Rebels with a cause

Shroud, Shroud
Don’t be left out
Buff up and get your DR breakers out
Come on, hit our LFM
Come on

Remember back when Shroud was really hard and you’d sit around waiting forever because you couldn’t get a hjealer?

I loved it back then, and I love it just as much now. I’ll run Shroud pretty much any time, any toon, with almost any party or no party at all.

So when BonnieBew told me she wanted to do another #SHROUDPALOOZA, I was in!

Doesn’t seem like it’s been four years since the last one. Heck, now we even have Legendary Shroud – which is awesome, but for reasons of inclusivity, we stuck with heroic.

Besides being great fun, #SHROUDPALOOZA is also for a great cause – we’re raising money for Extra Life, benefitting Children’s Miracle Network. For more information on #SHROUDPALOOZA, check out the website. To donate to Extra Life – and get entered for some great prizes, including a year of DDO VIP, visit this link:

#SHROUDPALOOZA 2018 kicked off this weekend on Thelanis, and it was awesome! We got four runs of Shroud done in our allotted three hours, so Harry got lots of hugs! I had a couple of old friends I hadn’t seen ingame for a while hit the LFMs, and met lots of great new people as well.

Next up is Sarlona on Oct. 20. I managed to get my very first non-Thelanis toon, Ironica, leveled up and flagged, so I’m really looking forward to that one! She’s barely level 15 and seriously undergeared, but that’s fine. #SHROUDPALOOZA is for everyone who’s kind and respectful, regardless of level (hence why we’re doing heroic rather than legendary Shroud).

She’ll probably die. A lot. And being only level 15, I doubt she’ll make much of a dent in the kill count. It’s all good, though, as long as she has fun!

So if you think you’d like to run #SHROUDPALOOZA with us but you’re worried about things like not having enough DPS or not knowing the raid well enough or stuff like that – don’t! Just hit the LFM and we’ll be glad to have you along! All you need to be is flagged and between levels 14-30 inclusive.

On the other hand, if you’re going to troll us for not running legendary, brag about how you can solo it, go on and on about your DPS, link all your raid gear to show how awesome you are, berate people for mistakes, etc. – I suggest you find another group, because you won’t enjoy ours, nor will we enjoy having you. It sucks that I even have to bring this up, especially since most DDO players are great people; it’s a shame there always seems to be that ONE conceited jerk.

Whether you run Shroud with us or not, there are other ways to participate as well! Donating is always welcome, of course. And you can watch live and chat with us on DDOStream.

AND… there’s an ART CONTEST! Just like actually running #SHROUDPALOOZA, we really don’t care how good you are (or aren’t), or what form your art takes – as long as it’s PG-13. 😉

Draw a picture, write a poem, sing a song, do an interpretive dance of Harry being banished back to Shavarath, knit some Shards of Power, have your toddler fingerpaint a Prismatic Wall of Death – any kind of Shroud-related artwork at all! Some of the prizes up for grabs include VIP codes and DDO points, so get creative!

Thanks to everyone who ran with us, donated, watched the stream, and/or chatted with us during our Thelanis run! Hope to see you on Sarlona next! 😊

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Computer crashes and raiding dashes

My current PC will celebrate its 10th birthday in November. In all that time, the only stuff I’ve done to it is to replace the video card and the power supply.

Luckily it’s held up well, since it was pretty darn state-of-the-art when I bought it – quad core, 2.66 mHz speed. But as computers go, it’s getting pretty old, and it likes to get cantankerous.

One of the things it enjoys doing lately is to just reboot itself with no warning and for no apparent reason. Sunday night, I was getting ready to stream and was talking with Shin in guild chat, and the computer decided to reboot itself three times in half an hour.

So I scrapped my plans to run something interesting and meaningful, because if the PC decided to act up during the stream, I wanted to be doing something relatively unimportant. It’d been a while since I’d run Tower of Despair, so I figured a good old-fashioned classic raid night was just the ticket.

Naturally once I’d changed up my agenda, the computer decided to be on its best behavior. But no worries. I love ToD; I’m up for running it any time on any toon. Slvr was on as well and feels the same way about ToD as I do.

We had plenty of time left when ToD was done, so on to Shroud (heroic – I didn’t think we could duo legendary, especially if the computer crapped out again). And then we decided to kill the last 20-ish minutes with ADQ 1 (EN) and 2 (EE), which took us to almost precisely 1 am.

Of course, we both pulled Shards of Supreme Power out of the Shroud end chests – where the heck are those things when I’m on a toon who actually NEEDS them? And I was surprised to pull unbound – well, BtC on equip – Gloves of the Falcon from the epic chest in ADQ 2. Think that’s the first time I’ve ever pulled an explorer item from that raid. They’ll be a nice upgrade for my F2P rogue Genn’s feather falling gloves.

