Accidental swag, unexpected adventure

Broccoli and banana

I was lucky enough, on my recent trip to New England, to make a stop in Needham, Mass., and tour Turbine.

‘Twas a very fun trip, and I got to meet a number of devs. Sadly, the banana and broccoli weren’t part of the swag I got, although I must’ve had a jewel of fortune going ’cause I pulled some nice stuff, including a hoodie!

And there was one little item I was definitely not expecting to get, and one that I’m pretty sure no other DDO player has received. But there’s some back story here, so bear with me.

Being an adventurous sort of adventurer, upon completion of my tour followed by lunch (Williamsport needs a Chipotle, dammit!), I noticed that there is a very nice park across the street from Turbine HQ. There’s a trail that goes all the way around a lake. I figured this would be a great spot to stretch my legs and get some pics.

I was not planning on questing. I mean, c’mon, I was in, y’know, REAL LIFE. So I was figuring on a casual saunter with plenty of photo breaks.

But then… but then… well, you know what they say. You can take the adventurer out of the adventure, but you can’t take the adventure out of the adventurer. OK, they don’t really say that, whoever “they” are. It just fits the story to say that they say it.

I heard barking. I heard yelling. And then a medium-sized canine-type monster came bounding up to me.

I stood my ground. He seemed friendly enough and didn’t seem inclined to try to flank me. Shortly thereafter, two adventurers happened along. I’m guessing they were barbarians, although I didn’t know that at the time.

“Is this your canine-type beast?” I asked.

One of them replied, “No.”

I looked at the canine-type beast. “Well,” I said to him, “you’re clearly undergeared, seeing as how you have no leash.”

(I should mention here that for one thing, there were “All dogs must be on leash” signs all over the place, and for another, anyone with an Int higher than 4 should know that, signs or not, no dog should be off leash in an area that’s clearly a habitat for waterfowl.)

“Someone’s probably searching for you,” I added, thinking to myself, “Yes, someone who is clearly not a rogue, because their Spot and Listen both seem to be 0.” And I took hold of the beast’s collar, believing that I was doing its owner a favor.

The two barbarians began to walk away.

The canine-type monster decided to follow.

At top speed.

With my fingers hooked in his collar.

Have you ever wondered what Improved Trip would feel like if you were on the receiving end? I’m betting it would be a lot like the canine-type beast jerking me off my feet and dragging me along the ground for a couple of yards. Turns out he DID belong to one of the barbarians, the one who hadn’t answered at all when I asked if the dog belonged to them.

The trail around the lake was relatively flat in most places, but was covered in dead leaves, bark, small stones, and of course, dirt. My right hand was pretty scraped up, including one good-sized patch that was missing a chunk of skin but had replaced it with trail debris. There was a similar patch on my arm, and assorted little dings elsewhere on my hand, wrist, and arm. And I could feel that my knee was also banged up a bit, but my jeans weren’t torn so I figured that wasn’t too bad.

The two barbarians, or maybe they were warlocks, or maybe just dropouts from adventuring school, proceeded to yell at me about how they were watching their dogs (in the meantime, a second canine-type monster had bounded up) so there was no need for them to be leashed, and generally seemed perturbed that I would dare suggest such a thing. And then they stalked off rather quickly.

I walked on a bit further thinking the gouge on my hand was the worst of it… and then I felt a tickle on my elbow. I thought it was a bug or something, so I swiped at it with my other hand… which came away covered in blood.

You can’t really get a good look at your own elbow, although I tried. And there was a LOT of blood. “The blood vessels are really close to the surface there,” I told myself. “It’s probably not nearly as bad as it looks.”

But I thought I should probably try to at least clean out the trail dirt. And then I realized that, in real life, I have absolutely no self-hjealing. NONE, I tell you! I’d put my wallet, keys, camera, and phone in a little camera bag, and left everything else locked in the car. I had nothing first-aid-y AT ALL with me.

