatinous cube-let, which drops only in the raids Fall of Truth and Caught in the Web.

Claude the Invisible Stalker!

And from all accounts, the violet cube is a very, VERY rare drop. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anyone with one. Wiki says that it drops on all difficulties, so I’d taken to farming EN Fall of Truth (because I think that even if Even could survive EH solo, it’d be too grindy to bear, and I get too lost in CitW). Then a friend told me that it only drops on elite. I despaired. I almost never see FoT LFMs, and I knew damn well that Even was not ready to try to solo that on EE.

So I gave myself a break from FoT and started working on getting some more solo raids and EEs done. Managed to add Belly of the Beast, Chamber of Raiyum (aka Wiz King), Desecrated Temple of Vol, Master Artificer, and Lord of Blades to Even’s list.

The pillars in LoB glitched – everything was dead except Ol’ Shiny himself, but the pillars wouldn’t go “live” so I could kill them. And as long as I couldn’t kill them, I couldn’t kill the LoB. Took him down four or five times, but he’d bring himself right back at full health. So I finally sent in a ticket and got a great GM who got that solved for me.

Juggling fiendlings!

Was fighting the flu and feeling pretty poorly, so I was thinking of going to bed after I got done selling and repairing from LoB. And then Slvr said something like, “Hey, wanna do an FoT while my bard hides in a corner?”

Oh, what the heck, I thought; I can’t sleep anyway, my head’s too stuffed up. So off to Chez Stormreaver we went.

Maybe it was the flu, maybe I was rolling badly, but it was the most freaking worst time I’ve ever had in there “solo” (since Slvr was, as promised, hiding in a corner). The Stormreaver killed the Silence dragon while I was still working on the Confusion pair. I was getting lambasted by one “boom” after another. And there were about 10 times more air eles than I EVER remember seeing in there on ANY difficulty. I had to redo Confusion because once the giant was down, the eles blew me across the room just before I could give the dragon his final cleave.

Same thing happened when I thought I was about to finish – had the Stormreaver and Truthful One both at such mere slivers, you couldn’t see any red in their bars. Killed the Stormreaver and went to hit Light the Dark, which would most likely have done in TO, and the stupid air eles tossed me to the other side of the room.

By the time I finally managed to get them both down within a few seconds of each other, Slvr had gone from a bard hiding in a corner to a soulstone hiding in a corner, and I had gone from, “Sure, I could go for a FoT” to “DEATH TO ALL AIR ELES! NEVER AGAIN!”

We opened the first three chests. Nothing of note save one lonely heroic comm for Even.

I opened the last chest. Nada.

Slvr opened the last chest. And linked…

A VIOLET GELATINOUS CUBE-LET PET.

I squeed. A lot. Loudly. And named her after Slvr’s bard, who loves purple.

Claude the Invisible Stalker!

Five new pets in about a week – yeah, that’s a damn good week, LOL. That brings the total number of pets in Even’s Home for Wayward Creature Companions to 89.They can often be seen on the fourth lower deck of our ship, where they like to head over to Otto’s Irresistible Dance Hall and boogie with the various creatures who wander in from the Wild Grove across the way. And even though 89 is a LOT, they all get a shot at having fun. Some of my toons have “preferred” pets – Even tends to run with the black panther cub a lot, as it looks like (and is named for) my real-life kitty. Vic the mechanic loves having her bronze golem to tinker on; Ivy the BF pally likes the steel golem because it’s nearly as shiny as she is. Dissy has a special bond with the pink fire ele, which looks marvelous paired with her lavender hair. Reera the swashbuckler, like any good pirate, has a parrot – a scarlet macaw to match HER hair.

Incidentally, Claude, as shown in the inset, is not invisible to everyone. Sadie got this snap and sent it to me via Facebook. Slvr said he can see Claude’s outline as well. But all I can see are his pirate hat and floaty text. I’m OK with that – after all, he’s an Invisible Mini-stalker, not a Nearly Invisible Mini-stalker.

