Monday, December 31, 2012

Curiosity killed me thrice

"Ghost of a Chance" was my only unfinished level 5 quest on Three Barrel Cove. I've been unsatisfied with the lack of challenge that Elite quests present to my thrice TRed Dwarf (Ranger / Paladin / Paladin / Paladin). To to ramp it up a bit and celebrate my hardcoreness, I've running with a new self imposed challenge: lazy style.

What is lazy style? It's just like Gungnam style but without dancing or singing or any unessisary effort. Wheras somone doing DDO Gungnam style might ride an imaginary horse in a snowstorm on the steps of the house K to frighten the vendors? DDO Lazy style is going directly to Three Barrel Cove.

No one can tell you what Lazy Style is because defining-terms style is antithetical to lazy style. But here's some examples of how lazy style has influenced my playstyle.

My main is not wearing a belt -- Lazy Style!
No gloves either -- Lazy Style!
I use lockpicks I loot -- Lazy Style!
I only shipbuff when it's faster than walking, and I never go downstairs cuz that's too many loading screens for Lazy Style!
I only buy stuff if I walk past the vendor while traversing the shortest path between quests because that's Lazy Style!

So anyway I happened to be running through marketplace I stopped and bought a few hirelings. To my surprise, one of the level 7 drow wizards had firewall. Hired him (her?), a few healers, and ran to my last level 5 3BC quest: Ghost of a Chance. Mwah ha ha! Firewall is so cool.

But as soon as I entered Ghost of a Chance me and the hireling were in over our heads -- literaly! Swimming in water 30 feet deep with a half dozen pirate archers peppering us with arrows. I swim over to them, hop up on their dock and start blowing them down (that's pirate talk for "trip") but the whole time I'm thinking to myself "UNLEASH THE FIREWALL!"

(There's a display at our local hippy supermarket of Egg Nog and "Unleash the Kraken" rum. The display went up in October, which is 90 days too soon for buying Egg Nog or even whining about buying Egg Nog. So, to distract my early readers from reading the 'Nog cartons, I made a big deal about the octopus "Kraken" eating a pirate ship. Like everything that kids do, they overdid the Unleash the Kracken thing and that's why I was reflexively thinking "Unleash the Firewall!" There's also a song that Elmo sings in my head whenever I see a triangle.)

But no, it turns out that the hireling never unleashes the firewall unless you select a foe and click the firewall button -- too much effort for lazy style. So instead, I just set him (her?) to agressive and let him do his thing. A strategy I immediately named "Unleash the Drow!"

The Drow did a fine job with fireball, and she (he?) seemed to be self-healing somehow. I did not know non-warforged wizard hirelings could self-heal. I also had a mystery, my twinked out Spot gear was detecting two secret doors that I couldn't find with Search. The only other clue was the GM was going crazy talking about how everything smells like oil. I figure we could light this place up if only I had some fire. Unleash the firewall? No, doesn't work unless you select someone. What I really need is a torch or a flaming brand or something. Don't have one though. Beyond not having a torch, I abandoned the search for two reasons, the pirates kept respawning and I wanted to finish the quest before my wife got back.

The last fight was a pirate captain, a few dogs, and a bunch of warforged archers. So I was like "Unleash the Drow! Unleash my Pirate's Cove air elemental!" And then, since all the warforged archers were lined up in a row with me I thought about breaking the lazy style vow and unleashing the firewall.

In a way, using firewall to torch six warforged with a single cast is sorta the lazy way. I mean it takes more work to DPS them, especialy since their arrows never trigger my offensive guards. So I started setting up the firewall. First I ran around to position the hireling so he'd be perpendicular to the targets (See? "Perpendicular" is a word that is antithical to lazy style). And then I started tabbing through the targets since click-selecting them is too hard to do with a friendly air elemental getting up in my face. But, I figured that it was still worthy of the lazy way to unleash a firewall on a bunch of non-casters.

But amazingly, at that exact moment the AI decided at that to cast firewall. It was not paralell to the line of warforged, but it caught two of the six. And then another firewall appeared, and then a third. I was astounded. What could have possibly caused my idiot hireling to unleash a triangle of firewalls?

Suddenly my lazy apathy for him (her?) vanished. I wanted that triangle of firewalls to burn all the warforged! By then she (he?) had wandered onto the wrong end of the pirate captain's sword and died a hero's death. (Heroine's death?)


