What goes up – the EE buddy forever version

I applaud the group XP idea Turbine put in place this weekend. 10% more for each additional ‘real’ group member in non raid quests.

Brilliant. For the first time in forever I was actually incentive to join groups. Not that it ever stopped me before, but generally I will look for a group and if there is none for the stuff I want to run I solo them. Now I checked once and twice just to see if I could find a similar group, running something within the given levels I run.

So with my level 24 Warlock I first ran VON 1-4 and then later on the weekend, the entire second chain starting with trackers trap. That turned out to be one grueling session that started out okay and ended in a soul crushing, mind numbing ordeal with the remaining for of us beating it eventually.

Here I am level 25 doing the second chain in the Shadowfell pack and at first (trackers trap) things seemed okay. There was a few deaths, surprisingly from the same guy dying over and over, but it’s not unusual given that it’s EE and some of the enemy burst damage (and particularly from champions) can be bad.

Either way; there was no significant drama and we completed within a reasonable time.

Same with the supply convoy one. My guy had 60+ in diplo so getting the Harpy on our side wasn’t all that difficult. And with two Warlocks (me and another guy) there was plenty of black tentacles and such for the convoy waves arriving. In some respect the second quest was a little smoother (with a few deaths, but not many) and where I thought we would fail (blowing up the waves in time) we did very well.

Score one for Warlocks.

The third; dealing with the camps and incoming waves of gnolls, orcs and lastly giants turned out to be something else.

First – we failed the first try simply because most of the group was busy hitting stuff and not raising others when they fell.

So when we failed that, we recalled, got a bunch of scrolls and stuff and redid it again. Yes, it was still painful, but at least with lots more raise scrolls and such (and some more resources) we finally managed in what was a grueling slug fest.

The 4th quest – finding the frost giant – was another rampage from A through Z – and while we had our moments of issues, it was fairly straight forward and less of a pain that the third quest.

But nothing will (at least in my mind) compare to the several hours of painful face to wall gaming that was ‘what goes up’.

It started okay; we romped through the first 2 sections without too much drama. My guy has 72 in UMD so lowering all barriers without setting off the alarms is easy. And while the assassins managed to smack us over now and then, we managed to control most of it collectively as a group. And I gotta tell you; black tentacles are awesome in slowing down enemies and also holding assassins in place.

It was a life saver in most cases.

The real issue came when we hit the final part. We get to the last shrines just before facing the bad guy; we’re now running into the disintegration phase of some grouping where no one comes up with a plan and we all sorta do our own thing.

And the deaths starts piling up.

To my credit I died the least amount of times; 11. But I ended up using 5 or so cakes when we were all but dead, over 40 raise scrolls and many, many, SP potions.

Worst were the champions. Every now and then some type of champion ended up one hit slaughtering one or several of us as we fought at the entrance of the ramp and while we didn’t exactly have a good plan in place, the issue at hand was the fact that trying to pull the bad guy to where we were was increasingly fraught since we also pulled a lot of other things.

This was naturally not the greatest problem; we managed to figure out in the end how to deal with trash – no it was the champion shadovars (or whatever their names are) that added the most pain. They can apparently not only hit you for a grievous amount of spell damage, but also hit awesomely hard in close combat. And once they dispatched all of us and I had to eat a cake they left – many times to the opposite side of the place which meant we had to try to lure them back again, and once more deal with everything else in between.

2 Gave up – one guy had to go to work and the other felt it was pointless and left. In the end one of us had died 30 times and some other people 20 or so – I only died 11 but also used a tremendous amount of resources to see us to the end.

I figured it was one of those cases where I had resources and were going to use them so not to waste all that pain for nothing. A good thing too – I was down to my last 8 raise scrolls and had no more cakes left.

And once we finished I was already nursing a headache and was completely mentally drained. Sure – I hit level 26 in the process, but that accomplishment felt a little bittersweet considering the marathon treatment getting there.

I’m no longer on the out

Up until a week ago I was entirely in the ‘not know’ of Game of Thrones. Mostly because once I heard about it and got interested it was 2 seasons out and I didn’t feel to DVR the rest. Along came HBO Go and I now had access to all of it.

So I spent a week binge watching it – actually not playing DDO for most part and when I finally got done with season five my had was like ‘full’ of GOT stuff.

The fun part of not having read the books and had to figure out the difference is that once season 6 pops out I would have spoiled myself and I can watch it as its released.

Truly – it’s fascinating comparing it to other fantasy and while I’m not a nutter about most type of series, books etc I like the characters without feeling overly attached.

I will say one thing; the evil is almost comical, as well as the good. That’s not unusual, but some of the gritty stuff seems so overdone and some of the ‘good’ people seem almost naively good given that they were born into this world and had a few decades behind them in it.

