Two rangers and a rogue walk into Tethyamar…

… and the rogue says, “OW! I hit my head! All the doors here are made for dwarves!”

Indeed, the architecture in Update 36, aka Duel in the Underdark, definitely looks as though it were designed for dwarves, by dwarves, one especially low portcullis in particular.

Vic, being elven and somewhat taller than the average dorf, had to mind her head a few times… and being somewhat squishier than Even, should have minded her red bar a bit better as well. Two days earlier, Even and the Flower Sniffers had had a relatively smooth, painless trip through the four U36 flagging quests on LE. Our gimpier toons, though, had a few struggles on LH.

Melee DPS and/or crowd control and/or better hjealing than Garret and Erytheia might have helped. Two arcane archers and a ranged trapmonkey don’t give you a lot of variety when it comes to dealing damage.

But the Flower Sniffers have never been overly concerned with how much time they spend as soulstones. Mostly we just wanted to have fun with the new quests and maybe pick up some cool new loot.

Yay for us, we did both! I’m really enjoying the new quests. Great storyline, nice variety of mobs (it’s not just dwarves and Drow), and some really cool touches. One of my favorite little extras is the appearance of the undead in your focus orb. Some of them have mushrooms sprouting from their skulls; others appear to have weapons buried in their backs (presumably how they died?).

Vic was wielding the Legendary Heavy Boltslinger Even pulled in Friday’s run. She also, much to her delight, ended up with the Mantle of the Dwarven Commander (which dropped for Slvr, but he passed it to her). And I think we’ve all now pulled at least one Stonework Beam – hope they’re still dropping that thickly when Seki starts playing more regularly in a few weeks, because that’d be great for him! Too bad they’re BtA or I’d just send him mine; I don’t have anyone who uses q-staves. You’d think with 19 toons there’d be ONE who’d want it!

There are a couple of things that could stand tweaking or more. The DM chatter in Tethyamar is a little excessive. It’s “brethren,” not “bretheren.” And there’s that one optional where the door sometimes doesn’t open after you complete it, leaving you trapped unless you have DDoor (or do what we did and complete it after you’ve finished the rest of the quest).

Oh, and there’s a totally idiotic gate/lever combo. The lever to open the gate is… BEHIND the gate. You can get to the lever with a little hand-eye coordination by jumping around the gate (as Vic does in the video), or with Cannith boots from the opposite side. But you needn’t bother, because even if you go through all that, the gate opens to – wait for it – a blank wall.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how my other toons fare in U36. We’ll be running the capstone for the stream this Sunday. I may have spots open, so if you want in, be flagged and on Thelanis!

Streamin’ with Even is live on Thelanis 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. Feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! Thanks for reading and/or watching! 🙂

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Is there a dragon version of Just for Men?

Something's off with Micahrastir...

You know those “What’s wrong with this picture?” things you see around the Internet from time to time?

Here’s a DDO one for you. Can you spot what’s wrong with the above image?

I’ll give you a pretty humongous hint: Read the DM text carefully. Then take a good long look at the dragon.

I KNOW, RIGHT?!

When did Micahrastir go grey? C’mon, it says, “The great RED dragon, Micahrastir!” He’s always been red! At least, every time I’ve visited him, which is a fair number of times ’cause a) I love Underdark, and b) I once spent a lot of time farming his chests to see if I could get a red scale. (Never did, don’t know of anyone who ever has, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.)

I sifted through some old screenshots and found this one from when Reera made her first trip to Underdark, back in November of last year:

Something's off with Micahrastir...

Yep, he’s pretty darn red, and that was less than eight months ago. One must wonder just what’s happened in that short time to turn a fiery red dragon into a boring lump of blah.

Causes I considered before rejecting:

  • He got too frustrated trying to find a definition for “covfefe”
  • He’s stuck on level 59 of Crunch Time, the new Simon’s Cat game (that one took me about three dozen tries)
  • He accidentally turned his saturation all the way down

And then it occurred to me that there’s something in particular that’s got a lot of DDO players worried right now, AND up until now, we haven’t known what class Micahrastir plays…

Dude. It’s OK. The upcoming warlock nerf is a little scary, but c’mon, it shouldn’t be enough to turn you grey overnight. Buck up there.

