Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Speedy Gonzales

So I am thinking about ETR(Epic reincarnation) for Grousemot my first life monk and looked at his favour and realised that he hasn't got the favour he should have so I have started to catch up on the favour first. But the last thing I really wanted to do was spend time grinding favour so decided to see just how fast I could do quests using hirelings including gold seal. And first up was Delera's which normally takes about 80 minutes or so actual dungeon run time. At best is abut 65 minutes but I can't ever remember completing this under 60 minutes.
I am sure someone will beat this but I impressed myself
BUT we have a monk that moves like grease lightning. Who dances with the wind and flows like water. So fire up elite and lets go... and go... and go... and go! I have to admit I have never tried to flow this fast before and okay all the abilities a maxed out monk with thunder and lightning handwraps it was more than easy. And in total 37 minutes. Next chain I hadn't done on elite is Tangleroot Gorge, this was a bit more of a stroll as I wanted every treasure chest so it was dragged out a bit at 49 minutes. On the plus side for a quick blast through it was okay on the plat side dropping 12k.
Not bad for a first lifer
Something strange though this urge to get favour, I have unlocked everything, I run VIP and I have bought tomes to boost my characters so why do I drive myself nuts for maybe a little in the way of turbine points? Certainly the spells the houses offer and even the Deneith ammo doesn't offer enough to drive through but over the years on every toon I have felt an urge to get the favour up even though I have 2 toons with over 2,500 favour. Part of the enjoyment along with experience and reflects that I have done most quests in the game. The only low level quest I never do is stealthy repossession which I guess I could do now, just a bad experience with it about 5 years ago and haven't touched it since.
Not bad for a little run

left it way to late for this to have an impact
But one of the reasons I am now going to ETR is the fact I need to get out of my comfort zone. It has been too easy just leveling in Heroic and grinding Devil's assault and the wildernesses to reach 28 so time to shut up, pull up my big boy pants and get out there to find new challenges. My completionist has stalled at level 9, my master magic user is close to start his new life but this is all heroic so time to step up and try something different. I have never got my head round epic reincarnation so I know some reading is in order but with the new year I will see a new style of playing.

Happy Festivult


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Slip Slidin Away

So I like playing in the morning most of the time and always pop on around 10am UK time which is 5am on the East Coast so not going to be many players on and I have just reincarnated Grousemerlin for his 12th life and 3rd as a Warlock. Cool it is all good until I need to do Misery Peak and I am protecting a Bravery Bonus. So apart from a first level cleric hireling I go to the DDO store and decide to be very safe by getting some extra hirelings to make sure I don't lose the bonus.
Who made a big mess?
So 2 clerics, a barbarian, a paladin and a sorcerer and myself. I have had some bad experiences with a certain low level Wizard hireling so chose the golfing Sorcerer Parfour and set off to run across Kothos to do that well paying quest (picked up 7k on it). And I ran into the exact same problem that I got with Rita. Now I am certain there are some Developers sitting there laughing their heads off knowing exactly what I am referring to. But to those who haven't got it yet I am talking about the Spell Grease.
Stop laying down on the job
Believe the spell wording is:- Covers the ground with a layer of slippery grease, forcing targets to make a Reflex save or fall. Grease slicks will sometimes be set ablaze by area of effect fire effects, dealing 2 to 12 damage per two caster levels fire damage to all enemies of the caster in the slick every few seconds, as well as the caster of the grease spell. A successful (DC 10+spell level+ability modifier+items+feats) Reflex save will reduce this damage by half. Slicks that have been set ablaze will quickly burn away.

So we have a spell that can send creatures flying but what the description neglects to inform us that everyone can be affected including the caster and allies. And there in lies the problem especially in Misery's Peak where you have objectives that are quite high up following narrow rising paths and drops from a great height. The whole thing turns farcical when everyone in the party is falling over along the opposition. Why oh why Devs? Not one caster I have ever come across uses Grease so why do the low level caster hirelings use it?
Made it no thanks to a certain caster
So pro tip for anyone thinking of getting a caster at low level DONT, get an extra cleric. After almost losing the whole party off a ledge while disputing a route with some Ice Spiders I disabled the hireling and just dragged him round as an extra target.

And yes I did think of several of the songs from Grease but this title seemed oh so much more appropriate.

A slightly miffed Grousemerlin

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

I Want It All

Who doesn't enjoy a bit of Queen?

So today I sort of felt I should explain while after so many years of playing ddo I am still here and enjoying it. I started playing when level 16 was the cap and us poor Europeans were not well served. Since the migration to Turbine with all the headaches and heartaches that went with it the game has grown and in general improved keeping a level of freshness other games have not. I have started other games over the years but DDO has remained the only constant in my life. Maybe if Konami had of kept Yugi Oh online going I would have played that but to be frank it was getting stale and I have avoided the unlicensed versions of it. So what has kept me coming back? What has seen me reincarnate 30 plus lives and run 25 character slots? Why am I such a glutton for punishment? I have maintained VIP since moving to Turbine and bought both expansion packs.
Gratuitous Dragon Pic
So there must be a reason that a game can keep a level of freshness that sees me play at least 20 minutes every day, 365 days a year for the last 7 years. Well I have barely scratched the surface in terms of different characters, I have run 47 different characters in terms of basic build. But when you consider Race, Class and Prestige Enhancement without the Iconics, Epic Destinies or the Patron tree like Harper or splashes there are over 320 possible combinations. I haven't seen that many Halfling Barbarians nor Half Orc Paladins but if you were to truly explore every heroic option with just the basic changes without adjusting for builds or skills you would need 320 character lives. Add in Iconic, splashes or true multi class and the numbers start frying brain cells. Yes some characters would be complete and utter gimps in the worst possible way but most would be somewhat viable and to truly understand the limits of a character, you should explore what some people would consider unplayable and find out just how realistic that is.