That’s why the ‘shocking’ stuff almost feel artificial. Meaning – the Starks, so seemingly naive in a world that was and had been steeped in grit and destruction for thousands of years. How did they survive all those years?

And the Lannisters – hated by all. Or the many ‘evil’ damaged people. Joffrey only a pale copy of the bastard son of the Warden of the North. Seems a little bit ‘too’ many similarly evil people.

Not to say it doesn’t make for interesting drama, but the cringe worthy ‘Jon Snow bites the bullet’. I’m not upset about it (honestly) but it seemed so contrived to leave as a cliff hanger. Or Sansa having to endure the horror of her life over and over or Arya losing her eye sight because…I don’t know.

Sorry, didn’t mean to view ‘magic’ or ‘events’ as logic but sometimes the idea of ‘twists’ becomes a little bit silly.

Finally – I like the dragon lady. She’s nice but inexperienced in most of how things function. She means well but so much of it falls apart with the reality of how the world works now and how quickly she want to change it. And that the dragons aren’t just nice pliable puppies. Well done. Of all the characters that seems to follow some kind of ‘learning’ this is the best one. And that she’s now seeing a bunch of people flock to her side to help. Many of them flawed but at least seeing hope for the world.

In contrast to that you have the White Walkers. I don’t know how that will play out but I hope they don’t make them so impossibly awesome so they have to be defeated through some kind of cheesy feature. That’s always a risk when you make that ‘one big uniting bad guy’ and then add a comically simplistic way of getting rid of all of it.

One of the great flaws with say the ring trilogy, where the bad guy is almost impossible to destroy and all it takes is one ring. To rule them all, or destroy the super bad guy.

Weekend Raidin’

I spent most of the weekend raiding – adding about 7 or so runs of Defiler, a few more runs with my Arti in MoD and then took my Warlock through Demon Queen and Chronosphere.

Primarily I’m looking for Ring of Spell storing (as well as the Bauble, which has turned into a fruitless set of runs).

It seems also that the Demon Assault is broken – I ran it at least once a day using shards every time and not one single named items. Either they have lowered the drop rate or it no longer offer any named items – either way I’m going to stop wasting shards until that mess is dealt with.

I did one EE of the Court of Lailat but it took too long and didn’t yield much anyways so I’m going to run EH instead – saving some time. I’m also running the actual raid as EH – I could potentially do EE but that pain is not worth it. At least EH gives me greater chance for greater tokens and sometimes even some items.

I did run Chrono on EN simply to spend less time – I could possible do it on EH since I have done so before (not a complete run tho since I never did the end fight), but again – I don’t feel like wasting a lot of time on it.

This is going to be the daily deal for now – running Defiler as often as I can, once or twice DQ and Chronosphere every 3 days. At least until I have the Epic spell storing ring.

And hopefully I can run Defiler enough to get the 4 items I want. That, along with the ring and the bauble will make my Warlock fairly resource free.

Conundrums

Okay – I’m so close to 28 I can smell it (or maybe I need to change socks). Anyways; I meant to unlock the thunder forge (or whatever its called) and I didn’t feel all that good yesterday – so I think that’ll be something I might attempt today or tomorrow.

The problem I have is whether or not I make myself a medium or light armor. Particularly since I’m not all that keen on Enlightened spirit. The thing is this. Yes – using medium armor provides more MRR and PRR – even moreso given specific abilities with the tree and while it’s not a HUGE difference it’s big enough given the difference between light and medium armor to begin with.

The issue is that it requires quite a heavy investment in ES to get medium armor for free (tree ability) so it’s either that or eating a feat. It makes sense if you intend invest that much in ES – given the other benefits, but it makes less sense if you end up going with a different build and potentially forgoing ES entirely.

I can’t see myself using ES for long; the only reason I’m doing it is because of the raid. My hope is to be able to join before it fizzles and get 3 items from it. I’m resigning myself to the fact that I might just get one guy who gets any benefits from this raid and you do need some basic self healing to survive. The benefit from ES, other than MRR and PRR are also more hitpoints and some nice temporary HP – all of which adds to the bottom line.

My hope is therefor later on to convert back to a Soul Eater/Tainted Scholar build and go light armor. It’ll confer some basic benefits and some PRR and MRR.

And I don’t feel like filling up my inventory with more stuff I’ll never use – such as a medium thunderforged now and light later.

That’s the conundrum. Add the benefit now and build another set later or just live with the fact that light is good enough. Either way – I do wish there was a better armor out there – something that conferred +4 charisma instead (light or medium). Whatever is the case – I’m going to give it a few more hours of thought and then it’s off to the mines.

27 – one small step from Cap, one Giant step for Character power

I’m halfway there – and after that I will take every single opportunity to run Defiler – I want those 3 caster items, if this toon is the only one that’ll have the chance to get them. I have a feeling however that I might be running out of chance to run it – the time it runs have already slowed down dramatically.