But I was nearly halfway around the lake, so I figured it would be just as long to turn around as it would be to keep going. And so I kept going. Once I finally made it back around to the start (with a short detour to get more pics of a snake that may or may not have been a water moccasin), I headed for the ladies’ room (luckily for me, there was one in the public area of Turbine HQ) to assess the damage.

Well, now I had soap, water, and paper towels, anyway. Jerry, aka Cordovan, was nice enough to bring me some stuff from their first aid kit as well. I never put any points into my hjeal skill, but I figure that was worth at least a +8.

But the worst of the dirt and gunk was still pretty embedded even after an extended period of vigorous washing followed by scrubbing with an antiseptic towelette. Thanks to Cordovan, I now had a couple little packets of antibiotic cream plus bandaging supplies, but I didn’t want to use that stuff until the wounds were clean.

Then some kind woman who happened upon me with my elbow under the faucet told me that there was hand sanitizer in a dispenser in the lobby.

Have you ever poured nearly pure alcohol in a gaping wound? Yeah. NOT FUN. But rather effective once I could feel anything but the infernal burning. The sanitizer was dispensed as a foam, which did a surprisingly good job of foaming the debris out of the wounds. I washed them out one more time, applied the antibiotic cream, slapped the gauze over my elbow, taped it up, and thought that was the end of my adventure…

… and it mostly was. Until I got home and realized… I still have the roll of tape.

I know other DDO players have visited Turbine HQ. I know they’ve gotten swag. But I bet not one of them has EVER pulled a Roll of Adhesive Medical Tape.

Yep. I win the swag war!

(Note: A week and a half later, there is still some gunk embedded in my hand. The elbow wound is finally starting to close and probably should have been stitched. And I really wish I’d put some points in Hjeal and hadn’t dumped Dex!)


Another Ten Years

The 2.31 people who read this blog are probably familiar with my love of writing filks, or parody songs. Mostly my efforts have been funny, or at least were intended to be funny (whether I succeeded… yeah, jury’s still out on that one). There have been a couple of serious ones.


But I’ve never written a love filk. That is, until now.


The cosmetic pets, the Potions of Wonder, the hair dyes, the Valentine’s bouquet, the Clubs of the Holy Flame, the naked Shroud dances, the dragging of my gimps through sagas, and so, so much more…


I offer you “Another Ten Years,” set to “One Hundred Years” by Five for Fighting. (For the instrumental version I used, by Jewel KARAOKE, click here.) Lyrics follow, since the captions ARE. NOT. WORKING.  *grrrrr*


   Another Ten Years

I’m level 1 for a moment
Stuck on this beach, oi, no, I ain’t undead
Braving the cold
Finding my way ’round Korthos Island

I’m level 8 for a moment
Through Waterworks, kobolds gonna hate me
Next up, the Pit
I’m getting lost, enjoying the ride

DDO, good times with you
PuGs and friends and guildies true
DDO, would you ask the djinn to grant me one wish
For another ten years just as good as this

I’m level 12 for a moment
Now I’m VoN flagged, time to run my first raid
Getting snick-snack vorpaled
Killing still more minotaurs

I’m 16 for a moment
Defeated Tor, heading out to the Vale
To flag for Shroud
Can’t wait to make a Lit II longsword

DDO, good times with you
PuGs and friends and guildies true
Can’t wait to check out Eveningstar

DDO, I salute you
DDO, would you ask the djinn to grant me one wish
For another ten years just as good as this

Quests flash by on my screen
Now I’m banking 19
Inside Jeets’ dream
Epic quests still to come
Think of places I’ve been
I’m playing on

I’m epic capped for a moment
Looking back, what a journey
And I’m just dreaming
‘Til it’s time to TR and start anew

DDO, good times with you
Party wipes and rolls for loot
Dancing nekkid in the Shroud
Oh, the joy that I’ve found

DDO, oh oh ooh
DDO, oh oh ooh
DDO, oh oh oh, DDO

DDO, good times with you
PuGs and friends and guildies true
DDO, would you ask the djinn to grant me one wish
For another ten years just as good as this


DDO – the game, the players, the staff, and most of all my friends – this is for you. Just my own little homage to something that has had a tremendous impact on my life. A very few of you know some of the things I’ve struggled with over the years. (If you want to know, you can always ask; if I know you well enough, I might tell you.) It’s kind of ironic that some people, particularly non-gamers, think that my DDO habit means I have no life, when it is the amazing, wonderful, supportive friends I’ve made here who have helped me conquer my demons and start to really live.