Next year we get Gnomes, so long as they all come with fishing rods and and silly hats I am sure we will all enjoy them. I will be watching for character references to Dragonlance and Shannara in Gnome names. But serious that just will increase the incredible amount of differences within this game I love (okay sometimes hate) but the fact is I still haven't built a Drow Barbarian nor a Half Orc Sorcerer but the option to is there for me. Just in terms of splashes I like rogue so I can get the assassin prestige tree opened for Venomed blades as it is always nice to do more damage. I have one toon that is based on a build from the ddo forums but whilst the character is a good multi class it doesn't feel mine so the intention is to reincarnate it as a support character for my guildie when she reincarnates her paladin as a Gnome... warlock or sorcerer I am guessing as they are her two favourite classes.
Old men can't dance
If I was coming to this game new the amount of options are a bit overwhelming especially if you have never played the desk top version. I have mentioned previously that simplistic option for you first character is good, human is always the safe race choice if you are not sure how a character will play but to truly enjoy the game you need to bury deep into the choices as no two players will be the same. Every sorcerer has the option of different spells, I always like knock as a level 2 spell but I can guess there would be quite a few players who would exercise a different spell choice. Some things you will automatically choose because they make sense and other things really come down to a personally preference. I wont add in the choices with gender and character appearance because it is enough to make my mind go boom. Besides I never could tell the difference between male and female warforged.

So from halfing rogue assassin to Half Orc Barbarian Frenzied Berserker the choice for us as players is immense but will any of us choose the crazy options just to say we have tried them?

Grouseman who is that halfling rogue assassin completionist 32 point build with +5 supreme tome

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Greatest Cockney Rip Off

So firstly sorry for the quiet period but my Guildie was away and I decided to spend the time I was playing just farming keys and chocolate in the night revels event. I wanted to write something up and realised the action by players including myself during the events needs to be discussed because it is not how many players would want to spend their time. As to the title it is one of those punk tunes that you sort of wonder if you like or not but it is by the Cockney Rebels and as a Cockney (or at least a proper London resident) I can sort of get away with it.
Monies kept rolling in
There are two ways of handling an event like Night Revels, the first is to get your keys and do the quests which 90% of people would see as normal. The issue would always be of acquiring keys and that leads to those who farm keys to earn platinum from the auction house. Now I took the approach of farming keys to auction which is unusual for me but I found my cleric stormed the 16-20 area even though he is only level 16. I was earning keys and chocolate fairly quickly so checked the one character who would use the materials from the event and felt I would not be gaining much from it so selling seemed the best option.
Making bank
But here in lies the problem, I checked the going rate for keys and chocolate on the AH (auction house) took the top price and then set my buy out price at one third the price of the top charging auction. And I earned over 3m plat in 8 days, I am sure I could have earned more but I felt I would be over charging. I understand that many players do not have the time to farm keys and do the quests and some characters are not best suited to farming undead. So for me I got a chance to dust off my Cleric and drop comet falls (rather nice divine spell if you have never played div
ine casters) or use turn undead and keys and chocolate came along regularly.
Last day of the event and people still charing too much
The AH does highlight an issue though that especially new players will face and that is over charging. Seeing a +3 health belt going for 75k you think what was the seller thinking but then I realise that people trying to strengthen their character may not have access to multiple toons with a lot of excess kit. Nor do they have characters that can craft, my favourite crafted item is an underwater action helm with a yellow slot for a feather falling topaz... once fitted never removed. But I keep going to the AH looking for little bits and pieces especially when I have 2 or 3 reincarnations down in the lower levels as I tend to sell off things rather than crowd my inventory.

Yet even though I have millions in House K's bank and many of my toons with fat wallets I get aggrieved when I see some items in AH. There is a difference between making reasonable bank and trying to rip people off just sometimes feels like it is better to earn the equipment.

I hope all those who took part in Night Revels enjoyed it as much as I did and depending on how you played it I hope you got what you wanted out of it.


