Battlebard!

Discordette

Sometimes I really need to have a little faith.

The other night, I asked Slvr, “Do I want to work on sagas with Even, or take Dissy into Thunderholme and get her killed?”

Slvr generally knows what I want better than I do, so when he told me to take Dissy to Thunderholme, I logged her in (although I lamented to him on AIM, “But she’s gonna DIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!”, to which he replied, “I have faith in her!”).

I wasn’t optimistic – my level 26 gimpish first-life Drow bard, alone in a level 29 wilderness? Well, not QUITE alone; she grabbed the level 24 rogue hire because I didn’t know how hard the traps would hit her, and she ended up bringing her owlbear as well to keep aggro off the rogue while he disabled.

Dissy’s intentionally built more as a support toon than as a soloer. She has yet to earn a single XP in any destiny other than Fatesinger, mostly because I’ve just never felt like farming destinies on her. So she has no handy twists, or even fate points with which to twist anything.

But her Fascinate worked surprisingly well against the undead in Thunderholme, while her Song of Capering and Otto’s kept the Cult of the Dragon necromancers from being able to do anything except dance. Even the rare encounters – she got something like eight of them – didn’t give her much trouble. The biggest problem she had was completely breaking her Elyd Edge on the battleragers (’cause I forgot to grab her a Mutineer’s Blade from the shared bank) and having to turn to her Mad Lute.

I’d only been planning to take her as far as Dagan to flag her for Fire on Thunder Peak, but I’d gotten pretty far through the levels when I realized I’d gone the wrong way (me, lost? NEVER!) and was actually headed for *gulp* Sarva.

I wasn’t too worried about Dissy’s ability to take out Dagan. But Sarva… Sarva and her minions are another story. So when I finally reached the very bottom of Thunderholme and saw her standing there in the center, I decided my best option was to park the rogue and owlbear by the shrine, invis Dissy, and sneak over to get the journal.

Oops. I must’ve double-clicked when I told the owlbear to stay put, because he followed Dissy in, and of course Sarva saw him. Uh-oh.

I summoned the rogue, had Dissy play Sustaining Song, and buffed as fast as I could. Then I started spamming Dirge and sonic spells interspersed with Siren’s Song.

It got pretty ugly. I had to rez the owlbear several times, and the rogue once or twice as well. And Dissy came scarily close to dying herself more than once.

But Sarva’s red bar dropped to a sliver and then poof! she was dead, thanks to Siren’s Song going off at a VERY opportune time. Dissy and her hires took out Sarva’s minions, looted, and recalled, because by that point nearly all her gear was in serious need of repair (plus it was around 6 am and I kinda wanted sleep).

After facing Sarva, taking out Dagan the next night was a piece of cake. So my gimpy little bard is flagged for both dragon raids, where I have no doubt she’ll die frequently and ignominiously… well, almost no doubt. After all, I didn’t think she even stood a chance against the ordinary mobs in Thunderholme, let alone Sarva and Dagan.

So look out, Aurgloroasa, Nevalarich, and Tharaxata. Dissy’s coming for you!

A trivial pursuit

Tirae

I’ve auditioned for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” twice. Passed the test, but never made it further than that. I take the “Jeopardy!” online test every January; they don’t tell you if you pass that, just have to wait and hope their random selection process selects you (no luck for me yet). My family has refused to play Trivial Pursuit with me since around 1989.

Yeah, I have a thing for trivia. So when Turbine Community Manager Cordovan said in a forum post that he would be running trivia events to celebrate the eighth anniversary of DDO, I was SO there.

Tirae

I couldn’t make the first one on Argonnessen – 11 am is earlier than I can usually get away from real life for DDO – but Tirae managed to get into the very first group on Cannith… and boy, was I surprised when she ended up being the first one to get three points, making her the overall winner! There was someone else with two points who got the first shot at a question everyone ended up missing, and I really thought that was going to be it.

I won’t tell you what the questions were, since there are more rounds on other servers yet to come and I don’t know if any of the questions will be reused. But they all had to do with DDO, and the first one I got right was a pure guess after two people got it wrong (and I thought one of them was right for sure). There were a few I didn’t know, a few I did but wasn’t the first one to answer, one I was pretty sure I knew which turned out to be my second correct answer, and then the last one, which was something that Slvr and I had talked about just a few days ago (and which I got screenshots of at the time), so that was pretty cool.