I love you all, and I love this game. A very happy 10th anniversary to DDO, and a heartfelt wish for many more to come.


Note: I actually wanted to write an original song, but a) time constraints ’cause I wanted to have this published on the actual anniversary date (which I missed by a bit over an hour anyway, darn it), and b) I can’t find the cable for my MIDI keyboard, so it’s just a keyboard for now.

The fairest of them all


In real life, I like cute clothes and makeup and especially nail polish. But with the possible exception of the polish, I’ve never been overly obsessed with fashion.

Somehow, though, I’ve ended up with a pair of Valley Girl toons. When I sign off of DDO, I just know that Dissy and Chalei head for the mall, where they undoubtedly do a lot of giggling, a bit of squealing, and generally act, well, silly.

Dissy’s the more *whispers* airheaded of the two, although in typical airhead fashion, she doesn’t know it. She liked the way her blue dragonscale armor matched her Skyvault Shield (not sure why the pic on Wiki is different – Dissy has an EE one and it’s *definitely* blue), but it wasn’t the kind of thing she wanted to be caught dead wearing outside of dungeons.

For quite some time now, she’s been ooh-ing and aah-ing over the Elocator’s Habiliment Jall pulled from Mindsunder, oh, aaaaages ago. Poor Dissy, being a bard, only has light armor proficiency, though, and the Habiliment is medium armor. It seemed she was doomed to appearing less than a fashion plate.

And then… DDO introduced the Mirror of Glamering.

In case you haven’t heard of this nifty little gadget yet, it lets you take any armor (or goggles, or helm) and turn it into a cosmetic armor kit. There are a VERY few caveats; Jall really wants the Gleaming Plate that comes standard with iconic Sun Elf characters, but that armor is race restricted to Sun Elves only, and that restriction carries over to any cosmetic kits made from it. And Acanthia’s quite partial to the old pale red/tan Leaf 1 outfit armor kit, but those old kits were BtC and only worked on the original armor they were applied to – while the Mirrors work on armor with the newer kits applied, they don’t work on armor with the older kits.

Still, the 245 TP price is a pretty good deal, especially considering that the armor (or helm, or goggles) kits the Mirrors make are bound to account, AND that the original item is preserved. So you could take, say, a blue dragonscale robe, Mirror it into a kit, and end up with both the original robe AND a BtA armor kit that can be used to make any armor kit look like that robe.


And that’s just what Chalei did. Because Chalei, though not quite as fashion-obsessed as Dissy, nonetheless hated the “drabness” of her Spidersilk Robes. Oh, they were fine for Zak; he’s a pale master, so basic black suits him fine. But a water savant with sky blue hair? Uh, no.

So another Mirror went for Chalei to slip into something more comfortable… or at least more color-coordinated. Now that her Spidersilk Robes have been glamered to look like her old blue dragonscale robes, she can focus on nuking the living crap out of stuff instead of worrying about whether black robes make her complexion look too pasty.

Two Mirrors, two very happy toons – hard to beat that!

A trivial pursuit


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.


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


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!


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 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.


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.  🙂

RSS = Ridiculously Stupid Stuff


Back when MyDDO was dismantled and I got the idea to try to create a replacement, I had to do a lot of Googling, asking questions, and looking stuff up before the original OurDDO RSS feed came into being. It had some mostly minor issues right from the start, which led to the birth of the main OurDDO site.

I still kept the original feed up, because some people prefer to get the latest blogs via their feed readers. But a few days ago, Erdrique sent me an E-mail to let me know that the old feed hadn’t updated since Nov. 3.