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Keep Searching (the new game of Where's Arlos)

Todays title comes from the track by Del Shannon, there were so many great choices and my guildie sent me a few but this was the first one to come to mind so  will stick with it

So today I want to talk about the Lost Seekers Quest chain which is based in the Waterworks (can hear the groan from my guildie as she knows what will be mentioned in quest 2) and is spread over four quests, two at point where you meet Guard Tember and two at the other end of the waterworks. The first time you run it the Harbourmaster will also reward you providing you have been speaking to him both you run the quests. On elite this provides 45 coin lord favour so worthwhile to go back to if you never completed it on elite for higher ranked players. All four quests are considered long but I can usually do the 4 of them including the interconnecting run in the waterworks in well under an hour. That is me with a cleric and a rogue hireling on hard, cleric for obvious reasons and the rogue as there are a few traps and it is something I am well aware of have been caught in fire and acid traps.
Ooooo a door
So parts 1 and 2 are the Kobold's Den, first part is Clan Gnashtooth which has a fun optional, kill 60 kobolds, I say a fun optional as unless you are sneaking through the whole thing I don't see how you can do the quest without killing at least 60. The 60th is at the end just before you decide should you run the Spider optional or not. I would suggest you get the keys rather than picking locks to get round as the open lock skill required is relatively high as you go around the quest. The good thing about this quest is the volume of treasure, there are between 3 and 7 chests depending on what "rares" appear. A couple of the chests are easier to get to if you have a trapper (ddo slang for a rogue) with you but it can be a very profitable adventure for new players. There is one very nasty trap if you climb a ladder in the adventure that spits acid and as you encounter a kobold shaman when you get to the top with throwers attacking you as well at range it is worth being very careful. First person up the ladder needs to have good ranged attack if you are going to avoid getting seriously hurt. Old hands will breeze through this but soloing or new players need to allow for ranged attacks.
No clues to where he will be next time
When finishing the first quest do not recall as the entrance to the second part Rescuing Arlos is in front of you. And at this point we hear a groan from my guildie as a while back she was running this quest solo for the first time and thus did not know that Arlos is a very naughty boy and moves from cell to cell. Now there is 5 hours difference in time zones so we discovered that Arlos had hidden himself or at least I did at 1am whenI got a sms asking where Arlos is. So 5 minutes later in and had to find my guildie in the dungeon before heading back to Arlos and out. Now I don't do all the optionals, because of the fac whilst the rewards are okay the time consumed doing them is too much in my very humble opinion. The bedraggled prisoners are easy because they sit in the area Arlos is in, the Warden is easy because he comes charging at you and Chef is by the entrance/exit. As a tip Arlos has to be protected but he is the first of many amongst those who we have to protect who has a mind of his own and wants revenge. The moment he sights a Kobold he charges to the attack. If you are using hirelings worth assigning them to Arlos as he is one dumb *******
I am going to get my shoes wet
Now on to parts 3 and 4 which are at the other end of the waterworks. Part 3 Venn's Trail is one of those that can bug you till you get the hang of it. Once in you have to pull two levers to open side tunnels to futher levers which opens a gate in the floor which you drop through into water, although those with feather falling will quickly master the drop onto the walkways so you can get into combat straight away. The combat itself can be challenging if you run it on elite as the kobold shaman have a lot of lighning bolts. Worth using elemtantal protection if you are have the ability when running this quest, not just electric but the toon running the acid jets will need a bit of help.
Okay really wet feet
Part 4 is good fun as you tear around the dungeon looking for Venn, for those who haven't run this before don't expect a good outcome. The only thing you really need to know is that the best thing to do is open every cell till you find Venn. There are rooms that need to be explored and a coouple of optionals but I think this should be relatively easy. There are a couple of optionals which will not prove any difficulty to experienced players. I have done this quest in under 3 minutes before but I was lucky as I found "Venn" almost straight away and could progress the quest very quickly. There is an optional to release 5 prisoners which I will do only if i get 4 before I find Venn. If I find Venn before that I just finish as you can waste a lot of time searching if you are soloing.
Poor old Venn, someone draw a picture
Having a wet and wild time