The firewalls were still burning though so it wasn't a total loss. Usualy they go away when the caster dies, but she (he?) must have died in a swarm of awesome by learning to cast and then forgetting to cancel on death. ...and then the pirate captain cast a firewall on me and it all made sense.

Those firewalls I was celebrating were actualy the captain's firewalls. So then I had a huge battle, the kind where I rely on my Mabar Cloak of Night cloak to turn me invisible long enough to drink pots to be in fighting condition. I ran out of pots but I won anyway. Slew the captain and his robo-army. Looted his treasure and then my wife arrived.

I went afk and gave her a foot rub till she passed out. Then I returned to DDO. Luckily, the respawning pirates did not respawn in this room so I was safe for now. But the halls were full of them.

The map said there was a shrine back the way I came, and I didn't know how much longer this quest would be. The quest log said something about freeing a prisoner and you know how difficult that can be in a game caled DUNGEONS and dragons.

So I went back, heard about the blatantly obvious oil clues, found a lever to open the secret door to the secret passage and got my hireling back. He (she?) fought a bunch of spiders with me and then we unlocked the second inaccessable secret area. I took a long secret swim, and emerged in a hidden troll lair, no, even better! A Skrag! It's like a troll, but BLUE!

I unleashed the air elemental but the hireling was stuck in the water. Or something. I selected the Skrag and unleashed the firewall, but no dice. I fell to the ground incapacitated and then the Hireling showed up. She (he?) killed the skrag with a fireball and then, due to AI problems, could not drag my stone to the shrine. I released, but not before I looked around the lair. A collectable. A trunk. And, what's this?! A flaming brand? My mind raced. What could I do with a flaming brand?

Ignite whatever was making the oily smell!

So I ran as fast as I could back to the quest but I was too slow. I redid the quest and with the help of my new Dwarf-lady cleric hireling, I slew the Skrag, took his collectable and most of all, the coveted flaming brand. Worst weapon ever. It only does one point of fire damage, and the combination of fire and smoke makes it more difficult to see anything: -5 Spot. But who cares? It's gonna ignite whatever the DM was hinting at.

I waved the flaming brand around the whole dungeon but to no avail.

So I fought my way back through the respawning pirates and ended up at the prisoner that needed rescuing. He's locked into the DDO version of SAW. "Don't do anything or I'll die!" he says. "Don't do nothing or I'll be trapped like this for ever!" he says. "Or, kill the pirate captain in the next room and take his key." he says, forgetting to mention the captain is a wizard that likes to unleash the firewall.

Well I beat him once, so I can beat him again right? Wrong. Lazy style means never having to run to house K to buy healing potions. And without enough self-heals, my go invisible plan is dead in the water. Just like me, except in a firewall under a pile of Warforged.

I was just about to quit and lose all my progress again, but lucky for me, an underleveled person joined the group and entered the dungeon. I can't find anything out about him because he doesn't show up in /who and he's listed as anonymous. He enters the dungeon, dies and drops group without a word. But by then I'm back in, lazy style. I still don't have any pots, but at least I don't have to redo the quest.

The final fight is reset. The captain is waiting by his treasure chest, the warforged archers are in their places, and the dogs are alive and waiting for me. This time, I know that I'm out of healing pots, so I plan accordingly. I leap up to the archers and fight them while the air elemental goes crazy on the melee and the captain. The Dwarf-lady cleric is staying out of trouble, and occasionaly casting a searing light spell. The spider she summoned? I dont' know, dying in a fire most likely.

Without the archers, the cleric has a chance to heal me. With heals, I have a chance to survive the firewalls. I rush the captain and lay into him, soon he's dead and the rest of his robot army too. For the second time that night I looted his chest and took his key. Then, my hireling and I walked unopposed to the prisoner's cell. Freed him, and won.

I left the dungon. The flaming brand dropped from my inventory and remained.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Depths of Discord: Hilarity ensues

A while back I was finishing up all the level 4 quests for bravery bonus and favor farming. I ran the first two depths quests but not the last two because they're level 5.

Well today I was finishing up the depths quests and I could not find the entrance to Depths of Discord. I found entrances to the other three. The Depths of Despair, Darkness, Doom, but I could only guess that they took out the entrance to Depths of Discord out when they cleaned up house D?

As fate would have it, there was an LFM for the Depths quests. So I joined, thinking that it would save me some time.