Not that they don’t switch things up now and then; Vic and assassin Sere appreciate Claude the Invisible Mini-stalker’s transparency when they’re trying to sneak past enemies. Reera really likes Claude too – he looks great in his pirate hat (sorta like when you kill pirates in 3BC and their hats float in midair for a while afterwards). The violet cube goes with Dissy’s hair at least as well as the pink fire ele.

Mini Harry gathers power!

Eighty-nine down, three to go – anyone want to do some Monster Manual farming with me on Thelanis? 😀

Just killin’ time

Even

I was going to play some DDO tonight once I finally got to the computer, but alas – DDO is down; YAY! – it’s because U29 is getting up and running!

So then I remembered, “Hey! I have a DDO blog! A sadly neglected DDO blog… but a DDO blog nonetheless.” And I figured, even if I’m the only one who reads it, this is a great way for me to keep a record of what my toons have been up to and what they’re planning on being up to next.

I’m now up to 18 – yes, EIGHTEEN – toons on Thelanis, which is pretty much the only place I play any more. Even had taken a bit of a break for a while as I worked on leveling up a couple of her brothers and sisters, but after being caught off guard by the last two guild renown weekends happening at very inopportune times for me, I resolved to GET SAGAS DONE NAO. Next renown weekend, I’ll be prepared.

Our little band of Flower Sniffers is up to level 95 – not bad considering only two of us play most nights. Even’s nearly done with the epic Eveningstar sagas, all on true elite, and is rather proud that she soloed her way through most of the quests. She just needs two more Wheloon quests to have them all done. She’s also halfway through a true elite epic Gianthold saga, and hasn’t started epic 3BC yet. I’m thinking that just with the sagas she has completed, and a few scattered ones that other toons are holding on to, with renown pots (which I’ve stocked up on thanks to some really nice sales) and our small guild bonus, I think we have enough renown banking in sagas to get to 100. Hopefully we can get all of us on for the guild fame announcement… and then I think we should all strip naked (our toons, that is… anything else is a personal decision *g*), head into some quest we’re wildly over-level for *koff*PIT*koff*, and put a serious dent in Acanthia’s stash of nearly 1,200 Potions of Wonder.

Even also finally realized her goal of soloing Fall of Truth, even though it came about in kind of an odd way – I originally only went in there thinking it’d be a great place to farm wraiths for the Monster Manual pet. But after a while, she noticed that the wraiths really weren’t spawning any more. I was going to recall, and then I thought, ah, what the heck, let’s see how far she can get.

After she got each of the dragon/giant pairs down on her first try, I started thinking maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. When her handy thunderforged throwing axe made much shorter work of the crystal than her non-epic Bow of the Silver Flame had in her only previous solo attempt, I let myself get cautiously optimistic. But it wasn’t until I realized that the only two mobs left were the Stormreaver and the Truthful One, and they were both down to a sliver, that I really thought she’d make it. Sadly, no violet cube in any of the chests, but still a great feeling to get the completion.

Even

And speaking of cosmetic pets, not counting any potential new ones from U29, I have just four left to go – wraith, rust monster, and hellhound from the Monster Manual, and violet cube from FoT/Caught in the Web. Even has made two tries at soloing CitW; first one, something was glitched because Ana wasn’t there, and the second time she got whooshed over the edge by one of the stupid legs.

I really like Even’s soloing style. It’s very resource-INdependent – no store items, no hirelings at all (unless absolutely needed for stuff like lever-pulling, and then used ONLY for that purpose), no multitudes of buffs. She’s been twisting Energy Burst for some AoE damage (very helpful in places like Wheloon), so Jall mailed her a few dozen mana pots to help her keep that going. Stalwart Pact, Holy Sword, Zeal, Death Ward – that’s pretty much it. When I remember, I’ll use Prayer and Divine Might; once in a while she’ll whip out a Blur wand or a True Seeing scroll if the situation warrants. No invising through quests; she stands and fights everything (although she’s been learning to kite because trying to stand one’s ground in a horde of angry Shadar-Kai assassins can be a bit TOO exciting sometimes). She Cocoons if she gets down to around 900 HP and usually doesn’t need more than one Cocoon per fight, if that. I have to admit, I’m really liking the thought of a level 30 Even.