The computer, like Genn’s old gloves, will be replaced in the near future – but probably not until at least mid-August, ’cause I’m saving all my extra cash for Gen Con! My friends are probably getting tired of listening to me enthuse about it, but I’m so excited to be going! It’ll be my first-ever con. I bought a four-day pass and a bunch of event tickets – got my event schedule all entered into my Google calendar tonight. Among other things, I’ll be going to the They Might Be Giants concert, a Mercedes Lackey book signing, an evening with Patrick Rothfuss, “Silly Irish Songs for Cat Lovers,” AND…

A ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW PARTY!!!

So yeah. This computer is just going to have to make it a few more months. LOL

Meanwhile, my six-and-a-half-year DDO anniversary is June 8, and on Monday, Charlotte and Fern celebrated their first birthday! They don’t really like people food or canned cat food, and Fern’s tummy has issues with treats, but they loved their brand-new birthday catnip mousies. 😀

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! 🙂

Lost and found in ADQ

Leave it to me to be all noob on video…

If you read last week’s blog, you might have noticed a hint about possible changes coming to my Sunday night livestream. There was just one small hiccup at the start of the show… a couple of people told me I wasn’t streaming. I said that I was. Turns out we were both right – I was streaming, but I’d forgotten to change the stream key from my own to the DDOStream one.

I followed that up by boldly asserting that I knew the way to ADQ part 1… and then forgetting which pathway I took at the beginning. But this is what guildies are for, and fortunately I had Seki and Slvr to get me pointed in the right direction.

Once those little glitches were over, things went really quite well as we three-manned EH ADQ 1, EE ADQ 2, and just for fun, heroic elite Shroud. (Harry needed a hug.) Three smooth completions seemed kind of at odds with several wonderings of, “What could possibly go wrong?” and “What’s the worst that could happen?” – both of which generally lead to disaster.

It was great to have a lively chat session going on! Even the parts about “nice finger” and “grabbing Elminster’s thingie…” 😉

With lots of real-life stuff going on, I didn’t realize until mid-Shroud, when someone in Twitch chat asked, “Is this game good?” that my sixth DDO-versary was December 8. So yes, I’d say this game is VERY good – I wouldn’t still be here and so involved if I didn’t think so!

Maybe I should do a belated show to celebrate and run some of my favorite quests… and/or get all the Sniffers on for our long-planned-but-still-not-happened wonder pot party. evil grin

Once again, DDO made for a great distraction. After losing my kitty Callie the day after Thanksgiving, my other girl, Victoria, took a sudden turn for the worse Friday night. She was in pretty rough shape Sunday, and as much as I wanted to be with her, I needed a little break, and I think she did too. Good times with guildies were a welcome respite.

Victoria fought hard and somehow managed to keep going until Monday morning, when she made her final trip to the vet. I swear she made herself hang on because she knew how much I was going to miss her. This is the first time since I was five that I haven’t had a cat; it’s already beastly hard.

The times, they are a-changin’! Streamin’ with Even is still live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time, but you can now find me on the official DDOstream! I KNOW, RIGHT?! Assuming I did everything correctly, the show will still be hosted on my own Twitch channel as well, but if you’re watching live and want to chat, DDOStream is the place to be. Videos are archived on my YouTube channel. 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!  🙂

To twinfinity… and beyond!

Sere and Taurriel

 

Talk about déjà vu!

Got my first glimpse of Keava’s new Shadar-Kai Taurriel tonight, and she looked… strangely familiar. I knew I’d seen that rogue before, but where?

Right on my login screen, that’s where. The hair color is different, and Taurriel’s eyes are darker, but otherwise she’s the spitting image of my own Seregeth.

This could come in handy when questing. One sneaky rogue sidles up and gets the enemy’s attention. The mobs whirl around to attack – and see what they think is that same sneaky rogue waaaaay on the other side of the dungeon. While they’re scratching their heads and going, “Wait, what?” the twin rogues whip out their trusty daggers and start assassinating. I like it!

 

Even and 3BC airship

 

Just some random thoughts tonight, because I had a most awesome weekend-into-Monday and I’m exhausted. Slvr discovered that if you climb the bell tower in Three-Barrel Cove when the rare encounter airship Ill Fate is up, you can get a great look at it from above. You can also land on it, which I didn’t get a chance to do because Slvr blew it up too fast. Sure beats trying to fire a ballista when a horde of angry pirates are swinging their whirly chains at you!

 

Meren and death_adurnac

 

Had a strange, slightly cool, and slightly creepy thing happen in a guild run of heroic Shroud Friday night. Everything had been perfectly normal – well, as normal as things can be when the Flower Sniffers of Destiny get together – until Phase 5. My gimpy li’l rogue Meren had grabbed Adur-Nac and was pulling him away so that he could be killed when she noticed that something weird was going on with his name.