ERMAGERD ERNDERDERK

Update 36 is coming “soon*”™. Considering that U36 is titled “Duel for the Underdark,” and that the most adorable gnomificer, like, EVER has recently leveled to 20 and finished a King’s Forest S/R/E run, it seemed only right to take Trici, the aforementioned gnomificer, on a tour of that vast realm, where darkness pervades and danger lurks at every unseen corner.

Armed with her trusty arti dog, Minni, and decked out in possibly the most boring-looking armor in all of DDO (Arcane Armor – great armor, terrible appearance), Trici and Slvr managed to get that whole vast realm explored in less than two hours, despite getting blown off Micahrastir’s perch within three seconds of getting up there.

Minni and Albus the hireling were parked there and set on attack, but the dragon eventually got the best of them, even though they were dressed far more fashionably than Trici – Minni’s got a somewhat outdated but unabashedly bright hot pink docent, while Albus has fun turquoise trim on his armor*… which reminded me that I forgot to enter the DDO fashion show. Sigh. Must stop procrastinating – I’ll work on that next week sometime.

Trici had a blast blasting away mindflayers, draegloths, and purple worms (all of which would make great cosmetic pets – just sayin’). And for a change, I had hardly any connection issues at all!

Somehow we got on the subject of player housing. Probably it was a subconscious thing, wondering where we were going to put all the pretty armors. Might also have come from a recent conversation with a friend about playing Minecraft (which I’ve never played, but would like to check out), which got me to thinking about the stuff I used to build when I played Second Life, and so on.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking that one way DDO could implement player housing would be to have small “personal” airships available for TP. No buffs or anything like that, although maybe some purchasable, upgradable storage. And decorations! The petrified dire bear in Nessaleesa’s Garden would be cool. And the Standing Stone monolith from LotRO. And the fictional stuff in this comic by DDO player Nirelle! (Does she still play? Is she still in Inferus Sus on Thelanis?) I know I’d be happy to shell out my DDO points for a beholder rug, Black Abbot coat rack, soulstone chandelier, bouncy dragon, and… Harry plushie, either virtual or literal.

So c’mon, SSG, shut up and take my money. LOL

*I didn’t notice that the title screen on the video was a closeup of Albus’ spiffy turquoise-accented armor – the part covering his, uh, torso “and such” – until after I’d already written that part. 😀

Streamin’ with Even is live on Thelanis 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. Feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! Thanks for reading and/or watching! 🙂

Ermagerd! Mernsters!

Reera

If you’ve ever run with the Flower Sniffers of Destiny, you might have noticed that we sometimes often like to talk like kobolds. Lately, though, we seem to be having an upswing in a certain kind of memespeak – or should I say mermsperk?

I blame Citi, who got me started on this with his idea for a toon name recently, and Seki, with his “ehrmegehrd sner” weather report. Suffice to say that none of the Sniffers seemed overly surprised when I typed, “ERMAGERD BERHERLDERS!” in guild chat tonight (I was running VoN 3).

My own weather report also included a fair amount of sner, which mostly didn’t stick around, and a rather daunting amount of wind, which caused mah perwer ter kerp gerring ert Sunday night. I was just thinking, hmm, haven’t had an outage in nearly an hour, think I’ll go ahead and try to stream… and naturally no sooner had I thought that than it went out twice in the next 10 minutes. So I decided to forego my weekly Sunday livestream, but I did manage to get on DDO enough to get some playing time in on a couple of alts.

Reera

Germpy swershberkler Reera, when not working on the Eveningstar quests with Seki and Citi, has done a complete S/R/E run of the Underdark, which is one of mah favrit plerces in all of DDO. It was a rather productive run, too – besides clearing her map, she got 13 of the 19 rare encounters. Micahrastir, the red dragon, is probably my favorite, and I was glad to see him since he’s been afk the last few times I’ve taken a toon  in there.