It was the craziest PUG ever! People running everywhere, going in circles, soloing the Troglodite boss and dying. And the pure rogue needed someone to open a locked door. So I opened doors, healed the incapacitated, and grabbed soulstones. (One soulstone was pretty cool, I dropped it by the altar, it turned into a dwarf that slew the boss, looted the chest and opened the next quest on elite. )

Then I had to go afk for real life stuff. It was the craziest family ever! Toddlers running everywhere, going in circles, Pre-schoolers comforting the baby and crying. And my wife needed me to open a locked picklejar. So I opened jars, changed the stinky, and fed baby girls. (One baby girl was pretty cool, I dropped her by the baby toys, she crawled to a castle her big sister made out of a cardboard box, flattened a wall, grabbed the tea set and opened it up to get at the Holiday themed Oreo cookies hidden within.)

After all that, I returned to DDO and was promptly slain by a bunch of trolls and wolves. Which was a total shock. I haven't had any trouble with the fighting so far. I've been killed by traps and failed to protect fragile NPCs. Casters have been troublesome too, but melee? Really?

So I exited out and found, to my surprise that there IS an entrance to the Depths of Discord -- it's located to the left of the gate as you're heading to the Marketplace. Well, I figured it must have been because of the Dungeon scaling or dungeon alert or something. So I hopped back in without a hireling (to avoid dungeon scaling) and again, I had a savage fight for my life.

Nearly died several times hacking my way through a pack of wolves and minotaurs. Then it was two trolls, I killed one, and almost the second one. But I had to run and heal, slowly with wands and pots.

Running was easy thanks to my Mabar: Cloak of Night. It occasionaly procs improved invisibility which makes sighted enemies wander aimlessly and attack the empty air.

So I healed up while the troll looked for me. By the time he found my hiding spot, I was at full health. But so was he! (trolls regenerate duh!) and so we had to epic battle from scratch. I won, but then I was at the part of the quest I was most aprehensive about: The hallway of earth elementals.

I remember so many deaths in that stupid hall. My characters have almost all been Dwarves, and have benefitted from maxed out Dwarven Spell resistance. But it never seems to work against Earthgrab. Earthgrab isn't as deadly now as back when helpless meant auto-hit and auto-crit, but it's still risky.

Cautiously, I crept down the hallway and fought the first elemental without alarming the rest. I won, barely. There's was no way to fight them simultaniously and survive.

I crept forward again. Suddenly two Elementals arose from the ground, and two more trundled towards me from around the corner. I played at seperating them but to no avail.

Instead, I made a mad dash to the shrine door and turned the valve. As the action was completing the elementals attacked. I avoided damage long enough to open the door and ran inside hoping for the door to close so I could fight the few elementals that followed me inside. The door stayed open. I fought until I was incapped. Then some of them strode out the door while a big one stood guard as my lifeforce ran out.

Died, rezed behind the shrine and had a few moments to heal before that hunk of rock spotted me. After another near-death battle I was victorious and looking at a room of, again, four elementals. Plus a rednamed elemental named "Landslide." Supposedly, the inhabitants of this portion of the depths worship Landslide as a god.

I couldn't make a dent in them, and I couldn't pull them apart, and what little progress I made was undone when they hit the ends of their leashes and honeycomb ported back to the throneroom with full health.

This would have been solo-fail but I had a little something from Pirates Cove -- an elemental gem! I summoned the air elemental and followed it into Landslide's throneroom. Soon everything was dead except for me and 20% of Landslide. I had no air elemental, he had no friends. It was just the two of us.

That was a crazy fight, but I survived and achieved yet another point on my elite Bravery Bonus streak. But honestly I have no idea why this one quest seemed so much more difficult than everything else so far. I wish Elite was always this much of a struggle! :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

True Reincarnation IV: Three Barrel Cove Bravery Bonus for a Favored Soul Unlock

Further exploits of a Ranger / Paladin / Paladin / Paladin Dwarf.

I'm methodicaly running everything once on Elite. I want to unlock favored soul and experience everything I bought bundled in with MotU.

Currently I'm level 7 (Rogue 2 / Paladin 5) with enough XP to level up. But I'm banking that XP for the sake of sweeping up every last bravery bonus.

I swept through Tangleroot's level 5 quests and moved on to Three Barrel Cove. My Rogue Paladin is sufficient at traps, locks, self-heals and tanking -- ideal for a soloist build.