He had the correct floaty text in Phase 2, but he kept his “death_adurnac” moniker throughout Phase 5, or at least until we killed him. No one noticed if his “ghost” form also had the glitch. I’ve never seen that in Shroud before, and as many times as I’ve run Shroud, that’s saying something. So it was kinda neat… even though seeing “death” in front of Adur-Nac’s name didn’t settle gimpy Meren’s nerves any.

 

DRETCH!

 

Yes, it’s a picture of a dretch. Because I can. Grabbed it from a splash screen because I was too tired lazy to dig through all my screenies looking for a good dretch shot. Dretches rock, and we need more of them. And we especially need dretch cosmetic pets. I have it on pretty good authority that this won’t happen for a long time if ever, but I’ll never give up hope. C’mere, little dretch! Glarb! Eat my sorrow and drink my pain! NUM!

Citi wrote about dretches in a blog post a while back, suggesting that they need a little theme music when they fall under the spell of Otto’s Irresistible Dance. The cool thing about the DDO blogging community is that, with a few exceptions (as anyone who’s read some of the comment sections on my blog knows, heh heh), we enjoy helping each other out. The lovely grimorde obliged Citi with a video giving dretches their right to party. It’s 18 seconds you’ll thank me for, I promise!

Potions of Wonder

The Flower Sniffers are getting down to the serious business of trying to get everybody flagged for everything. Keava made us a cool spreadsheet in Google Docs (we tried using forum posts first, but the alt-itis some of us – yes, ME – suffer from kinda made that too clunky) so that we can all put in our characters and what they’ve run. Slvr added a few quest arcs… now all I need is the ambition to go through all of my toons and see who’s flagged for what.

And at some point, we really need to have a nekkid guild fun run/raid night with EVERYBODY. Because Acanthia’s bank is starting to fill up with Potions of Wonder. The pic is from a couple of weeks ago; she now has close to 1,500 wonder pots. The plan is to get the entire guild on, take our clothes off, head into a raid, pass a stack of pots to everybody, and start chugging. That’ll definitely be one for the livestream!

Speaking of the stream, I’m moving to midnight (Eastern) Sundays from 11 pm so as not to conflict with any other streams.

Last, but certainly not least – today will mark the 200th issue to the DDO Chronicle! May you have many, many more!

A Tale of One Citi

Flower Sniffin' Shroud

 

Shroud is one of those quests that pretty much everybody in our little guild will run any time, any toon, for any reason or no reason at all. We don’t care about loot or XP or making greensteel. It’s Shroud. It’s fun.

So imagine our horror when we discovered that newest Flower Sniffer Citi had NEVER RUN SHROUD. NOT ONCE. NEVAR, to use his catchphrase!

Well, we couldn’t let that continue. So we got him flagged, and tonight he, Slvr, Keava, Rayne, and I trotted him out to Meridia. And boy, were we excited. Because while it’s really not about the loot, we had a genuine first-timer, and you know what that means – EXTRA CHEST.

We did have one semi-failed attempt first – there were just four of us because Rayne had to step out. I was on Super Gimpy Meren, the rogue who can’t decide if she wants to be an assassin or a mechanic and isn’t great at either one (and who somehow made it to level 25 without ever running a Shroud this life). Slvr was on his 18 barb, who had great DPS but no curse pots. Keava was probably the most “together” of us on his talented ranger, and Citi, despite his protests to the contrary, kept us in it long after we probably would have otherwise perished.

But trying to pull the rednames apart in Phase 2 was too much for the four of us. By that time Rayne was back, so we recalled and started anew.

And this time it went SOOOOO much better! I switched to Vic (way better DPS than Meren), Slvr switched to his warlock (ditto), and we quickly annihilated Phases 1-4.

But then… but then…

We did our damnedest to give Citi the best possible shot at netting us that extra chest. We explained it to him, step by step. We buffed him – oh, how we buffed him. Jump, of course. And Deathward, blur, resists, FoM… sadly, no one had Water Breathing as a spell. Slvr demonstrated proper jumping technique.

We waited with bated breath. Citi jumped…

… WTF. How the hell did we all end up dead in Harry’s big stone chamber?

Thanks a bunch, Citi. See if we ever run Shroud with YOU again.

In other words, you were a great sport! And we’ll probably run Shroud again for guild night Friday ’cause we’ll all be off timer by then.  LOL

Last but not least, once Harry was banished, the altar was clicked, and the chests were looted, we all stripped (well, Rayne was already running around nekkid anyway), jumped up on the Altar of Devastation, and had ourselves a Flower Sniffin’ nekkid Shroud dance party. WIN!