Everyone who participated got goodies, or swag, or whatever you want to call it. I ended up with Lawrence’s Robe of Trivial Knowledge, a code for 500 TP (which I think everyone there got), and Tirae’s very own snowy owlbear, which made her very happy because she’s been envious of the one my Thelanis toons have.

It was great good fun from start to finish, beginning with Cordovan TPing the rest of the party way, WAY up to the top of the Twelve to join him. I wish I’d thought to get a screenshot of Cordovan’s shield for Ben of DDO Gaming, who was in the very first group on Argo and mentioned on his blog that he didn’t get a good screenie of what sounds like a really cool shield. But I did get some other shots I liked.

Many, MANY thanks to Cordovan for taking the time to do this! I think sometimes there are people who feel a bit too “entitled” when it comes to DDO events. I hope everyone remembers that NO ONE is *required* to do ANYTHING AT ALL. But there will be more anniversary events upcoming, and it is incredibly nice of Cordovan to take it upon himself to spend an hour of his own time on each server doling out goodies and fun.

And just two screenies for now to wrap this up…

Tirae

Tirae admires the view from the top of the Twelve after the event.

Tirae

Tirae put on her new robe to hang out on the ship with her new owlbear.

There are still more events to come, so keep an eye on your LFM panel and good luck!

Mo! Mo! Mo!

Chalei

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

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

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

Daisy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grabbing life by the Storm Horns

Acanthia

Given past history, I was a bit worried about the imminent release of U19, aka the Shadowfell Conspiracy. I mean, c’mon, there are still plenty of unresolved bugs – sorry, “unintended features” – from LAST year’s expansion, Menace of the Underdark.

Well, color me impressed. Even if U19 added nothing but the Storm Horns wilderness, I’d be pretty darn happy. Turbine, when you get it right, you REALLY get it right. The Storm Horns are GORGEOUS all by themselves, with amazing new mobs… satyrs! Harpies! Owlbears! Pseudodragons! GRIFFONS! Oh, oh, OH, the griffons! Please, please, please release griffon companions, because I don’t think I can live without one much longer (she sez, studiously NOT looking at the 42 – yes, really, 42 – companions she already has on Thelanis).

Acanthia

The rare encounters in Storm Horns show ample evidence that there was actual thought put into them, and probably even by someone who plays the game. While the “wounded soldier” in the above pic was out of Acanthia’s reach (and doesn’t seem to do much no matter which option you choose when he’s at ground level), there’s an ice dragon way, way high in the mountains, and a red dragon who seems to be the twin of Micahrastir (that mean guy who likes to blow you off his perch in Underdark, and blow the bridge away so you can’t get back to him). There’s a rare owlbear, a rare wood woad and a rare giant. There’s a poacher who lets you bargain for loot – one to three chests depending on how many gamey venisons and fox tails you have. There’s a tame owlbear who’ll follow you around and fight for you if you give him some venison and pet him.

And there’s my personal favorite, the one where the satyr elder wants you to dance with him. I’ve had a couple different outcomes to this one; sometimes I’ve ended up having to fight him, sometimes not. He usually ends up asking if he can cast something on me and assuring me “it won’t hurt a bit;” most of the time it’s been Otto’s, but once he buffed me with Good Hope.

Likewise, the quests show some creativity. The first one I ran was “The Tracker’s Trap,” with Baz; it was so much fun I ran it again the next night with Annie. The end fight is cool, not just a straight boss beat-down; I won’t give too much detail so as not to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t run it yet, but I’ll just say that Acanthia spent a lot of time unintentionally flying through the air.   *snicker*

Acanthia really hopes this description of
Um… and I’d want to bring my FOE back from the dead, why, exactly?

Yes, there are bugs. It’s new content; some glitches are to be expected. But – at least to me – they don’t seem NEARLY as prevalent as when MotU was released (or, for that matter, even as prevalent in the new content as they are in MotU stuff still). Acanthia was rather startled to find that Rise of the Phoenix can apparently now raise one’s enemy, although despite the description, it does NOT work on one’s friends. She hasn’t had the opportunity to see if it works on herself yet, but that would be pretty cool… although I think she liked it better when she could use it as much as she needed to raise her partymates and/or hirelings rather than just once per rest.

