Monthly Archives: February 2010

Dreams

Dreams.

They haunt me some times. Haven’t I’ve been here already? Why do I come back? Reality snaps back. The Gnolls jaws close hard and brutal like the loading mechanism of heavy crossbow. It’s something sudden and almost metallic.

It growls. A massive blade rams my shield. It jumps backward. Powerful neck lower and it tries to bite me again. Rancid breath.

Nightmare. Not a dream. There’s nothing dreamy about a boiling landscape of hot sand and rusty canyons withering in the sun light. Dull metal glimmering as it clings to the rock.

I side step. It’s hard to do it in rolling sand. Behind me the ethereal whisper of magic unleashes force bolts in the direction of a skeleton. The crunching sound of my golem crushing something else. My feet lose grip. My arm goes numb from the thundering hit of the cleaver.

My life pass before me. It’s a burst of what I did. Sweat stinging my eyes. My helmet takes its jaws. Teeth grinding against the dense metal. Horn locked between its teeth. Drooling. It’s growl and breath echoing inside my helmet like a loud ruffle in a small cave.

My shield flies away. Moments from death. It raises it’s weapon to end me. The Ice cold flames of my sword finds the space between the breast plate and shoulder guard. Right there by the arm pit. Bundles of tensing muscles. The stab is merciless and quick. Reality is a fluid motion where all strength drench from the gnoll in a death yelp. I pull the weapon from its gaping frosty wound. It’s blood flows from it like frozen snow. Dark. Rubies. It splinters into death. My weapon block the other gnolls strike. Trying to take advantage of my preoccupation with its tribal member. I drop down. I feel the sand run into my knee guard and boots. I cut across the abdomen. Right between two overlapping bands. But it’s only boiled leather. And the creature dies with a whelp as its inside spills out, dropping past me into the sandy canyon.

Dream – why do I return? I want to find the ring. The ring that holds divine essence that can rejuvenate me. The ring that stores power. It’s here somewhere. They old ones tell me about it. One even held one up for me to see. He’d lost an eye finding it.

Is it worth the loss? Baking under the sun. Skin red from exposure. Leather.

I save my hireling wizard. As he holds the skeleton at bay with his hands. Screaming. I save my dense golem as he clutches a mummy in a tight grip. It doesn’t say thanks as I evaporate the creature with divine magic. It stares at me. Rocks forming a man shaped form. Waiting for me to move on.

Is this the day I find it?

The possibilities

Isn’t it funny how yesterday before you realized something X SP seemed like a must to solo something? How you got used to running around with 2600 SP and complaining that you ended up blowing through it without getting anywhere?

Then you changed some stuff, picked up others – realized what spells to learn and the second time around you’re doing things earlier because you know each turn and instead of running scared in the Orchard at level 16+ you’re gritting through most of it level 11, 12 and 13 and doing fine with only 1600 to 1800. Not even with all the good stuff you had back when. But better.

What an experience it is to have to think every turn but making it because of having the right stuff and knowing what you need.

Instead of trudging through mobs complaining about having to soak another 500 SP into one instance. Heck the only time I was almost obliterated was when the server decided to hang real nice with some very terrible lag. I kept throwing some spells now and then with no action other than some sound to hint me what was going on and suddenly it all came back, with a laundry list of force hits, webs and such slamming me. Good thing I was smart to throw a Blade Barrier and cure med here and there since the damage I took was murderous. Only thing was that in that one instance (zombie train in Orchard – like the first thing you normally hit) I lost over 1500 SP without even seeing all of it until the end. My hireling died and I was had a handful SP left – ending up drinking 3 Major Mem pots to move on and there’s nothing more painful than watching one of the mems come up as 135 SP out of 600. That’s like SLAP – take that.
But at the same time it’s fun to be able to run these stuff at lower level where every hit, spell and SP counts and learn how to household it. And with my new ice burst weapons (like I keep ranting about) it helps a lot.