Wander Demon Lord Ilhazur tried to make Reera’s perwer ger ert (I’m starting to feel like the Swedish Chef on the Muppets…) by chasing her into his Magical Portal of Spell Point Drainage. Kinda made her wish she’d gone spellsinger instead of swashbuckler so she’d have the SP regen song, but at least there was a shrine on the way out of his little corner of the Underdark.

Genn

Genniah, my F2P rogue alt, has been summoned from the mothballs where I left her to hang months ago so that she can run lowbie stuff with Citi and Slvr. It’s a good thing she’s cute, because her rogue skills are somewhat lacking. She’s definitely in need of a much better Search item, and her Spot has proven to be completely inadequate. She’s had no problems disabling traps once the trapboxes are found, though, nor has she ever failed to pick a lock. I think as she runs more stuff and loots better gear, she’ll get to where she should be… although so far I think the best thing she’s pulled was a blonde hair dye. Makes her look a bit younger than her previous snow-white tresses.

Genn owns NO adventure packs at all, so I’ve dropped a few guest passes on her. I have a love-hate relationship with those things. On the plus side, most of them are fairly inexpensive, so if a friend or one of my F2P alts needs one, it’s usually not a big deal. But I really wish they would stop counting down in public areas – I completely forgot about that and had Genn hanging out on her dinky little ship (she’s not in Sniffers, sadly), and her Delera’s pass expired. We still had the last quest to go because Citi’d had to log (bedtime, pffft, what a wimp), and she ended up needing another pass to complete the arc the next night (which Citi graciously bought for her).

Genn

Besides Delera’s (where she got not just her Voice, but also two of The Best Damn Weapon In The Game because Slvr gave her his so she could dual-wield them) and a couple of F2P quests, we also ran Sentinels, and I was reminded again that Spies in the House is a right pain in the arse. And then we ran possibly mah merst favrit querst ERVER – THE PIT!

That’s always fun for me because for once, I’m usually the one leading the way. Trust me, this is not something that happens often. Sunday night’s run was no exception. It was Genn’s first time in there, and she did… acceptably well. Found all the sekrit doors, solved the puzzles, and was the one who went up to the top of all three furnace rooms to pull the switches and encase the fire eles in their blue bubbles.

Hopefully this Sunday will feature an absence of sner and any other weather conditions that might cause mah perwer ter ger ert, so I should be livestreaming again then… and possibly talking like an ERMAGERD KERBERLD!

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time. 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!  🙂

Filkin’ around: “Purple Worm”

Purple worm, purple worm

I’m sure anyone who read my last blog will be very glad that Niituna has been forbidden to touch the computer again. Ever. The strain on my Caps Lock key was incredible.

But if you’re an easily offended Prince fan, you just might want to stick with Tuna’s attempt at blogging instead of reading the rest of this, ’cause I’m venturing into kinda sacred territory here.

It’s been a pretty tough year as far as celebrity deaths go, and one of the hardest to take was the loss of Prince back in April. The Minnesota native was arguably the most brilliant musical mind of my generation… and he was NOT a fan of parody songs, having famously turned down “Weird” Al Yankovic’s requests to parody his music at least four times.

So I kinda feel a little weird about doing this. Wherever Prince is, if he should somehow happen across this, I hope he’ll know I mean no disrespect. I’m just pairing one of my favorite songs – “Purple Rain” – with a creature from one of my favorite DDO places.

Purple Worm

I never meant to eat that steadfast armor
I never meant to make my tummy hurt
I only wanted one time to eat you, human
I only wanted to eat you, human, ’cause I’m a purple worm

Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm
I only wanted to eat your party ’cause I’m a purple worm

I never wanted to be a bloodrock medusa
I only wanted to hang out underground
Human, you could never dodge me, silly loser
It’s such a shame when you get swallowed down

Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm
I only want to eat you up ’cause I’m a purple worm

Human, I know, I know, I know about digestin’
It’s time for me to grab you, start to chew
And your hire too

You say you’re not a feeder
But you can’t seem to win on this turn
I think you better give up
And let me chomp you ’cause I’m a purple worm

Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm

If you feel how I’m sliming you right here
C’mon, slide right down

Purple worm, purple worm
I only want to eat you, only want to eat you
‘Cause I’m a purple worm

Making a splash… screen

Orchard splash screen

 

Geoff Hanna, aka “Gamer Geoff,” recently posted a blog that detailed how to change some of the splash screens you see when you’re zoning from one area to another in DDO.

