Saturday, 27 December 2014

Hope and Memory

Firstly Happy Festivult to all the DDO players of the world, may your greaves have been filled with Copper, Silver and Gold by the Jester. I hope your cakes are wondrous and your cookies full of surprises... or maybe vice versa.

This time of year I guess people have one of two situations. Either the family congregate and game time disappears or you are away from work/school and can put in some serious gaming. For me it was family so I have been barely playing, perhaps just 30 minutes or so a day. Which compared to what I usually put in is a pittance.

This time of year it takes hours picking out a tree

We have all hopefully worked out by now even with all the game time I have put in and all the characters I have run from a half orc barbarian to a halfling monk that is not built around a healing amp I still see myself as a newb. Okay I know what I like and I have played every class at least twice but that is about my enjoyment. To me DDO is about the fun of figuring things out and not copying others, I could go down the route of running the shroud regularly and farming items and materials to make my characters Uber but I I don't want Uber characters I want fun to play characters.

I will trying and build the best character I can but having a character that has so much gear for every occasion appeals less and less. Even on my maxed out sorcerer I only have 4 hotbars and when I see what others are having on their screen shots I go brain dead. I could not remember what 25 characters have on every hotbar if I have gear for every problem. If it is a caster I want one with my main offensive spells and and another with my buffs. For melee a selection of weapons but the active bar will have the special attacks if any, a lot of the time I will go down the passive route of building a character so everything works without my interference.

Okay the one on the right at the back.... I think

Now I definitely would never tell another player how to play but when I watch videos/streaming of other players I do wonder just how they remember what is on every hotbar? Perhaps I need to get a better memory? Sorry this was going to be just a happy holiday wish but I got distracted and my mind went on a wander. If anyone who reads this has 7 plus hotbars on most of their characters would love to know how you memorise the wide spectrum you have available. Have I missed a trick or is old age my problem?

Happy holidays and may your ice skates hit purple (assumption skates being required soon).


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

In the Fen Country

So today I want to discuss what is my favourite wilderness, The Red Fens. I will save the dungeons for a later date but want to discuss the first really big slayer in the wilderness game. Yes all 7,500 of them! And nice that I can use a classical music reference to title this entry.

So 7,500 monsters to slay in an area with a base value of just under 150k experience including explorers and rares. For me, having bought both expansion packs, all my characters have tomes of at least 10% bonus add in Voice of the Master (5%) and the experience bonus from a guild airship (4%) and I start with just under 20% bonus in the wilderness. So realistically the Red Fens are worth 175k experience to me. Yeah definitely big numbers around level 9. Even with a third life character it is most of the experience required  to jump a level. With a first lifer the amount of experience that can be gained could push you through 2 levels. Certainly for those of us who enjoy the wilderness this is a good value option with our time,

Just hope I picked up all 3 crests

Now don't get me wrong 7,500 is a massive number, I have done it on several characters without any slayer boosts. But now with the boosts rather than 71 runs in the Fens I can do it in 23 or 24 with the major slayer boost. Now we are still talking 9 potions and about 8 hours 20 minutes but that is a lot less than the day and a third it takes without the boost (and any sleep if you really want to push it).

For me once I do my first run and get all the explorers I have a route that takes me all round the edge of the wilderness and lets me have a crack at 11 of the rares. Also the route I like finishes near the summoning altar where you need the 3 crests dotted around the wilderness to summon Anogoreth the abishai who likes to get hurt, disappear and then come back to die. The 3 crests can be found at the burned out ravenseye village, somewhere around the base of the Ziggurat and in the Mudpot. Now the crests do move around a little so just because you found them in one place once don't expect them to be in the same place next time.

Adding to the body count

Now apart from Nab Ren, who is a bit of a pain sometimes, the other monsters are relatively bearable. I do dislike wisps as they have a bad habit of scaring my characters and then you just have to wait till it wears off to carry on slaying. Now for me slaying is good when you don't want to think as the route is something I have done so many times I can do it half asleep (and often do). With the 200% boost on the slayer 2500 kills is a lot less painful and it is viable to do in a day. Add in an experience boost at the high end taken just before your 5,000 and it will last till the 7500 if you are using a 3 hour or more experience elixir and 3 of the 200% slayer boosts. I am thinking of a near 50% bonus for the two last points where you get experience.

For those who don't spend turbine points on these things then the graft is a lot harder and yeah having done it questing is the better option with limited time. I "solo" with a cleric hireling and it is a choice that was frustrating before the 200% boost. A lot of the time I missed out of the top end as I would run quests as well and find them a more viable use of my gaming time.

Finally I want to bring up my real bugbear on this, the lack of favour on wildernesses. Clearing 7,500 monsters out to help the drow and House Kundarak you would think there would be a big chunk of favour for putting the time and effort into clearing the area for them. Turbine come on be good about this and give favour in the Wildernesses based on the slayer count. Better you it would drive up the sales of slayer boosts = more money for turbine and make some of the favour targets a little less elitist!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dark, Despair and Doom, Just How Deep Will You Go?

So we now have an idea I am a guy with too much time on his hands who loves DDO and was playing Dungeons and Dragons before there were versions. So thought today I would cover my favourite chain, it is not a long saga or has multiple jumps in difficulty or required play style. It is probably the simplest 4 dungeons in the game and can be done in under 13 minutes if you try.

I am of course talking about the Depth Quests in House Deneith. Two level 4 quests and two level 5 quests that you can play through so if you summon a hireling they remain with you the whole way through. The only real downside to the quests are they are given in the Hammersmith Inn from 4 ex Manchester United Soccer Players (yes I am a Brit but the American players believe football is a game where you don't use your feet). The quests are linear so there isn't much in the way of back tracking and once you learn a route for each of the quests they become predictable and easy to work through.