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

GrouseMerlin's (Martha's) Harbour

Probably the most famous track by All about Eve is Martha's Harbour but as Grousemerlin is busy working his way back through the Harbour Quest at level 3 on his 10th life thought I would cherry pick a piece about my favourite Harbour Quests. After 3 Wizard, 3 Sorcerer and getting past those 3 Favoured Soul lives the chance to run 3 lives as a Warlock is refreshing. And having cleared the joys of Korthos I now have to run the quests in the harbour. So this will be broken down into several pieces covering the various Quests. Today we look at the 4 quest I enjoy most and they are not anything that should prove difficult to a prepared adventurer. I won't completely spoil it but just each quest I will a pointer or two and a brief overview so the quests don't break your hearts especially for new players. And if you are a new player don't let my multi life character fool you, it is just me bragging I can actually do something in the game.
Wasn't this easy first time I ran it so many years ago
So lets start with my favourite harbour quest Durk's Got a Secret, Durk the Deranged is the quest giver and apparently the Kobold brothers are having a spat. The quest is reasonably linear to start with until you need to decide left or right first. There is a hidden door that has a trog and a handful of kobolds that also has a treasure chest that I do like to find and loot. So someone with high search is useful in a party and as there is a fire trap and a locked door if you explore the rear section of the sewer. One of the things that to me make this such a good quest is the fact that Muck the Ooze sometimes lives here. And this means that when he is there one of the most useful low level weapons is available. Muckbane is a club that does bonus damage to Oozes and that is something especially at level 2 to 6 that is very useful. I still have level 15 and 16 characters with muckbanes simply because I hate the quest where the upgraded version muck's doom lives. So you really need to open the rear section not just because it is an optional but because there is Muck and sometimes there is a couple of named rares (characters that are not always there but have treasure chest associated with them). The experience is reasonable for the quest and there is a large difference in completion time between doing everything and doing the bare minimum. If you are in a group be sure to clarify if you want to do all available optionals as someone finishing the quest while there are optionals that can be done is likely to upset someone.
Need more monsters
The second quest I love to run in the Habour is Information is the Key, the quest giver Shir Clowenks can be found in the Leaky Dinghy and you are after an artifact. The quest has always felt like there should be more monsters in it but once you learn the route the concept that the quest is long disappears. The reason it is seen as a long quest you have to use valves to unlock another valve to access the final room. It would be too much of a spoiler to tell you exactly where everything but once you find the 2 valves you are close to the end, you just need to find the final valve to unlock the final room. And I am no wondering how many times you can mention valve in a single paragraph that is not suppose to be about valves??? This is a straightforward quest once you have the route, if you team up with someone who knows the quest it goes easily and if they explain it long will be between 4 and 5 minutes.
Take your pick... one will work
Third quest is Bringing the Light which is given to you by Brother Malden who is standing right outside the quest. At to be honest this is kill guards go left or right kill guards smash table pull lever and the do the other side of the path. Kill dogs and guards press rune kill more, take treasure then smash last 2 tables. Really it is that simple and should take no more than 5 minutes even if you have never done it before. Once you ae use to the quest 2 minutes to complete the quest would be reasonable. But for new players this is the perfect quest to get the hang of anything you are not sure of. Test a new weapon, new spell or new item this quest because of it's simplicity is one I often run when I switch spells to make sure the spell I am using works, assuming it is a combat spell. The base experience reflects the ease that everyone is expecting people to find doing the quest.
Under 2 minutes if I wasn't taking pictures
And lastly in this overview is The Kobold's New Ringleader, the quest with the most smashables in the game? Guard Jung gives the quest and apparently he has lost his guard badge as well so there is an optional to recover that. There are a couple of traps and one thing to be very careful of is the explosive barrels. They have a bad habit of going boom when you are standing right next to them and it can get annoying. There optional 3 out of 5 "rares" which are good for the extra treasure and they are not that challenging it is just a matter of which of the 5 you will get. If you want to get Guard Jung's badge you will need to kill a black widow spider in a side area, the only issue is getting to her as you need to open a stuck steel bar door that needs a certain strength to force open. The final fight is two parts first you kill a Kobold Chieftain Kanguil, once you have killed him Bloodknuckles the kobold leader bursts into the room with a handful of kobolds following. To me he seems simple to kill but I have fought him a few hundred times so be careful till you get the measure of him as I remember having to run back to the shrine after he killed me. A suggestion for the first few times you run this, there is a shrine at the other end of the corridor which takes around 8 seconds to run if you are killed depending on where in the room you usually fight in you are killed. It has been a long time since I died fighting bloodknuckles but I have got use to making sure the doors on the shrine area are left open in case of emergencies.
first trap in ringleader

This should be a 5 minute quest

There will always be 3 "rare" mini bosses just a case of which
These are not the only quests in the harbour and nor are they the best, quickest, easiest etc etc etc(bonus points for the gratuitous King and I reference for those of a certain age). Sorry for the lack of comedy on the screenshots but today is an educational day as I was talking to a guy about ddo who hasn't played for years and beginners pieces are difficult if you joke too much.

Grousemerlin 10 and counting.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Tempest (Yet Another Ranger Piece post Update 28)