 

I take a lot of screenshots. I mean, A LOT of screenshots. Thousands of ’em, possibly tens of thousands. And I get tired of looking at the same splash screens all the time. So this idea really appealed to me.

 

Last night I decided it was high time I bit the bullet and tried it out. Picked 11 screenies kindasorta at random, cropped them to 1024×768, saved them in the appropriate directory with the filenames DDO assigned to the default splash screens, and then booted the game.

 

WOW. SERIOUSLY. JUST WOW.

 

It was incredibly cool to zone from one airship deck to the other and see my OWN picture of our OWN airship while I was zoning.

 

If you try this, you won’t get your own screens on every zone; some zones and quests have specific splash screens that – as far as I know – can’t be changed. But if you’re zoning into a place that uses a generic screen (having a Kraken with a top deck, four lower  decks, and a cargo hold, this happens to me a lot), you’re going to see your own screens for those. And it’s pretty darn awesome.

 

I thought I’d share the first set of screenies I used as splash screens. Since I have so VERY many screen shots, I’ll probably rotate them every so often, just because I can. Feel free to click any or all of them to download for yourself!  🙂

 

  ToDFire pit

  WGUEveningstar river

  KrakenLightning globe

  GriffonAirship in Twelve

  Purple wormAmrath

Photo album: Underdark

Underdark Yuan-Ti

There are some really amazing graphics in DDO, and – in no small part inspired by Gamer Geoff‘s postcards and MMOtivational posters along with Spencerian‘s tourist guides – I’ve often thought of putting together digital photo albums of some of my favorite places.

Underdark acid pool

It used to be that I’d crank up my graphic settings when I wanted to get screenshots, then crank them back down to cut back on lag when I was done. Thanks to a new video card, I now have my settings cranked higher than they’ve ever been cranked before at all times, and I’m amazed at just how freaking BEAUTIFUL this game is. You don’t really get the full impact when you’re just upping your graphics for a few minutes at a time; you have to be running around in permanent sliders-to-the-max mode to truly appreciate it.

Underdark Daycrystals

But enough words – this is a photo album, after all. (A photo album that I was too lazy to put into a slideshow. But whatever.) I’m starting with one of my favorite places in all DDO – The Underdark.

Underdark water elemental

The elemental cave is aptly named, as it’s full of earth, air, and water – you guessed it- elementals.

Underdark Purple Worm

See that innocuous-looking pile of dirt? Ever wondered what it would feel like to be digested?

Underdark Yuan-Ti

Remember those human-ish Yuan-Ti and their aversion to tourists? The lizard-ish ones aren’t any better… AND they have “petrifying” friends.

Underdark Bloodrock Medusa

Let your guard slip around this Bloodrock Medusa and you just might find yourself becoming a permanent fixture in Nessaleesa’s Garden.

Underdark Salamander Firebrand

Wishing you’d brought your winter jacket to ward against the Underdark’s chill? Just find some Salamander Firebrands to hang out with!

Underdark Ygglyshek

Go ahead, call him “Uglyshack” – it may be the last thing you ever do.

Underdark Drider

The itsy bitsy Drider climbed up the water spout… and took steroids, and moved to the Underdark, and grew to an enormous size, the better to eat you with.

Underdark Draegloth

Speaking of steroids, either the Draegloth have developed an incredibly effective weight-lifting routine, or they make heavy use of performance-enhancing substances… not that you should take the time to ask one.

Underdark Waterfall

There are several waterfalls in the Underdark, but if that’s your thing, you’re better off going to Niagara.

Underdark webs

It’s a good idea to smash all these cocoons so you won’t fall victim to a swarm of baby Driders, although Mommy and Daddy Drider will fall upon you as soon as you reach their nest.

Underdark Dimaya

Um. Interrupting Under-Priestess Dimaya’s ritual? You went there? Really? Yeah, good luck with that.

Grabbing life by the Storm Horns

Acanthia

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

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

Acanthia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yttsie

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

NWO Acanthia

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

 

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