What with all the pesky real-life stuff I have going on, and since the original feed was actually on a third-party site that I have no control over, I didn’t really get a chance to look into it until tonight (see, downtime can be good!). So I pulled up the site, tried to log in, and got a “502 Bad Gateway.” I could still get to the “support” (and I use that term loosely) section without logging in, and there I found that many people are having the same problem, and that the site has not answered any of them.

So, went hunting for a new way to make an aggregate feed. To try to shorten a long story, I found one and set up a new aggregate feed, which can be found here. The upsides are that it’s free and doesn’t limit how many feeds I can add to it. The downside is that if I need to add any additional feeds now that it’s set up, the URL will change.

But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, if you were using the old RSS feed, please change to the new site. Many thanks to Erdrique for letting me know the old feed was down!


(Oh… and in case you were wondering, RSS in this context actually stands for Really Simple Syndication. But I think mine’s more appropriate.)

Drinking and dancing


Many, if not most, DDO players don’t have much good to say about the quality of Turbine’s customer service, especially when it comes to getting a help ticket response from a GM. A while back, I posted about an awesome GM experience I had. Last night I encountered a GM who gave me laughs to rival that first one.

First, a little background… Dissy made her first trip to Storm Horns last night; I was looking for about 180K XP to get her leveled up to 25 so she could wear her blue dragonscale armor (she ended up leveling in eChrono with Ninja and Abs, and the armor looks GREAT with her hair, shield and Elyd Edge). She was singing her way through the snowy mountaintops when she got a tell from a friend who shall remain nameless, who was slightly – OK, more than slightly – inebriated. And I’m SO going to embarrass him here before I get to the GM part, just because I can. LOL

So, Nameless started yelling at me for not joining his guild, because he kept trying to talk to me in guild chat. Then he wanted me to send him a party invite so he wouldn’t have to type (which kinda made me sad, because his drunken typos were cracking me up). I sent him an invite, but it didn’t work – all I got back from him was a tell that said something like, “tlepaxorang.” (He later told me that was supposed to be, “Stop teleporting!”) Turned out that he was getting the “can’t add to the party when any member is teleporting” message. Neither of us was teleporting, though, and I noticed he was on a lvl 17 toon. Dissy, being lvl 24, was in epic Storm Horns, so I thought maybe he couldn’t join because he was under level.

He was sober enough to switch to an epic-level toon… and same result. I told him I’d try putting up an LFM, and got something like, “I’m not joining your party unless you put, ‘[toon name] only, everybody else f*** off’ in the LFM.” (My spelling is MUCH better than his was. :D) We argued about this for a bit, and I finally went with, “[toon name] only. He says everybody else should eff off. Sorry. :(”

And it STILL didn’t work. So I took the LFM down as fast as I could, recalled out, and THEN I was finally able to add him. He ran in circles around me on the bridge in Eveningstar until he got dizzy, ran off the edge and forgot how to get back up. But we finally made it into Storm Horns and teleported back up to the snowy area.

Now, Nameless knows I get lost easily. I’ve followed him around Storm Horns before, and he zips from explorer point to explorer point with unerring accuracy… or at least, he does when he’s sober. I knew he was REALLY drunk last night when he said, “Where are we going?” I said, “I need all the explorers from 22 on up except for 43 and 44.” He replied, “No. I mean, where are those?” I said, “East.” And he said, “Which way is east?” Trust me – when Nameless is asking ME for directions, something’s definitely wrong.

We got as far as the entrance to Breaking the Ranks – which wasn’t very far, as we’d TPed to the northwest marker when we went in – when Nameless suddenly said, “It’s time.” I was wondering, time for what? And then he said, “seeppy tiem.” And he stopped right there at the Netherese Central Camp, and that was the last he talked, typed or moved for the rest of the night.