There are a few artists to associate with today's title but for me it has to be Mike Oldfield. Update 28 has come and for me it has encouraged me to have a look at a first lifer in GrouseTanis my tempest ranger. There are many, many pieces out in the ddo blogosphere that will cover the ins and outs of a ranger and especially a tempest ranger but I don't want to focus on the high level end game around the builds but more those things that some one building a ranger for the first time might want to consider about the build and the combat mechanics. Once you have built 3 or 4 you will be able to do things from memory but I had issues building because I didn't understand the basics never mind the end game. And I still don't claim to be an expert just an ungifted amateur who writes too much.
The boring bit but it does give you some idea
So what are the different types of combat for melee? They are Single Weapon Fighting (SWF), Sword and Shield, Two Handed Fighting (THF) and Two Weapon Fighting (TWF). A lot of times you will see these abbreviations used by players and is denotes a style of melee combat. Each combat type has it's own benefits and certain classes are better suited to each style, however each player will have their own style and just because a style is supposed to be with a certain class doesn't mean it is the be all and end all. With the latest update however the focus has come back to the most specialised TWF in the Tempest Prestige Enhancement for Rangers. So why choose TWF style? Apart from the graphics looking pretty good the fact is you can do pretty good DPS (damage per second). The guide lines is any weapon in the strong hand which in DDO is right and a light weapon in the off hand (left hand), if you want to use two heavy blades then you require the feat Oversized TWF.
So I am now a bit overpowered for Gianthold 
As a ranger you get the key feats as freebies, TWF comes at level 2, Improved TWF at level 6 and Greater TWF at level 11. The simple saving on feats encourages anyone who wants to play using TWF to play as a ranger. Certain as a new player with a 28 point build you will struggle to get every feat recommended for TWF because of requirements such as the dexterity, when you consider you need a dexterity of 17 for greater TWF normally and a ranger does not need to meet the dexterity requirement. So in terms of feats a tip to new players is don't spend on TWF you will get the feats as freebies. This allows you to take feats such as toughness or weapon focus, I would avoid taking deflect arrows as that is granted in the core abilities of the tempest prestige enhancements when you reach level 12 so once again it is a feat you can save on if you are prepared to wait. I would say in terms of skills I am not a tumbler but I do put everything I can into balance at the start of the game, being knocked over is a good way to die very early on so personally I always invest in balance.
A rogue with Kukris is a fun TWF
So how to build a ranger? Really it is up to each player but I tend to split across strength, dexterity and constitution. If you want to be able to cast level 4 Ranger spells you will need a wisdom of 14 BUT with many pieces of equipment granting you +4 to wisdom at level 7 you need not worry too much about adding the wisdom points to your build. So concentrate on a build that will do damage and also focus on a weapon type such as slashing or piercing because you will want weapon focus and improved weapon focus. Whilst my ranger fights with paired Scimitars my rogue assassin uses a pair of Kukris and my fighter rogue uses a rapier/dagger combo which is more in line with the old dueling style and based on a character in a book that I have always loved. In terms of feats Toughness is always a good choice and I have a preference for power critical but so long as you remember what is free to a ranger you can work wonders on using feats. For those who know Dragon Lance you will realise that GrouseTanis will remain the race he has through every life.
Able to produce damage but a well built ranger will do more faster
So hope about equipping your ranger? You will obviously need to work on the weapons and also the equipment will make a big difference. Wisdom, Dexterity, Strength and Constitution items will have a tremendous impact but I also like to have speed, deadly, accuracy and seeking items which will increase your chances of doing more damage faster. These are likely to be the most over priced items in the Auction House (AH) so you may want to consider the amount of platinum you are prepared to pay early in game, health items are by far the most over priced items so look regularly and wait for a bargin otherwise you will see something that I have seen with a player begging for Plat to buy an item as they are new to the game. If you are lucky enough to be on Ghallanda I try not to over price items I auction so if you see a cheap health belt it may be me selling it.

Now there is whole piles of information on the community boards in the ddo forums but they may take a little effort to decipher so hopefully this will at least give some indicators to how to start a ranger.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Shadow Warrior

I have always loved Blue Oyster Cult and always enjoyed reading Eric Van Lustbader so the song Shadow Warrior has a special place for me and thus it sort of fits for me to talk about my monk Grousehopper. And I am sure there are people of a certain age who sniggered when they got the reference in the toon name. So today I want to talk about one of my monks which I get from being a VIP, however you can purchase the monk class from the ddo store but be warned it is pricey.
All I need is just one more festival short sword, easier said than done though
Grousehopper has focused on the Ninja Spy Prestige Enhancement and although the song suggests empty handed combat Hopper actually focuses on the use of short swords. The concept for monks is fast unencumbered attacks and the ability to avoid damage rather than being armoured to stop attacks. The thing that I find really fun is how many feats a monk gets for free, one of my favourites is wholeness of body which allows me to self heal for the simple expenditure of 10 ki. Obviously not something you can do mid combat and you sit like meditating but sometimes you and  your healer get separated so the self heal can be a real bonus.
They don't make this easy
The Ninja Spy enhancements offer some interesting options like the core ability Poison Darts where you spit a cone of darts at nearby enemies giving between 1 and 4 stacks of poison. Now Hopper is only level 11 at the moment but rank 60 as I power level him, meaning this is an ability I will have in the near future. Target takes 1d4 points of Poison damage every 3 seconds for 15 seconds per stack of poison. Now that to me is fun as the enhancement sting of the ninja allows any piercing or slashing melee or thrown weapon to dose an enemy with 1 stack of Ninja Poison on a critical hit. I intend to run Hopper as a Drow in the next 2 lives so he can have the ability to use venomed blades.

One thing that I do need to clarify for anyone starting a monk for the first time, the different stances can make a big difference to how you perform. Out of preference I go either Air or Earth stances as they have dexterity or strength bonus for your character which makes a big difference in your damage. At the moment I am running mountain stance because of the bonus to strength and hence the bonus to damage.
Stances can make a difference
Now here is the strange thing to me as a former PnP player I had the issue with my dungeon masters over the use of poisons and poisoned weapons. Certainly Lawful Good characters could never wield any weapon that had poison nor could they use poisons which meant the first time my pencil and paper paladin found an exquisite long sword I was disqualified from using it as it had poison on the blade. So the chance to use poison whilst being lawful good is great fun if a little strange in my very lopsided view of the world.

