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

Sunday, 2 August 2015

War Cleric

Firstly before I get into the cleric I want to announce that Grousemot has reach 28.... levels that is. Okay only a first lifer but that makes two I have maxed out and they will be able to create funds to buy the items to make my multi lifers able to do it more easily. And now on to the third first lifer that is my rogue acrobat Grousesly. I will write more about him another time. And as usual the title is taken from the heavy metal track by the Magma Dragons.

So Gamer Geoff pointed out on my piece about fighters being a good place to start in game that a cleric has advantages that would help a new player particularly when you consider the shortage of coin when you first start playing, now I personally preferred the fighter to start but I realise that people are different and prefer all sorts of things. So the basics of the cleric, a healer and caster that tends to operate in support to the heavy hitters later in the game but at the start of the game for a new player guess we need to cover the key things to making a cleric work at the first couple of levels.

Healing is an art, and I paint with my mace
When we first start out we need to make sure the Cleric will work at his best so Wisdom and Constitution are good points to invest in if you are building from scratch. My cleric is human in this life but I have a great love of scimitars so will go Elf next life for the religion bonus. Depending on race you will get bonuses based on that race if you select the preferred weapon. You don't have to stick to the weapon type as I am currently using maces because of the lore in Dragon Lance that a cleric cannot draw blood so a mace is a better choice than a blade. Roleplaying over the weapon advantage is a personal choice and next time round as much as I want to choose to use mace the advantages of an elf with a scimitar are driving me to game choice over role choice.

So you have choices when starting a cleric in terms of feats and I know one person who would choose eschew materials at the first chance she got simply because managing the different spell components is a pain. What are spell components? Well some spells need materials to make them happen and as a caster you will need to know which material is what level spell and if you choose spells that need components you should ensure you regularly update your stock. Add to this your feat that you choose when you build your character assuming you are not selecting eschew then the obvious choice is empower healing which will help you in terms of the amount of healing you can do. I am aware that certain feats such as maximise will burn through your spell points at a rapid rate, so worth looking at the cost of casting your spell under the feat.
Wise? Then why do I run out of spell points?
So your spell selection is 3 spells at level one and another at level two. First time round I would choose Cure Light Wounds, Summon Monster I and Nightshield although I am sure that some people will go shield of faith. At level 2 I personally choose command but nimbus of light or inflict light wounds are good options to provide a more aggressive option for dealing with enemies. Fortunately, is you are soloing, the cost of a cleric for an hour at level 1 is not that expensive and you should be able to even the 1 plat or so required if you do one of the first quests on Kothos, once again I find the storehouse is the least threatening of the starter quests and with plenty of crates to smash for some extra funds. Having a cure spell you can heal yourself of any damage you incur in the combat but you will need to keep an eye on the hit points. I will write a guide to the first 5 quests in the near future.

One of the greatest advantages of a cleric is you get invited to all the best parties, many times you hear people say they wont run a quest without a healer. You can be ignorant of a quest because your role is to keep the guy who knows it alive. Support roles are vital and you will never lack for someone to run with I am just not a great support player and I tend to get caught up in the combat and I throw masses of offensive spells and don't watch what is around me and what they are doing... well apart from one player who I try to ensure she get the absolute best protection. I would point out that clerics can use scroll and wands to make up for the speed you get through mana, my perosnal nightmare is a roleplaying Barbarian who has watched Arnie in a Conan film. You just know that you are going to be running behind him casting cure spells as fast as you can. However the advantage of being a cleric is everyone is your best friend while you are healing. Run out of wands or mana and that love dies... very quickly.
The term servant gets my back up but if you supply the butlers outfit
In terms of prestige enhancements I have only played through a couple of times as a cleric but I love the radiant servant path mainly as it encourages me to take on the undead, I can't comment on the other two enhancements as I haven't chosen to operate that way. However which ever you choose they will not make a massive impact on you at the start of your ddo playing. There are plenty of cleric experts who can maximise your build and help you in the ddo forums.

Now this will probably upset lovers of cleric but for a first character the advantages of healing and being popular do not make up for being a support player. It is an often thankless task and the people around you may not appreciate the time and effort you put in to keeping them alive when their own stupidity should have killed them 5 minutes into the dungeon, You will get to learn many dungeons as people will want you to learn to better fulfill your role. Now I was told as a Leo I will automatically prefer to have a leading role that fits the fighter/sorcerer role playing better than the team player. And to be frank people are right my mentality is not suited to running round after people clearing up their stupidity.

All in all choices are made based on who you are and if you enjoy the team play a cleric will not only suit you it will make you many friends around the same level who will want you to attend as many parties as you can. So good luck and heal away.

And yes I have nowhere near covered everything a cleric needs to know but that would require a chapter from the old players handbook.

Grousehel aka TonyN