I’ve seen sorcs running slayer in the Orchard – in a way that I don’t like. You know – come and go as you want while they take off leaving you behind killing stuff left and right and you don’t know where anything drops. But you also notice how squishy they can be without anyone there to heal them. Maybe they don’t care – but I do. I like to be able to heal myself, smack a few heads and then walk out of there in the same shape as I walked into it (sorta). The only time I truly hung onto the candy cane I kept chewing on (another thing you can ‘win’ by running the winter games) was when I got to that guy by temple of Von and he gets assailed by waves of undead. Well smack me silly but I was not ready for that. I had a blade barrier, but no Death Ward. So my golem and my level 8 hireling (I was 12 at that time but there’s only one hireling that has both fire wall and haste and that is a level 8 wizard) went down quicker then I could say DRAT. The guy I was suppose to protect didn’t last longer under the barrage of spells, acid clouds and whatnot and I limped away from the struggle with skeletons and whatever chasing me, chewing on my candy cane to last long enough to escape. No SP left, half my HP bar and slowed down by whatever silly spell they cast.

Those are the times you tell yourself – should I let them kill me or try to escape? Luckily I had already cleared the path I was heading and other than a Vampire chasing me from who knows where it soon gave up and I was left alone to recall.

It was AWESOME. I’ve wiped plenty of times. Most of the times running quests. Quests where you sink 2-3 wands into it and several pots just to have people bail on you when it gets tough. That hurts. Hurts because you didn’t gain anything and sank a lot of resources into it.

But walking away scorched, bleeding and limping at the tail end of a slayer run where I had managed to find enough stuff already didn’t hurt all that much. I had more candy canes then a sugar addict and my hireling was going to leave me anyways. And my dense golems are ‘free’ per my green steel cloak.

It was glorious. That’s when you can return to the drinking hole in Necropolis. Comb your unruly hair and don the pirate bandana (+10 Haggle), drink a heroism potion and sell the other things I found. And while the wounds heal and strength return I can plan another run somewhere else knowing that there is more fun to be had. It’s true what they say – the fun really takes off after level 10.

Heard while running

This weekend I ran with a great bunch of people. Random group that came together – needed a healer to do GH quests, normal 3 times, hard then elite for best possible XP. It was great and except for spending money on wands I didn’t have to do much until POP where my blade barrier ended up doing the trick.

However there’s something to be said about people and mics. It’s good to have. For directions. For quick announcements of useful tactics, traps etc. Not that some group members listens to it. But one thing that I wish people would leave out of the chatter is political nonsense.

In real life we have to deal with that stuff. All countries have it. USA is by no means unique and it’s always the right to left fringe babble. I consider myself political enough but not to where I always take a hard stand based on ideologue – I’m more a data, fact kind of person. History being core. To me real is what we all do, not what someone believe it to be. And that is why I DDO. I want to get away from real. It’s everywhere. In printed news, radio, TV and online. It’s your neighbor or colleagues. It’s in the lunch room and everywhere – even home. I bring it home sometimes. But I make sure my kids know that there’s no right answer other than what they research and figure out. I don’t believe in ‘brain’ washing my kids for the ‘correct’ answer. About the only ‘person’ in the household that doesn’t care or get saturated with reality is our new dog. Thank Gosh for that.

So here’s the thing, I love running with experienced people where I don’t have to pamper anyone. I save my SP and resources to when it counts and I love running with people that knows the quests and know how to deal with them without the whole getting lost, wasting time, getting killed because of stupidity and such.

But please leave politics and ‘reality’ out of DDO. Reality like I need to eat, BIO, tuck kids into bed and such is okay. But swearing up a storm over a girlfriend while drunk (another quest) or disparaging a political party with nothing more than red meat and BS is another.

I don’t want to be the guy that types – hey dude, I happen to be active in the other party and what you’re saying is utter cr@p – can we just cut that out and play and talk about DDO instead?
I’d like to be the one who gives hints and good tips now and then. And crack someone up to lighten the mood when half the party gets wiped and then we grit up and move on.