Hopper is running his first life right now but as I write this I am already to level him to 12 and push him further. The issue is I have two characters already on multi lives that will be reincarnating and 3 toons parked at level 20 ready for new lives. The demand for tokens of the twelve is going to go through the roof for me and I will not be rushing Hopper into his second or third lives yet. But I will say monks are superb fun to play and I have already played all the different options in terms of prestige but now the use of drow and their racial enhancement fitting so well into monk are calling me, they may just take a little time for me to explore.

The rice paper walking GrouseHopper.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Dance With The Devil

Drum roll please Mr Cozy Powell, time we looked at one of those quests that I have an extreme love hate relationship with, Devils Assault. On epic it is something I run as a staple to level characters as the cumulative experience makes it worthwhile and in the final chests you get tokens of the twelve which as I tend to reincarnate a lot I need. Most times I do this quest on epic normal with me and some hirelings I get 2 tokens which means 10 runs and I have my token to reincarnate. However this is one you can't bio break in as the waves don't have a pause button.
At this point Sly wishes he had of studied magic
In many ways it is like Kobold Assault, in that you have to survive and destroy each wave with the last 3 having a boss that is easy to recognise but not so easy to kill. From wave 3 onwards it becomes a little bit more difficult and it is very easy to become a bit arrogant after wave 2 which will probably mean we will be seeing your soul stone before much longer. There are two chances to shrine during the battle, first is at the end of wave 3 and there will be a treasure chest which last time I ran it with my guildie got a scream of impressive trophy, which we were happy about. The best I have ever seen in there is Legendary Victory but only seen that twice in the last 3 months.
Do you want to dance?
Wave 4 is where things get a bit more difficult and the boss fior wave 4 is one of the most irritating in the game. Blinky Baktor is one of those monsters you know how to defeat and you usually can but his hopping is just annoying and the 2 wizards that appear with him are just so frustrating. if you can take out the mobs before you crowd Blinky into a corner it is well worth it. The bowman tend to be easy to kill (relatively easy depending on toon), but the natural urge is to throw everything including the kitchen sink at blinky which allows the mobs to wear down your characters. I know many people don't like this quest because of Blinky but the amount of epic experience you get from this make it one of those packs you will consider buying the pack plus you get the raid Chronoscope in it so the 350 turbine points seem a good investment.
You ain't so tough
Anyway back to DA and the final wave, any character with a stunning aoe attack or a good arc attack will be worth his weight at this point. Unless you are ranged staying still is just inviting trouble so get active and chase down those wizards and warlocks. Or you will be acid rain for a quite a while. Interestingly the final boss feels a lot easier than the crowds attacking you before hand, he is just full of hit points and takes a while to wear down, on epic normal he is around 30k hit points so be prepared to grind that final attack if your melee, even spell damage takes a while. I have yet to use a warlock with consumption on him, that actually may be a good way of bringing him down quickly.
Just glad the bodies disappear or I couldn't find the door

My Maths start struggling at this point

So Devils Assault is a purchasable pack and the rewards for epic make is feel worthwhile to me, ran this over the weekend a few times and each time the cumulative experience was around 100k for 28 minutes roughly so as a quest I am comfortable with, that has 5 chests on epic normal, that gives tokens of the twelve and has given good guild renown occasionally it is a quest I can recommend even if the Devil Blinky is a nightmare to dance with as he likes to lead and his foxtrot tends to wander all over the place.

Happy Dancing

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Little Favours (a Brief Overview of DDO Favour)

Todays title comes from a song by KT Tunstall and follows the english (correct) way of spelling favour, if your american and want to blank out the U in your mind well...... seriously. Guess this gives away the fact I am from the UK.