I debated epic TRing at least some of my 28s before the update hit, but aside from Even, they all have a lot of saga quests to run, and that should help them all get the last two levels. Maybe if I’d been seriously thinking of TRing any of them to begin with… but I wasn’t. The next two to TR will be Meren (from rogue back to Favored Soul) and Ivy (from paladin to arty).

Char is enjoying her third life; she’s now a lvl 5 druid, although sometimes she kinda misses her ranger days. Vic is back up to 28 after an eTR a while back, joining Even, Jall, Dissy, and Zak at the (old) epic cap. Chalei’s still 26, and Laegonn just hit that mark as well; Acanthia’s up to… OMG, I forget, 24 or 25 after a semi-recent eTR. Meren, Riva, and Sere are also 25; Ivy’s 24; Winnie’s banking 19; Thangie and Getting-the-bank-bard-I-never-intended-to-play are 18; F2P alt Amie is 13 (and soloed her way through the LoD chain at lvl 12 because she wanted to see Eveningstar); Reera’s banking 7, and my new barbarian Tuna (short for Niituna) is 7.

OK, that’s actually 19 counting Amie, but she’s on her own account and doesn’t get much playing time, although she HAS managed to get her little guild of one up to level 20 and is the proud owner of a Windspyre Sparrow.

*sigh* Blogging is fun. But I have somewhat less free time than I used to, and I’d really rather be playing DDO.

A different kind of permadeath

Rez shrine

Raid bosses seem to have it all – high DR, massive amounts of hit points, devastating attacks, teeming minions to beat on you while you’re trying to beat on the big guy (or girl).

But I’m not so sure they rank overly high in intelligence or wisdom.

There are two things you see at the end of many raids:

  • 1. A dead raid boss
  • 2. A rez shrine

The rez shrine’s there for unlucky adventurers who are in soulstone form at the raid’s completion, right? But what about the OTHER death at the end of every successful raid? Why doesn’t the boss just click the shrine and bring him- or herself back to life?

Take First General Horoth, for example, the big nasty guy who shrinks Harry and later attempts to kill or banish you in Tower of Despair. Horoth’s a pretty powerful dude. You’d think that someone who attained the rank of First General would have some smarts. Alas for Horoth, but happily for adventurers, he does not know enough to click the rez shrine after he’s been defeated.

And even if Horoth couldn’t figure this out for himself, wouldn’t someone on his staff kinda poke his carcass and say, “Um, hey, boss, I know this is a bad time, but see that thing over there with the sun symbol carved on it? You’re still in this, big guy!”

Sure, Polperios probably wouldn’t be inclined to help him – after all, when your intrepid band of adventurers shows up in Horoth’s portal room and the First General turns to his high council for help, Polp responds, “This is your mess, General. You clean it up.”

But what about all those Orthons that come to his aid? All the “Soliders of Shavarth?” (Those aren’t my typos; that’s actually what appears in the text of the raid – I don’t know what the Soliders are Solider than, or who’s the Solidest, or who ate the last “a” in “Shavarath,” but that’s a subject for a whole ‘nuther blog.) And what about the other three high council members? Did they all just go afk to bio? Did they all invoke Audience with the Queen? Are they all off saving Lyrilith harder next time? (Because she does so very much want to be saved…)

Arraetrikos, aka Harry, has an excuse at the end of Shroud, of course – he’s not actually dead, just banished back to Shavarath (with or without Soliders). And I’m not sure what effect, if any, a rez shrine would have on true undead beings such as the Black Abbot or the Truthful One; I know I can use one to bring Zak, my pale master, back to life, but Zak’s actually a Drow in undead form, not truly undead, and rezzes as a living, breathing fleshie.

But how about the Stormreaver in Fall of Truth? Xy’zzy in Hound of Xoriat? Horoth in ToD?