Please keep your ‘reality’ where it belongs. On the other side of the graphical world we love to run in. Sooner or later I’ll come across it anyways and I really don’t need it here. I don’t want to b!tch about it – I just don’t want that pollution. Aren’t we already engrossed in the whole PUG, Noob, free to play thing going on? Isn’t that ‘real’ enough? Do we also have to drag in easily verifiable and debuncable cr@p into the discussion that’ll only poison the well and make this game ‘sucky’?

I don’t need politics in DDO. Perhaps if anything I’d like DDO in politics. Meaning having our real elected people go PvP on each others. Pundits against politicians. I’ll cream ‘em all (I’m not that good but I’m sure I can beat the whole bunch of em and their hot air).

My 2 cents

It’s Slayer, Man

When I hit 12 I started to run rares and slayers more. Stupid me had ALMOST finished Sorrowdusk and about to get 10k when I finished some quests that got me to level 12. So I leveled up instead of sucking it up, go back and finish the slayer (2-3 20 min runs). The result – I only got 5.6k.

This time around I’m thinking I rather finish off some slayer before losing good XP – namely Ataraxia, Restless and the Sands.

Why grind that hard if you’re going to get screwed in the end? I don’t have to worry though – I have to hit level 15 before I lose out and it’s like 300k till level 14 anyways.

Here’s the thing – the one wilderness I like the most and that can give you slayer the fast is Orchard. The worst in my opinion is Restless isles. I’m sure (as I mentioned before) that there are some people who have figured out this super fast way of doing it, but the funny thing (and that kind of support my feeling) is that I see very few if any restless isles rare runs. Maybe because there’s no easy way to quickly (and in 30 minutes) go through it all.

You see a lot more Sands and Ataraxia.

And I’m almost done with Ataraxia. The Sands are a little bit different – there are easy routs to score gnoll and undead rares. Especially the two closest parts. But slayer is different. For undead you have to vacuum the whole sands area and there are very few areas where you have larger mobs. Not like with Ataraxia where you can run into several larger mobs that you can blade barrier to death or as in Orchard where some areas are overrun with undead (corral and fire wall makes that easy). The Gnoll area is a little better – some larger and smaller mobs that you can smack with area effect spells.

So why am I repeating this – I did mention before with some stats about slayer stuff?

First – I can – ain’t that grand? But secondly with the winter games rare and slayer takes on a whole new meaning. Before running the Sands had something to do with finding named items you can either sell for a lot of money for anyone who wants or turn them into Epic items, but now it’s also about finding ANY item to add ice effect too.

That can easily turn into a very lucrative trade – since finding a decent enough weapon in the Orchard and adding up to a frost effect is one ice burst away from a useful level 10 or above weapon. I saw someone trade blip a +1 scimitar with COLD (meaning the lousiest 1 cold dam added). Now that’s not very good. And certainly not appetizing to someone looking for a decent weapon.

I would imagine anyone between say 5-16 would be a nice target for a good weapon until that same person starts running the shroud for green steel. But since it’s P2P I would assume that any F2P player would want a decent weapon that you can only get from running the P2P wilderness.

Me personally I’m hording weapons for my second TR and other toons. Don’t know why – I’m adding frost to any 8 and below weapon and Ice Burst to anything above that. I’m also adding burst to say something that already have flame burst, thundering or maiming.

My hope is to find a good crit weapon with keen/impact or similar that has one good effect so I can ice burst it.

Because I used to sell all that stuff – I mean I’m a FvS – what do I need a +8 keen weapon with destruct? I don’t really need it now either but maybe someone would love a weapon like that with ice burst?

And that’s the whole point of this game and the new venues opening. You find yourself realizing that there are new ways of doing things. I thought I would be down to a couple of good weapons this time around, knowing what worked from last time and suddenly I’m awash with tons of good weapons to pick and choose from. It’s literary night and day compared to before when I ‘plicked’ away at skeletons and such and the only way I could do any damage was to cast searing light; now I can take on most enemies with an array of different weapons. It’s refreshing to cast haste and slice and dice. I’m never going to be a tank – never going to be front line kick @ss and take names kind of toon, but I can do a halfway impression of something that’ll stick a knife or fork in it and see if it’s done.