About that time, Ninja sent me a tell asking if she could join the party. So I tried to add her and the “can’t add party members while teleporting” bug kicked in again. (May or may not be relevant – when Nameless went beddy-bye, Dissy summoned the owlbear, who never appeared on the party list). Dissy was still about 40K short of level 25, so Ninja told me to come run eChrono with her.

So I typed in party chat – just in case Nameless was conscious at all – that I was dropping to run eChrono, recalled out, and… couldn’t drop. SAME “teleporting” bug. I logged Dissy out, logged Char in, and then rebooted DDO and brought Dissy back in – same damn thing. And I couldn’t dismiss Nameless, because now HE had the star AND he was still in the dungeon.

I figured it was high time to fill out a support ticket. What follows is a great convo I had with the GM who responded. Per Turbine policy, I won’t name him (or her, for all I know). I doubt s/he will read this… but Mr./Ms. GM, THANK YOU! I was laughing so hard I could barely type back to you by the end.   🙂

GM: Greetings Discordette! I am a Game Master for online support and will be with you momentarily. You can reply to my messages by typing /r and entering your message.

GM: Are you still stuck in the party?

Me: Yep! It’s ironic, earlier I couldn’t ADD people to my party.

Me: (Error) You can’t create, destroy, or modify a party while any members are teleporting.

Me: That’s what I’m getting when I try to drop.

GM: Alright I need you to try to invite *PlaceholderToon to the party.

A wizard suddenly appears on the ship in front of me… and waves to me. And no, “PlaceholderToon” is definitely not his real name.

Me: I can’t, because my friend’s got the star – and he’s passed out drunk. LOL

GM: Any way you can wake him up? I can only fix this if I can get invited to the party.

I type in party chat; I yell, “[Nameless], wake up!” on voice. No response.

Me: Well, I’m talking to him on voice, but I’m not getting anything back.

Me: Nada. I just yelled, “[Nameless], wake up!” over voice, and nothing.

GM: I’m really sorry, we’re gonna have to wait for him to wake up, or get disconnected.

Either the GM manages to disconnect Nameless, or, with perfect timing, he DCs due to inactivity. I quickly send a party invite to the placeholder toon standing in front of me. For a minute or two, nothing happens.

Me: OK, sent the invite… don’t tell me, let me guess, you got the teleporting message. LOL

I send another party invite. This one goes through.

GM: OK make me the leader.

I’ve already dismissed Nameless, which gave me the star back. Just for the heck of it, I buff up the GM’s placeholder wizard with the full works… and he starts dancing. I successfully – though to be honest with a bit of regret, ’cause I’m having fun – drop party.

GM: There you go.

Me: Oops, hit Leave too fast – but it worked. And your wizard has some buffs. LOL

GM: That works too, as long as you are out of the party.

GM: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: That may be the most bizarre bug I’ve ever encountered. LOL

Me: Nope, that’ll do it. Thank you! 😀

GM: It is pretty rare but it happens once in a while.

GM: You’re welcome, have a great day!

Me: You too! That wizzy’s all buffed, take him out and kill stuff. 😉

GM: Unfortunately this one is going away after this. He was made just to fix this problem.

GM: But I’m sure he will be happy with those buffs on whatever plane of existence he ends up on!

If anyone from Turbine happens to read this post – THIS is exactly what you want your GMs to do. He (or she) was polite and friendly. When it looked like he might not be able to fix the problem, he told me why and apologized. Even if I were STILL stuck in party, I would have come away feeling like at least someone tried to help me. The dancing wizard taking his buffs to his new plane of existence was just the icing on the cake. Bravo, Mr. or Ms. GM. You made my night! 🙂

Nameless – YOU know who you are. No one else needs to. I’m not going to call you out publicly, because I understand what a rough night it was for you and why you were drinking. I hope you’re not upset that I posted this; I did it because I’ve been going through quite a rough patch myself and you were completely cracking me up last night. Thank you for the laughs. 🙂

tl;dr – My friend got drunk and was funny. Then I couldn’t drop party, filled out a ticket and got a GM who was just as funny. It made for an awesome night.

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.