That would be a great shame – there was a time when I could run raids on all my toons and get all the items I wanted. Now there’s the intense explosion for a few weeks and then slowly oblivion.

Hitting 20

I’ve been busy taking my former Bladeforged sorc (and then Warlock) through 1 thru 20. I did so by mostly running chains – but there were a few levels where I did a hopscotch of different separate quests.

But once I hit 14 I was nailing all the major chains and little else. Such as the entire Gianthold (with TOR). The pre-quests (not a chain per say but linked) to Wheelon and of course both harper and Shadowfell chains. I naturally also did Vale (a must do).

I did switch from initially running heavy Enlightened Spirit to a Souleater heavy build. Partly because towards the end I wanted to use con shaped blast and some of the dots. You could use bursts but the cone shaped attack is very nice when dealing with the supply convoy quest out of Shadowfell second chain.

Something odd happened tho using Create Thrall. For anyone that don’t know the Warlock ability, it’s a very strong dominate single creature spell. Strong enough to do so against almost any type of creature with few exceptions (arcane puddings are excellent Thralls btw).

I created a Thrall out of a Winter Wolf and a lion (two encounters as you head towards the harpies to make them allies) and once I dragged them into the Harpy nest the harpies went ballistic and started attacking. Yes – I could destroy them, only hurt them, but I didn’t even have a chance to talk to the Mother and start the sequence.

So note to others and self; don’t Thrall anything (I would assume that true with any type of charm spell). It’ll bork that option.

Later on when I finally got to the end of the quest – the camp – normally the harpies have destroyed everything and are well on their way to beat the giant. But since they got borked in the beginning they were entirely passive. Yes, I could defeat the mother once the initial chaos was done but when they leave for the camp they go passive.

I did all of the quests except the final one, since I had to go back, turn in the quests to flag and unlock the final (what goes up). By then I was level 19, had 2 bubbles left and I could turn in 2 sagas. So instead of grinding out more XP and waste more time, I turned in the sagas and hit 20.

I’m debating if I want to go back to Enlightened Spirit. Yes – it does provide you with a solid base of light based damage to your blast, two bursts and the option of adding Medium armor to the mix with more MRR and PRR. 2 Good things, but it’s hard to say no to the use of dots.

True, Shining through provides a good bunch of temporary points, but killing red named can take forever without the dots. We’ll see – changing is usually no big deal (other than costing plats).

Turbine makes another mistake

There’s nothing wrong with the new content – 3 medium sized heroic or Epic quests and one shorter raid. No the issue isn’t the content or the raids but the continued ignorance of allowing raid timer bypasses.

It’s clear for example that Turbine finally listened to people and removed the sellable named items – not most of them are BTA. And that’s a good thing – if you want the item you’re going to have to buy and run the content. Contrary to some popular belief; being able to sell stuff you don’t need is not a good thing since it shows clearly that people like to run things on EE then sell desired items. Desired items bought buy people who either don’t buy or run the content.

Should there be a way for people to profit? Yeah, I think so – and ToEE added such a feature but unfortunately saturated the entire board with LOTS of items instead – seeing that the base item was unbound and cold be sold and the added tiers bound it. But since there was so many in circulation there was no value in selling it for shards and now you can find anything you’d like for plat.

To me then the best solution would be a ‘hard’ to get base item for sale with 2 tiers of upgrade that tier 1 BTA it and tier 2 upgrades it and maybe a tier 3 version that adds some kind of set bonus but also makes it BTC. Again, sellable for base but you need to run the content to upgrade it. Sorta like Emacabre and tapestries – but with more than just adding augment slots.

But lets go back to the big mistake in Update 27 – allowing raid timer bypasses. I’ve run the raid once; on my barbarian. And the group I was with was hammering the new raid 24×7 – as you can see from the early days when the instance was so saturated with people it caused serious lag.

Now it’s fairly dead. And it’s going to get ‘dedder’. In fact I play almost every day and see very few raid trains going. Most of the other raids are dead and this one won’t last through August. Again – Turbine kills a raid in less then a month and the rest of us that was looking forward to running it now and then will be screwed.

Someone wrote that I should setup a raid; sorry – but I’ve sat in these older raids and waited for them to fill for over an hour and it’s a direct result of anyone that has run it 100 times in less then 2-3 weeks getting theirs and moving on. Leaving the few to try to fill a raid.

No excuse, no action from me personally can fix the problem Turbine creates by refusing to see just how detrimental raid timer bypasses is to the current state of the game. I don’t know what the excuse is, but by allowing a raid to be consumed and spat out in less then a month Turbine is killing the longevity of the end game in a heartbeat.

Lets hope they see reason before releasing E Vale because we need a longterm raid that runs daily and that people have to wait for and recycle their toons through. We cannot continue destroying the longevity of the game for short term thinking.