Filkin’ Around: “Pally”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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 The outdated con-op goggles Even wears, although they took a heck of a beating, kept replenishing her spell points when she got too low to Cocoon.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Back where she belongs

Evennote

I loved – seriously, loved – Even’s first life as a paladin.

Damage mitigation, self-healing, aggro getting and keeping… tanking was boatloads of fun. She was pretty good at it, IMHO, and she got plenty of requests for her tanking services.

There was just the little matter of her little DPS. In parties, it never mattered. As long as stuff was trying to kill Even and leaving everybody else alone, it was all good. But soloing could get tedious because it took her longer than most people to kill stuff. And I’m the kind of player who likes to kill everything rather than rushing through, which made questing solo on Even even longer.

It still wasn’t that big a deal until she started running into stuff that could self-heal – namely Nythirios, the boss at the end of the second phase of Tower of Despair. Solo-wise, it took her a couple of tries to figure out how to damage him faster than the shadows healed him, and even when she did, it wasn’t *much* faster.

I wasn’t looking to turn her into a lean, mean, DPS machine. I just wanted her damage output to be a little better. Ergo, she just spent 28 levels as a monk/rogue/fighter. And it was fun. Her DPS got pretty crazy, her trap skills up to EH were adequate (EE traps mostly just laughed at her attempts to find them, though), and her self-healing was usually adequate.

Still, she’s a paladin at heart. And as much as I enjoyed her monk life, I really missed the Even who I knew I could take into any quest, any difficulty, and be standing at the end.

So when I found out that paladins were getting some love in Update 23, I rejoiced. A lot. The day of the update, I took her out for one last monk spin, through the epic Orchard wilderness. And then she headed for Reincarnation Grove.

My plan was to do an epic TR immediately followed by a heroic TR into a Purple Dragon Knight, and then use a +1 lesser heart of wood to swap out the first fighter level and go pure paladin. It almost went off without a hitch.

The eTR went just as planned (I went martial for her PL). The heroic TR also went swimmingly. But it was late (or early, depending on your point of view), I was tired, and I just wanted to get the reincarnating over with and get some sleep. So after the heroic TR, rather than leveling her up to 15, I figured I’d just do the LR right away since I’d be leveling back up from that anyway.

So I opened up the lesser reincarnate dialog, dragged the heart into the box, and got a message that I couldn’t reincarnate because I was banking levels.

Oops, didn’t see that coming. Well, no biggie, I thought; I’ll just go to the paladin trainer and level up as fast as I can, then do the LR. So out of Reincarnation Grove, back through the Hall of Heroes to Eveningstar. Found the pally trainer and leveled up to 15 faster than I would have thought possible, simply by clicking the first available feats/enhancements/skill points/stat increases rather than picking and choosing – after all, it was all going to get wiped out when she LRed. Right?

Back to Reincarnation Grove, open the LR dialogue, and… wait, what? My lesser heart’s gone! Checked inventory, bank, mail, and buyback; even checked to see if it was still in the dialogue box. Nuttin’.

Filled out a bug report and a support ticket, the latter of which told me to contact ingame support. So I sent in an ingame ticket, and then realized that it would be hours before anybody was even in ingame support to look at it. Lucky for me I remembered @DDOUnlimited on Twitter. When I logged in the next day, everything was straightened out.

Thanks to the great customer service, Even’s now a level 15 Purple Dragon Knight pure paladin… and she feels nearly indestructible to me. I haven’t even geared her up yet; she’s wearing her greensteel con-op goggles, a heroic elite Jeweled Cloak, and her Voice, but everything else she’s got on right now is the default PDK gear.

I decided to take her for a spin through Vale just to see what the new and hopefully improved Even would be like… and WOW, am I happy! Her DPS is quite respectable; she was one- and two-shotting a lot of stuff. I wanted to try out her new shield attacks, but it was hard because she was killing stuff faster than I could click her hotbar.

Vey and Mas were doing heroic High Road and Storm Horns after that. I was a little nervous – after all, Even’s several levels under those – but figured what the heck, it was worth a try. And she came through just fine. Mobs died quickly, and Even wasn’t taking much damage at all. I deliberately let her get separated from Vey and Mas several times to make sure it wasn’t their DPS that was doing the trick (because both of them have some pretty serious damage output), and she still did fine. My favorite moment was when she leaped alone into a pack of six griffins, killed them all in rather rapid fashion, and emerged without even needing to throw a Cure Serious on herself.

She’s since done a wilderness fest – Sands, Gianthold, and Orchard – to get her maps cleared. Then tonight she and Vey duo’d the Attack on Stormreach chain on elite where, if I hadn’t managed to blunder her right into a bunch of mines in Undermine, she’d still not have a death for this life yet. (Sorry Even, my bad – I feel like I let her down!)

Even’s banking 16 but I’m going to keep her there for a while, I think; I want to milk as much XP as possible from the lower quests before leveling up. It’s hard, though – I can’t wait to get her back into epic levels and serious raiding again! She feels so solid to me right now, I’d almost like to try running a couple of the easier epics – BoB, Snitch – on her, just to see what would happen… if only she could get into them at level 15!

Bracing for a new beginning

Evennote

If you follow Players Helping Players, you may already know that my computer is being particularly temperamental right now, so my playing time until next Friday (when the PC goes in to be fixed) is iffy at best.

Tonight it seems to be running fine, although it took about an hour of running diagnostics and repair to get that way, and I figured I’d blog a bit because, well, I can.

My current project is completing as many sagas as possible on Even before Update 23 hits, because as much as she’s loved her monk life, she really, really, REALLY can’t wait to be a paladin again, especially with the paladin-friendly changes coming in U23. She’s got all of the epic sagas done along with heroic 3BC, so now she just needs to finish heroic Gianthold and the two heroic Eveningstar sagas.

Sadly for my other toons, they’ve been terribly neglected while Even farms sagas… poor Acanthia and some of her sisters actually went three weeks without being logged in. Once Even begins her third life (which will be my first-ever legend build – I don’t TR much – and will be as a Purple Dragon Knight; still undecided on whether I’m splashing fighter on her or using a heart to get rid of that first fighter level), everybody’s playing time should start balancing out a lot better.

Evennote

In almost four years, I really haven’t done much reincarnating. Even did a greater reincarnate a few years ago, and Dissy did a lesser. Even and Acanthia have each done one epic TR, while Even, Jall, Chalei, and Char have each done one heroic TR. TRing, to me, is a lot of grinding with the alt-itis I have. When I find something I want to improve or fix on a toon, I tend to swap out a feat, or reset enhancements, or get some better gear… and that’s worked out pretty well for me so far. I’m getting pretty good at keeping pace with Vey on his multi-TRed legend builds. Even my gimpier toons can solo EE Rusted Blades and Impossible Demands the “easy” way… although the “hard” way is a totally different story for some of them. LOL

Trying to level up Char and Even at the same time after their TRs was a royal pain in the neck, but I think Char is going to TR once she hits 20. I actually felt she was stronger in her first life than she is now, and after watching Slvr eTR his bard into a swashbuckler, I MUST give that a try! Dissy’s a bit too Valley Girl to really be suited for swashbuckling, but I think Char will be a natural.

So I’m off to log Even in and work on the last sagas she needs, then I’m going to drink a renown pot and turn them all in. Hopefully my NVidia card will cooperate and not gift me with the joy that is multiple BSoDs (Blue Screens of Death) in the meantime!