One 3BC quest gave me some difficulty though. The fail condition was no more than five crewmembers slain, but the pirate hobgoblins were slaying them faster than me and my hireling could heal them. On a whim I decided to try it without the hireling and suddenly everything was easy. I guess dungeon scaling is real?

There's not much loot on 3BC that can compete with my TR twink and cannith crafted stuff, but I got a random pull that looks interesting -- an Air Guard full plate! I won't use full plate this life (because I prefer Evasion, thank you very much!) but I'm going to hang onto this ML8 Air Guard for posterity.

Oh, and one other interesting tidbit. I got an "Elemental Gem." Reading the description, I'd guess it summons an earth elemental. Never seen one of those before! Closest is probably the Gems you can buy with planar shards from the sub.

Note to self: I still need a dedicated returning thrower until I get my Dwarven Thrower. I keep reaching for a ranged weapon, only to find out that I've vendered them all.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy birthday to me!

My birthday was so fun I forgot to blog about it. But had a nice party and I got a gift that is relevant to our shared interests. I got a ddo peripheral!

A razer nostrimo controller. It does a million things but I'm still learning how to use the thing.

Currently it's just a super comfortable keyboard replacement. I tried to use it as a keyboard and mouse replacement but the thumb stick is no replacement for a real mouse.

Other birthday news. This is my worst year ever thanks to several jerks. But looking forward, this next year looks to be a fantastic year for me.

DDO is going swimmingly. My main is an unstoppable trap monkey, master crafted cannith gear and unsuppressed ioun stones are unbeatable, and in a few levels I can equip ventilated bracers AND upgrade them too! (So glad I didn't use the sigil on the Maidstone shield. (Maidstone? Seriously apple, you gotta fix autocorrect!)

Last quest I ran was with a pure rogue in forgotten caverns. He couldn't search, but was good at dd after I did. Later he complained about how tough it is to get a +7 spot. So after quest I mailed him an unbound shard -- turns out that's the best I can do with my current crafting skills.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Snappy comebacks to dying in my trap.

Players who fly through traps are cool but they're not the subject at hand. I'm talking about the little cluster of soulstones that piles up durring the three second disable device animation.

10. See how mother nature culls the weak and the stupid from the herd.

9. Don't touch the soulstones. They're zerging my trap to save time and maximize xp.

8. Everyone else survived. You must have lag.

7. One does not simply walk into mor-traps.

6. r = autorun

5. Survival of the fittest.

4. Darwin awards you a backpack ride.

3. Timing is everyting.

2. Step forward and die. GOTCHA SON! I didn't say "Simon says."

1. There's a trap hiding under those soulstones!

(Got more? Post 'em! :))

Monday, December 10, 2012

TR3 Level 6: Bravery Bonus Trapfinder Paladin

The further exploits of a thrice True Reincarnated Ranger Paladin Paladin Paladin.

Pesky traps have forced me to take my second rogue level earlier than I anticipated. But on the upside I'm having alot of fun with this character. I took rogue early because I wanted evasion.
Disarming traps is satisfying. I've never done it before so the locations of the trapboxes are not somthing I've got memorized. But I do have a pretty good memory for places I've died horribly, and that includes many traps.

I'm also picking locks for the first time -- although it seems that most of the doors are locked for my own good. (Locked doors are there to protect adventurers from trapped chests!)

And, some of the traps I've blundered into are new to me. I bought every adventure with the bonus points from Menace of the Underdark. That was only this summer, and didn't play them all yet.

First trap behind a locked door I found was in the Catacombs. I shoulda known better (spoiler: because chests are often trapped. Duh.) but instead got a face full of spikes. I was incapped but my hireling wouldn't heal me -- he was AFK.

After that I was cautious, but I still got fooled by an untrapped chest in a trapped halway behind a locked door. I ran right into that one.

But I'm getting the hang of this, and with my Ioun Stones (+6 Int +1 exceptional), and my master crafted cannith hats (+10 spot and +10 Disable ML5) and a bank of +5 picks I'm able to trap level 4 elite content with my level 6 character.

Looking forward, I'm thinking of doing more multiclassing. I like Paladin 15 (two level 4 spell slots). If I take Pal15/Rogue2 that leaves me with three spare levels to mess around with. Barbarian could be fun for the +10% run speed. Fighter 2 would be nice for the bonus feats. I guess I could take some rogue too for some good clickies... but I don't like clickies all that much.