I’ve heard people complaining about light monks getting nerfed in the update. My experience has been just the opposite. Acanthia gained a few HP, and the devotion aspect to healing ki means her light-light-light finishing move can actually do some real good, especially to anyone with a decent amount of heal amp (she hits herself for 120-150 HP). I also like that, instead of having individual moves for remove blindness, remove curse, remove disease and lesser restoration, now I can change her stance to automatically apply the desired effect with her healing ki finisher. This is a HUGE boon in CitW. Get a couple of light monks up there mashing on Lolth, and the melees can save their curse pots. Her DPS is at least as good as ever; it actually seems a bit better, but not sure if that’s U19 or that she finally pulled Antipode the night before the update.

As I’ve only really been running Acanthia this week (with a bit of playing time for Even, Jall and Meren), it’s too soon for me to tell for sure how the update will affect everyone, but overall I’m pretty darn happy. Even picked up about 30 HP along with raising her AC, PRR and intim. Jall – who I was already pleased with – added some HP as well, and her aura now hits herself for about 15 points more than it did before. When I logged Vic in Monday night, she’d somehow gained 70 HP, which makes my squishy, gimpy, 28-point first-life trapmonkey quite happy. She did lose a few points of rogue skills across the board  (don’t think it’ll make THAT much difference, as she was at 75-80 on most of them pre-update), and I only managed to fit in one tier of Faster Sneaking, but… Vic with almost 700 HP? HECK yeah, I’ll take that.

Dissy lost one song – not a big deal, as she went from 42 to 41 – and maybe a few spell points, also not a big deal as she’s a spellsinger. She likes having Sustaining Song now, and like Jall, saw a nice increase in her positive spellpower; I think she’s a truly legitimate backup healer and could probably handle main healer duties in a well-built group.

Char seems to be about the same, HP- and SP-wise. While as an AA she’s primarily ranged, she DOES switch to dual scimis for melee, and I’m curious to see what effect the update has on her melee DPS, given the total lack of attention to TWF and THF builds. Meren also picked up HP and positive spellpower; I certainly never expected to have her over 700 HP at level 22. She got herself flagged for CitW entirely solo; I really need to have more faith in her. I did the flagging quests mostly on norm, but after her performance I think she could have easily handled hard.

I wish I’d done a lot more in Wheloon before I’d ever gone into Storm Horns, because… Wheloon just can’t measure up. Oh, the quests are fun, and the wilderness is mostly good – it just doesn’t compare even remotely to Storm Horns. Shade beholders and undead purple worms are cool, and Shadar-Kai – while scary with those chains whipping around (hey Turbine, any chance Sere, my new Shadar-Kai rogue, could get a set of those?), are pretty darn awesome.

But if there were just one thing I could change about Wheloon – THE DAMN PINK FOG MUST GO. LYK RITE NAO. Seriously. You can’t see anything, it’s freaking LAGGY as all hell, and…  prison dungeons should NEVER BE PINK. What, did the Netherese lock up Strawberry Shortcake for tax evasion? No? Then NO MOAR PINK. And no more fog; the lag is UNREAL. Maybe something like the Xoriat madness in Delirium, but in a suitably sinister color. And for the love of Khyber, make that damn priestess spawn already so I can get Journal No. 8 and clear my map.

Yttsie

And, long overdue… as promised to Empress Mizzaroo herself, here’s a shot of her on her elven arti (far right), Comic (left) and Yttsie (center) chillin’ in Smugglers’ Rest with Wee Yip Yip (far left, just in case you were thinking Comic was a kobold). While real life sadly intervened and prevented us from being able to do a Cove run together, we still had lots of fun rampaging through the wilderness killing stuff, even though Yttsie was 4-5 levels behind them (and was the only one who did not die, LOL – just hadda throw that in!).

NWO Acanthia

So, this is the first I’ve blogged in a while. Real life has been a doozy for the past few months, and seems likely to continue being a doozy for the foreseeable future. It’s cut into my playing time a bit, and into my blogging time a LOT. But, at Shin’s urging, I’ve designated Wednesday as Neverwinter Online Night. Sadly, NWO does not offer a monk class, but the NWO version of Acanthia – a TWF trickster rogue – is still a lot of fun. She’s nearly level 11 already, and one of these days I may even get used to having to use mouselook and pressing V instead of F to talk.

 

(And no, I don’t know what’s up with her abnormally long hands – maybe it’s a rogue thing.)