Today I want to talk about something that players new to the game will be scratching their heads about because at first it seems to make no sense. And yet the rewards each house gives you is important to what and how you play, especially for the free to play and  premium players. So we will discuss what is favour and look at the those points that new players should be taking note of. Some rewards will be unachiveable unless you have access to quest packs from the ddo store. First thing about favour is it is a one off reward and its value can only change if you do a quest of a harder difficulty, if you do Cannith Crystal at the start and get to do it on hard you will get 4 favour, if you do it again on normal you get no more favour, the only way to increase the value to 6 (the maximum favour you could earn for this quest) is to do it on elite. The favour is not cumlative so if you do it on hard and get 4 favour and then do it on elite for 6 favour the total favour will only increase by 2 points. I know this will sound obvious to experienced players but it isn't as obvious as it seems to new players. Now turbine not only gift bonuses for achieving favour with each faction in the game the total faction also brings bonuses, for a new player this is good because your first character on a server will get 25 turbine points (TP) at 25, 50 and 100 and then at every 100 total favour you get another 25 TP. Any other character you start will reward you at 100 favour increments.
Not even got myself a new back pack
So what is important in total favour as I grow as a player? Apart from turbine points which are useful to purchase things the favour brings rewards at certain points. Favour will unlock race and classes for players allowing them more fun options to play with. At 400 total favour you unlock the Drow race and can play as a dark elf with different racial bonuses. 1000 total favour unlocks Vetern status 1 which allows a player to start new characters at level 4. 1750 favour brings a +2 tome and 32 point build, which may seem a small thing but as you play more you realise just how vital each point is so select your tome well and enjoy creating more powerful builds via the 32 points. At 2500 favour you unlock the favoured soul which is a fighting caster which to me sits between the Paladin and the Cleric. And at 3,000 favour you unlock Veteran Status 2 which allows you to start your characters at level 7 and avoid some of that grind of repeating lower level quests again and again. Now finally there is Revered at 5000 favour which gives you a +5 tome. This is all covered in the ddo wiki but if your exposure to the game is just looking then this is as good a place as any to get some idea of what you are working towards.
You can always go back and do the ones you missed.
Every faction in the game rewards characters for achieving favour. Some things are more useful than others so here is a quick run down of some things to think about when you are deciding what quests to do. The coin lords provide additional storage space, at 75 favour your get 1 bag of holding (or back pack as I think of them) which equates to a 20 slots bag and at 150 you can get another 20 slot bag but this requires a collapsed portable hole and money. I have yet to find a player who is not interested in extra storage. House Deneith provides ammunition which for those who use ammo is useful. Now the Twelve provides even more storage with ingrediants bags but I am not a fan of trying for that sort of favour at the moment. And House Kundarak at 75 and 150 allows you to buy extra space at the bank. And even if you have everything unlocked you probably still feel like you don't have enough storage. Finally in terms of key favour totals House Cannith at 150 favour unlocks the artificer class which has always been a fun class to play but at present I am concentrating on other characters.
One day I will have enough time for the Temple runs.
I cvould cut and paste wiki guide and other people's work but the concept here was to get new players to think not just of experience for their character but also the favour a character can get and what it is worth. Save all your turbine points and you could buy an adventure pack which would unlock more favour. Obviously us VIPs are lazy and can't be bothered to work for a lot of this. But to me the 1750 is important for at least one character because of the tome and it unlocks 32 point builds.

Now there is plenty of information on Favour in the ddo wiki which is useful is you want a more in depth view of how favour works and the rewards but if you are lazy and you only enjoy pictures and an easy read then hopefully this little commentary will give you some idea of what favour gives players.

Happy Favour Gathering


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Redemption Song (The Quests in Korthos Wilderness).

So we have done the first four quests on Korthos and the starter quest on my last piece, now I want to look at the quests in the wilderness in Korthos. You only need to do two of the quests to get off Korthos and into Stormreach Harbor but there are 3 other quests available in the Wilderness. Personally I tend to do just the two I need first to get off the Island so I can access my reincarnation cache and thus be more powerful for the additional 3 quests but for those new to the game I would suggest you run the 4 quests available before you run Misery's Peak to get off the Island. Three quest givers are in the village and one is outside in the Wilderness, which is good because in many wildernesses you will find quest givers around the wilderness. I will give some hints at the less obvious parts but it is important that players learn how to think and out think quests.
Behind door number 3
The first quest you will stumble across is the one with quest giver inside, Gunnar Bauerson, now this is a little strange as the easiest route to the dungeon entrance is to step off the edge of the cliff and drop into the water below. There are 3 Sahuagin around the quest entrance which sticks up a bit. It will also give you a wilderness explorer which is a little experience bonus. This is pretty linear apart from two very nagging issues. You will sweep a big hall and probably get blown half way across it a couple of times till you work out where the gusts of air are coming from and close the doors, but you then seem to be stuck in a big room with no way to go on. Unusual thing to do here is ring the gong, then when it has settled down ring it again. Normally in game if you ring a gong you will attract monsters so not sure why the game encourages to do this so early on but it is the only way to progress. There is an underwater tunnel but this is relatively straightforward and any character should be able to swim the length. However the second little niggle is the boss at the end. It is an ice spider so flame obviously works but Kraak tends to sit right in the middle of frost traps. A trapper can disable them or you can jump them to the puzzle at the end which is relatively simple but you need ranged attacks to hurt Kraak or you are going to get very very cold. The treasure chest before the spider often holds boots of cold resistance though so worth putting them on before the fight if they drop.
Turning valves is a good hobby
Next up is the mandatory quest Redemption which you get from Ursa right by the gate to the wilderness. You have to have completed this and spoken again to Ursa to be able to do Misery's Peak. There are traps that can be disabled and a couple of vents of poison gas that are controlled by valves hidden in alcoves with secret doors. Now if you have pets or hirelings be careful because they have a very bad habit of chasing straight into the iron blade guilliotine trap to get at the iron defender that is behind them. I let the defender come to me along with the ones that are outside the blades. Just saves on finding a dead hireling who has decided the perfect place to stand is in the middle of the blades, this happens with hirelings they love traps. Pretty straight forward end fight with protect the good guy from waves of Sahuagin, you already have the concept from the cannith crystal. The one stumblimg block is how to get to Heyton because there is a barrier controlled by crystals which you need to destroy. To be honest this is not the most difficult quest you will ever face, if you have a healer with you make sure they are looking after Heyton. He dies and you have to start again.
Big Mouth, always good to avoid
Next up is Necromancer's Doom and I would be surprised if anyone had difficulty grasping the concept. Two control lights over a locked door, route to the left and a route to the right.... not rocket science just make sure you pull both levers. I can't rememver ever using the shrine in the quest so just going to leave it there.
The most pointless rest shrine in the game?
Final level 1 quest is Sacrifices which is not that difficult either. The quest itself is fairly linear, the route is easy to follow with one major trap to either jump or disable, warning though on hard or elite the trap can be a killer to low levels. Only other tip is Arissa can be in one of four places so if you have done it once and go back and wonder where she is she could be in a different location. Basically the options are with the second set of prisoners or the optional boss but to the left or right of both.
Sacrifices quest and this can be very painful
Finally the big quest to finish Korthos is Misery's Peak. The main route is linear but there are multiple levels on the sides where levers are located. This quest is one of those when you truly need to be awake as when you are looking for the levers they are located quite high up and come in pairs. The pairs though are not side by side though. Also you will see forcefields over runes which you will need to stand on to release other forcefields, the forcefields over the runes will only collapse if you destroy all the zombies (undead you can't kill them lol). The chances of falling are high and it highlights the need to get feather falling items as early as possible, I have stepped left, right, backward and forward off of edges so if I am doing it with a level 1 or 2 a cleric hireling or a healer member of the party is strongly suggested. But this is not a complicated quest apart from the fact your map is in 2D which is a bugger at times. Because of the Ice Flenser and Ice Spiders flaming stuff is good (actually at lower level fire is good at clearing rooms).
Apparently adventurer frosticles are all the rage.
Now this is not a how to do everything the way I do it but for new players starting the game it gives a few clues and with the possibility of a Dungeons and Dragons movie (hopefully a bit better than book of vile darkness) it should hopefully help players who are about to enter the realms of DDO.
Shame I can't get to the gold!
Yes I have used hirelings to speed my way through Korthos because I tend to play when there are less players online so rather than sitting waiting for a party to fill out doing it this way to let me write.