The only logical explanation I have for why this DOESN’T happen is that raid bosses are all members of an extreme permadeath group. But what if that changed?

Imagine the scene: your party’s just triumphed – or so you thought. You’re slapping each other on the back, comparing kill counts, eagerly opening the chests… and suddenly there’s a noise behind you, a noise that you DO NOT want to hear. Slowly you turn…

Yeah, this is one scenario where I *really* like permadeath.

Just lion around

Even's nekkid Shroud dance

Life is slowly – r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y – getting back to normal. Sort of. I think.

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, because I’m probably only going to break them, and that’s probably going to happen before the end of January. But as each new year rolls around, I do tend to think about goals and such. While recording DDOCast’s “Leveling” episode back in December, host Patrick asked what I was hoping to accomplish in the coming year. I hadn’t really thought about it, so I just went with the first thing that popped into my head and said that I wanted to work on soloing raids with Even.

Well, after nursing a sick kitty back to health over New Year’s, I got to thinking about my goals for 2015, and it occurred to me that soloing more raids was kind of a dandy idea. And I wanted to solo more epic elite content as well.

A solo romp through Tower of Despair convinced me that this could be a very fun plan indeed. With the changes to paladins, Even’s DPS is quite respectable. She doesn’t have the damage output of, say, a raging barbarian or a sorceror – nor should she, as combined with self-healing and damage reduction, that would make pallys WAAAAY overpowered – but she’s quite capable of beating down a self-healing raid boss (I’m talkin’ to YOU, Nythirios) in a pleasingly short amount of time.

From what I’ve heard from friends who do a lot of soloing tougher content, I have kind of a different approach. Aside from ship buffs (which, granted, are pretty darn awesome, because thanks to having fantabulous people in our little guild, we have a Kraken with every available buff, AND I painted the whole thing green), Even uses Stalwart Pact, Holy Sword, and Death Ward pretty much all the time. She’ll use Divine Favor or Prayer, and sometimes Angelskin, for tough fights when I remember to cast them, and since I’ve somehow neglected to ever get her a True Seeing item, she carries TS scrolls. And that’s pretty much it.

She has pots or scrolls for things like curses and poison and negative levels, and I try to make sure she’s got a couple of mana pots if she has Consecration twisted. Almost nothing that can’t be bought from the House K guild vendors, and definitely nothing purchased from the DDO store – I want to PLAY my way to a completion, not BUY it. For the same reason, I probably take longer than my friends who solo similar content, because I stop and fight everything rather than invising or running through and letting mobs rubberband.

Even loves her thunder-forged gear.

So after ToD, I decided to start small, with a run of Vision of Destruction on normal. Well, that was pretty laughable – Even needed no healing AT ALL. I’m not sure she took any damage; if she did, the total was in single digits. She actually had more hit points when she was done than when she started thanks to temp HP from her stance. Elite VoD a few nights later went nearly as well; I decided to Cocoon her every time she dropped below 1,000 HP, and five Cocoons were all she needed. Actually the most impressive part was that I ACTUALLY FOUND VoD. TWICE. IN THE SAME WEEK.

EH Chrono was a blast. Shroud – not so much. She got maybe six or seven portals down when I got a message that a portal keeper had shown up. I ran around to every single stupid portal and couldn’t find him. Took another lap – still couldn’t find him. So of course everything went coterminous and Even got unceremoniously booted.

EH Against the Demon Queen was a walk in the park until the end fight, when I realized that you have to range the Marilith before she’ll come down. Even’s ranged DPS is… uh… possibly worse than old-style pally melee DPS, particularly since all she had was a non-epic Bow of the Silver Flame. On the first try, she ended up running out of arrows. So I made her a nice thunder-forged throwing axe, got a stack of TS scrolls (since the Marilith likes to cast displacement), and sallied forth again. That did the trick, and I pulled some decent scrolls and shards.