So 4 quests with 4 end rewards and is reasonable to run from level 4 to level 7 and it is reasonable to expect to complete all 4 in under 15 minutes. And for those of us that want guild renown each quest pays out about 85% of time. So do you need a trapper? Actually not really, the traps can hurt but unless you stand still and wait for them to chop you up they can be ran through without too many issues. Depending on the preferred route that number of chests you can access varies but for me I have a route that gives me 9 chests so long as I can pick locks and I tend to skip a chest. Without the lock pick you can still get 8 chests plus 4 end rewards so it does become a rather pleasant run though.

It terms of monsters trogs, a few undead, earth elementals, Ogres etc. But there is nothing to scare anyone in what you are facing. Usually the worst issue is the odd ooze and rust monster that will cause a little wear and tear on the weapons. The wiki entry and map make it easy to plan and run the quests and after running it 5 or 6 times it becomes way to easy. There are even walk throughs on youtube (or were). But if you only have a few minutes and want a bit of xp and some guild renown this chain  is remarkably good fun.

Happy Questing


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

It's a Kind of Magic

So I have to admit I am in love. And it is a love I share not just with one character but with several. I love sorcerers, I know the elitists amongst us will talk about mana (spell points to those who are unfamiliar with the lingo), the speed you can pump out spells the amount of damage that they can generate in a single attack. Why you should reincarnate for the +3 on the difficulty check and the extra 60 mana.

But for me DDO is about having fun, not about doing every adventure on elite and every epic on epic elite. I want to blow stuff up, there is nothing as fun in DDO as stunning a group of monsters with electric loop and then blasting them with chain lightning. Or hurling fireballs all over the dungeon. I so rarely do some quests simply because the fun for me is not about how hard you did the quest or how many optionals you did, it is about opening treasure chests and killing monsters, undead and anything else that is laying, crawling or running around. A fire savant is brilliant at lower levels but a lot of monsters are fire resistant or worse made of fire, so those quests that you are going to bump into them are a real pain.

But I do have a lot of fun with the fire, currently on his third life and going onto his fourth and final life at some point so I get that last +1 to the DC. Just because I don't do what everybody else does doesn't mean I won't take advantage of the way the game works so long as it is fun. Crafting isn't fun... the poor wizard who started as my intended crafter has been left alone at level 22. I just don't get the fun out of him I use to, I do on the odd occasion take him out and see how he does but the feel is just not the same. So 4 Sorcerers one of whom will to level 30 in the future and the other 3 will all go 3 past lives before doing the epic routine.

My special friend has both wizard and sorcerer and for her she struggles with the wizard, slower casting and less mana just don't have the same appeal. For all you wizard lovers out there yes the spell swap, versatility and better spell penetration are great reasons to go down the wizard route. In fact I intend to create a 7 life character who has 3 wizard and 3 Sorcerer past lives like I guess so many people have done with the 7th life a surprise even to me until I actually take it. Strange I had no intention of doing that until I was well into writing this. It sort of gets me thinking and then I will go off down well trodden paths before it is new to me. Whilst I enjoy reading about other people and what they do in DDO and even better watch sometimes what goes on I am still a noob after all the years I have played.

And that comes to my wrapping up point. I have been playing DDO for years, I was first exposed to the pen and paper version back in 1979 at school and back then I started as a smash it all barbarian. I had no idea about builds or about who did what in a party. In fact my first barb didn't make it past the first trap, the dungeon master had a habit of demonstrating stupid actions with me getting blown up, losing equipment, running around naked so the others did not rush through doors. I had read far too much Robert E. Howard and played each life that. But now I enjoy pointing a finger and watching things wilt or go boom!.

Happy Slaying


Saturday, 29 November 2014

So let me introduce the band

So here we go with another blog about Dungeons and Dragons online and most people will go oh no not another blog. Well this one is going to be a little different as it is for the fun soloists who enjoy wilderness as well as dungeons. The point of view will also be a bit different as I am a mature (almost 50) player who is in a wheelchair so can put in way too much time if I wanted. I try not to over do it and usually limited myself to 20 to 30 hours a week. I am from the UK so my game time is likely to be when there are less people on. And I play on the Ghallanda Server.

So the real basics over here is the bits I find interesting, I am leader of a really, really small guild Clan Grouse which compromises of myself and a beautiful lady on the East Coast of the States. No we are not looking for other guild members because our guild messages can get a bit slushy! Now while there are only two accounts connect to the guild we have over 30 toons. Yep being on line too much does end up with me adding new character slots to do strange builds and so I now have 23 characters I am playing and two I use for test builds for new lives.

So at the moment I am concentrating on my 14th life Kukri wielding Assassin, okay he is only level 6 at the moment but I bashed out 13 lives going through all classes so I could use the completionist feat which has given me an early boost to my stats and that has helped the build. What I hope to share in the future is the aspects of the game that I enjoy. Which is not going to be what others enjoy as I have never run a raid nor do I craft. Thats the great thing about DDO though as I can play it my way and it is never wrong just a different approach.

In terms of toons I have 4 sorcerers one of whom is level 28 first life and one that is third life down at level 8. I have my characters for most situations and have every class although by choice you wont see me as a healer. I can do it but very very badly.  Not sure if or when I will get my assassin up to 20 so not even thinking about the future but I am so enjoying the build i might get through quicker than expected. However you will see in future posts me jumping to other characters and other builds, always willing to try something to see how it works but tried a hell of a lot of builds so far.

Finally people may wonder about the Grouse thing, well if you are from the UK you may get it straight away if I tell you my birthday is the glorious twelfth. So if you see me on Ghallanda you can invite me to join quests but I am use to soloing so please don't be offended if I say no and if I say I am waiting on a guildie we definitely won't be joining a PUG.

Happy slaying