Saturday, 8 August 2015

(Just Like) Starting Over

I have a completionist to reincarnate after completing Warlock and he has been sitting on the shelf for a couple of weeks while I concentrate on other characters. But today I have decided to dust him off and lead him back through the grind that is Korthos. Now this gives me an opportunity to do something strange and weird, I have emptied the coffers of Grouseman so he has zero coins. Wooo hooo he is broke which will make for interesting reading as I take back into a new life as a rogue assassin. To make his life harder at the start he is going to be a halfling for the dex bonuses he gets later in the game. Now I have 32pt build and with the many previous lives he will be 36pt plus the tomes he has consumed so I do have advantages but the goal this time is not how fast I can get him off Kothos but how much coinage I can get so I can buy a cleric. When you enter a quest you will be offered options on how hard you want the quest to be (VIPs can open on Elite) but first time round just open on normal or even casual to build your coffers up to get a cleric hireling. Quest Givers have a golden chalice over their heads when you have never taken the quest from them. There are small dialogues at each quest and old hands don't read them once they have completed them a hundred times or so.
Oh boy am I broke
 When you first start the game no one tells you that crates and barrels are your best friends. Every one you break may give you copper coins, flasks of potions or even items. If you decide you want to solo your way through Korthos and you are not a cleric when you start the game you will need coins as fast as possible to be able to get a healer from the hireling vendor. The cleric is over 5 gold pieces so you will likely need to complete one quest to earn to earn the coins. The game will direct you to start with Heytons Rest, personally I always start with Storehouse Secret. It is the easiest to run, has a decent treasure chest and is loaded with crates and barrels. Doing the quest on hard netted 68 gold pieces from the chest which meant straight away I could hire a cleric and have more coin than I can spend on Korthos, it will mean little when I get off the island but this is about getting started and surviving solo. There is a puzzle you need to complete to unlock the scroll but it is fairly simple once you get to know it.
Ain't rich yet but at least my bits are warmer

Can't afford a cleric yet
Once you have a cleric you can choose which order you do Heytons Rest and the Cannith Crystal before doing the Collaborator. For Heytons remember to pick up the crests at each altar otherwise you will be running round the quest trying to find the one you have missed. There is one main treasure chest, one slightly off path that is trapped and two in the corridor that will provide a rusty long sword and a rusty mace to help take down the zombies and skellies. The Cannith Crystal is a defend the flag style quest that you will see in multiple quests in the future pro tip dont get dragged away from the crystal send your cleric instead (click on the sword in their hot bar) so you can cover the crystal in case (two come from the side). As far as I know this has no chest unless you get the rare Dren Ral which only appears on hard or elite. The Collaborator is a chase almost kill in one room multiple waves then kill a small number of monsters, the quest requirements are on the right side so make sure you know what you should do and just work through it.
That is how I have the puzzle finished

Woo hoo can afford a cleric

An introduction quest followed by 4 quests that once you get the hang of will guide you through quests everywhere. Once you complete this 4 quests you can go outside get 3 quests before entering your first wilderness. However that will be a different story with a different character, probably Merlin who will start his next life at some point soon. However Man I can now use my dice roll and later today my gold dice roll helping me get off Korthos quicker and get my hands on my festival frost Kukris.
4 Quests, 3 done with a Cleric completed

Welcome to DDO

Grouseman aka TonyN