Now that she has that throwing axe, I need to take another stab at Fall of Truth. I really didn’t think she’d be able to handle that, but other than needing three tries to take down the first pair and two to take down the second, it went REALLY well… until it was time to shoot the crystal and all she had was that non-epic Silver Flame bow. Yeah. I don’t think an entire inventory of full quivers would be enough arrows for her to manage that solo. Hopefully the much higher DPS on the axe will make the difference.

I think I may try Fire on Thunder Peak next. I haven’t tried Tempest’s Spine because I know I’ll get lost; same reason I haven’t tried Caught in the Web, and – because of the path to get there – Temple of the Deathwyrm. Definitely not feeling ready for Mark of Death; don’t like Abbot enough to try that; don’t have a solo strategy I like for either one. Also haven’t been able to come up with any decent ideas for soloing Hound of Xoriat. I should give Reaver’s Fate a try, though.

LION!

EH in almost anything is pretty much a walk in the park for Even, so she’s been trying to solo a lot more EEs and also join more EE PuGs… or she WAS, until I found out that NEW COSMETIC PET AND IT’S A LION CUB! Yeah. Challenging oneself is noble and good, but it can’t compare to A NEW COSMETIC PET THAT’S A LION CUB! So I’ve been doing more remnant farming than EE running this week. She did combine the two with a solo run of EE Devil Assault the other night; only got ONE champion who dropped remnants, but he dropped 36 of ’em. He must’ve been pretty high-ranking – the most remnants she got from a single mob in EE Mask of Deception tonight was six, and in several farming runs of EH Vol, she’s never seen more than four drop from a single mob (nor has she seen the Mythic Emerald Gaze she so desperately wants).

BTW, that screenie is actually a mountain lion in the Storm Horns. I don’t have nearly enough remnants for the pet yet, nor have I seen anyone else running around with one so far.

Imbalance of power

Stormglory Bolt

I can’t speak for other countries, but here in the U.S. there’s often outcry about the wealthiest people having loopholes so that they aren’t taxed as heavily as their poorer counterparts.

There’s something similar going on with DDO guilds. It used to be that all guilds level 26 and higher were subject to daily renown decay. The amount of decay was determined by the number of unique accounts in the guild. The more accounts, the more decay.

To me, this was a GOOD thing. It encouraged players to be active and earn renown for their guilds. And it encouraged guilds to be – I hate to use the word “selective,” because it tends to have elitist connotations. But yes – selective; selective in that it benefited a guild to put together a group of like-minded players who worked well together and enjoyed each other’s company rather than just indiscriminately adding whoever they could find.

Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, renown decay was suspended on June 20 and was supposed to remain so until the release of the Shadowfell Conspiracy. Even more unfortunately, decay is STILL on hiatus with no official plans to bring it back, according to the DDO Wiki guild renown page.

Maybe you’re wondering why this is such a bad thing. Yay, no more renown decay! Let’s all celebrate! Right?

But there are a few problems with that approach. Now, guilds are being rewarded for going out and recruiting anyone at all, because every last little bit of renown earned is renown kept. So there’s a lot more shady stuff like people lurking in the Wavecrest spamming blind guild invites on unsuspecting newbies.

And it punishes smaller guilds, because now the decay that once helped keep the playing field level is gone. Our little Thelanis guild is basically Slvr and me; Comic plays with us Tuesday nights as part of a static group and Shin occasionally signs on but hasn’t been active lately. Having just a few people who are active and do a lot of stuff together works well for us, but with so few, it takes us a LONG time to level up. I joined the guild full-time about a year and a half ago, when it was level 27. We’re now within about 100K renown of level 50 and looking forward to our next airship (even though I’ll miss the green paint job I gave our Stormglory Bolt, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story).

There’s Vey, who has, through a LOT of hard work, gotten his guild – not a lot bigger than ours – all the way up to level 94 at present. That’s one hell of an accomplishment for a small guild like Riddles.