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!

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.

Growing up Flower Sniffer

Flower Sniffers of Destiny

It’s probably been about three years now since, tired of the drama and stress from being successor and roster keeper in a huge guild, I accepted Slvr’s offer to put my semi-sekrit toon Zak in his then-one-person guild.

A few months after that, the rest of my toons followed. It was a great fit; Slvr and I have similar playtimes, similar playstyles, and similar taste in airship colors. I doubt either of us ever expected there’d be more than just us hanging out and dancing nekkid on the airship.

Well, we’re still the two who are most likely to be found cavorting sans attire atop our Stone of Change, but Shin and Comic each rolled up a Thelanis toon so we could have a Thelanis Night in addition to our weekly Cannith Night. I’m not sure if Keava joined next or if Baz moved an alt over (later followed by the rest of his toons) first. Then Sadie asked if she could put her alt account toons in our guild. And Seki, who’d run with us several times, showed up for our Friday group run a while back and took us up on our standing offer of a guild invite.

EIGHT people! Whoda thunk it? So after several weeks of getting people flagged for various stuff, I thought, hey, we should have a guild raid night – I bet we could shortman stuff.

Harahur and Even

It came down to a choice between Shroud and ToD, and we elected to go for Shroud because we didn’t have a proper shadow person in the guild and didn’t really want to PuG. Neither Sadie nor Baz made it, but other than one portal keeper showing up during Phase One, it was one awesomely smooth run. Even shortmanning, we managed to get all four chests in Phase Three, and there were NO deaths (well, y’know. Except that one part with the potential extra chest – wink wink, nudge nudge).

We followed that up with a five-man EH Devil Assault. Would’ve been a full party except Seki signed off because he had to get up early… in hindsight, we should’ve just told him to pike because Shin ended up having to go as well, so that’s what he did. Next time!

It was another smooth run, and again, no deaths. Definitely something I hope we do again soon – maybe this Friday again, we’ll see! I need to get Zak flagged and/or help Shin make a cold stick and teach him how to shadow tank so we can add ToD to our list.

Best part was definitely getting to do a guild-only raid, something I’m sure Slvr never envisioned when he made a guild for himself lo so many years ago. Next Shroud, though, nobody gets to leave until they ALL dance nekkid on the altar! *g*

And yes, the guild is called Flower Sniffers of Destiny. It used to be named after Slvr’s main, but when guild name changes became free, he renamed it – Flower Sniffers to reflect our preferred playstyle, and Destiny because that’s what our Cannith guild is called. Works for us!

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.

I’m thankful… for griefers

Evennote

Yep, you read the post title right. I’m thankful for griefers. And for newbs, and for mistakes. Probably seem like strange things to appreciate, right?

But if nothing bad ever happens, how will we recognize good when it comes along?

Last night – well, early this morning – Even, Baz, Slvr, Bene and some truly awesome people managed to salvage elite Shroud and elite ToD despite some pretty overwhelming odds against them. The specifics will definitely be a topic for another post soon, but here’s a taste…

Our Shroud group had three griefers who did everything they possibly could to try and make us fail. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt for as long as I could, but by Phase 3 it was obvious that they were definitely out to sabotage us. So I asked the rest if they wanted to recall and reform without the griefers or press on, and the vote was unanimous – keep going and make the best of it. Things got ugly at times, but we persevered and got the completion.

Our ToD group, thankfully, had good people, but several first-timers and no Sully tank. Even’s dual-tanked Horoth and Sully before but not with newbies in the party, so the endfight was… interesting, LOL, and definitely longer than usual. But the real test came in the second part, with Nytherios and the shadows. One of the first-timers apparently had some item with an area of effect spell, because he got aggro from the shadows immediately and kept getting it back. Even, who was tanking shadows, ended up having to go up on the platform and intim everything, including Nyth, to give the rest of the party a chance to rez and heal.

How we made it through, I have no idea. At least once, Even was the only one left alive and was tanking both Nyth and shadows while trying to get Bene raised so he could start getting everyone else up. With both Nyth and the shadows on Even, most of the party couldn’t do anything more than pike so they wouldn’t draw shadow aggro, and Nyth’s health went down REALLY slowly… but it did go down, and when he finally dropped, for me it was an amazing feeling.

So I’m glad there are griefers to make me appreciate all the wonderful DDO players who pitch in to get the job done with teamwork. I’m glad there are newbs and gimps because helping someone learn helps ME learn and often ends up with new friends made. And I’m glad there are mistakes to overcome, because while it’s always nice to get a smooth completion, those aren’t the runs I remember. The ones that stick in my mind, the ones that make me feel like I’ve really accomplished something, are the ones like last night, where a bunch of non-elite players faced some pretty daunting circumstances and still found a way to win.