There’s a guild that I’d hardly seen around before decay was suspended. I doubt they were out of the 20s guild level-wise at that time. Now they’re well into the 80s – in a matter of a few months. Go to the social tab, search all, and sort by guild, and there always seem to be at least 20 or 30 of them, because they recruit anybody and everybody. They have people who troll the Who tab looking for unguilded players – I know, because when I rolled up Sere, my iconic Shadar-Kai assassin, I was leveling her up to 15 and got TWO tells from different people in that guild asking me to join. Sorry, but even if I were looking for a guild, I wouldn’t want to be part of one that would do stuff like that.

And then… there’s the guild I was in before I joined Slvr’s. Account-wise, they’re one of the largest guilds on Thelanis. I used to be successor and roster keeper, back in the day when they had applications and recommendations and tryouts to see how someone would fit in before they were invited to the guild. When I left, they were at level 72. When renown decay was first suspended, they were maybe 77 or 78, I think… but boy, has that changed. Now the only criteria to get in, so I’m told by a couple of members who aren’t too happy about the policy change, is to get an officer to invite you.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an asset to the guild or not; all that matters is that you’re one more person who might earn a little more renown, because that’s what pays off – that guild is now level 99.

Quick side note: I’m not naming the guild because, for starters, naming and shaming is a totally classless thing to do, and because, even though I vehemently oppose the new policy of “invite anyone,” I still have some AMAZING friends in that guild, people who are some of my best friends in DDO.

But when you invite just anyone to your guild without regard to how they’ll fit in, you might not have to worry about renown decay, but you ARE going to have to worry about your guild’s reputation. I saw that firsthand tonight during FoT with Abs, Ninja and the very awesome gang from Clan. I was on Jall and was assigned to the TO tank. We had one other healer, a cleric from my old guild, who was assigned to heal the rest of the party and keep an eye on the SR tank if needed.

Somehow, the guy managed to blow through 3400 mana in no time flat. We didn’t even have the first giant/dragon pair down before his blue bar was empty, and it was obvious he DIDN’T blow it on heals. So Ninja asked him to please save his SP for healing rather than casting a lot of offensive spells. She asked him nicely. And he replied, “Go f*** yourself,” “F*** you,” “I was f***ing healing” (trust me, he wasn’t – a couple people were scroll healing and I was trying to throw some heals when I could get within range, which wasn’t a lot since Abs was doing a great job keeping the TO away from the party). And he didn’t just say it once and stop. He kept at it. Even after Abs decided to call it and get us out of there before anyone could use more resources on a lost cause, the guy was STILL swearing at Ninja.

Yes, he was a total jerk. And he also made his guild look REALLY bad. The party re-formed (without him, of course), and there was much talk about that guild, none of it positive. But I guess if all you’re after is the next guild level, that stuff doesn’t matter.

To be fair, guilds with less than 50 active accounts do get a bonus to renown earned. The bonus varies based on number of accounts relative to the guild’s size classification. Slvr has a couple of alt accounts to keep us at six total for the maximum renown bonus of 300%, so for example we get 3,000 renown for a Legendary Victory while a guild with 50 or more unique accounts would get 1,000. But we have really two people actively earning renown on a daily basis. A guild with 50+ members, even if a full third of those members aren’t active, is going to earn a lot more renown than we do. Without decay as an equalizer, the high-membership guilds are leaving little guilds like ours in the dust, especially as more and more renown is required for each successive guild level.

Even if they bring decay back, the playing field will still be slanted. In a post from October 2012, Tolero explains a Turbine policy change that states, “Renown decay no longer takes guild size into account. This should ease the pressure for guild leaders to “kick” members from the guild to offset daily renown decay rates. Renown decay now only takes a guild’s level into consideration rather than its size.”

I see nothing wrong with kicking guild members for inactivity. If someone hasn’t signed on in a long time, why keep them in your guild? When I was still in the old guild, the policy was that inactive accounts were booted after one month and one day of no activity, but were ALWAYS welcome to rejoin if they returned to the game. That’s a pretty simple and fair way of doing things.

But now, the easiest way to level up your guild is only simple, not fair – just go out and recruit everyone you can.