Thanks Turbine for adding new life to all the weapons but next time tell people not to get rid of their coals and twigs; I have so many recipes that require those and would love to use them up to see what they’re about.

Winter games

The winter game thingie is a boon. I keep spending gold points to get hot chocolates. And I have learned how get purple coins.

A long term strategy is already forming; I’m not doing it for tomes. I heard you can get one. I assume it’s very very hard. No, I’m looking to upgrade all 2-6 level weapons to frost and 8-12 to Burst. And the odd 16 or so that has something I like such as curse spewing, wounding or paralyzing.

There’s a strategy – first I’m looking at trying to get all the weapons I use upgraded with a secondary effect. It struck me – the reason why I seldom use my curse spewing and paralyzing weapons is because they’re relatively low damage despite doing what they’re supposed to do. In other words – what good is the ability to paralyze someone if it takes forever to kill it?

So the idea is to add cold effect to these weapon and therefore making them useful. Same with low level ones for when I TR again or try to build up my other toons. There’s something really cool about having a axiomatic weapon with pure good and ice burst. It’ll definitely help me advance quicker.
But it’s also showing up in my ability to destroy right now; for the longest time and all the way to 20 I had these weapons that were okay and I ended up relying on divine casting for most part, since my ice burst long sword was good, but not that good. With the new and improved weapons I have one with both flame burst, lesser outside chaotic bane and ice burst. That’s a lot of damage. Add to that a paralyzing weapons as soon as I hit level 14. Add ice burst to it and suddenly I have 2 very capable weapons – one that paralyzes and cause cold damage and the other one that both do flame, ice and bane. That’ll work nicely in the vale.

I have also started running the Orchard again. I can’t complete a full rare run on my own since I kind of run out of XP before the tunnel through the mountain. But it’s enough to hit 2-3 rare and a lot of slayer. The two weapons I use are both ice burst. When I can start using my spectral gloves at level 13 I’ll be able to cut myself through the Orchard a lot easier.

All in all – the ice games are fantastic. Great idea and a good way blow some life into older saved weapons.

The Sands

Heat boil atop the hot yellow sand. A dry merciless wind tear drifting stinging powdery grains across the dunes that creep into every crevasse of my armor. The lumbering stone golem glistens in the sun as the light reflects off the stone skin. I feel the creature before I see it. It shrieks in my mind. The mummy appears in front of me – dirty wrappings covering it’s dried out husk of a body. Creatures like these can strike fear in you, but I have armored my mind with divine magic. My searing light renders a bright lance on my cornea as it launch from my hand and obliterate it with pure force making it howl in agony.
We press forward. My hired Wizard for the day struggles with the robe as we climb another dune just to run into a menacing Memphite hovering over a chest. Its sonic shout echoing out over the sands springing the trap. Skeletal warriors burst out of the sands, clawing themselves out of their sandy tombs swinging rusty swords and covered in eroded heavy armor. My hireling jump to the side when a arcane skeleton sets the sands ablaze with a fire wall and he responds in kind with a green beam of raw arcane magic. My golem encapsulates a mummy in prongs of stone fingers, erupting from the sand itself as it joins the battle.
My weapon find its mark. Sonic screams slams against my shield, almost knocking me off my feat. I swing. Blinded and confused. The world a dark mass. I can feel the tip scrape into something. Hot and cold cutting – flames burning what’s already dead and cold shattering the neck of a skeleton into sharp fragments clattering off my armor.
I can see again. The arcane skeleton swirls in its death dance launching lightning into the sky as it’s frame burns and melts away into a emerald pool. My golem holds the mummy in a tight spine crushing grip, but the ancient creature claws and chips away at the rocks that holds it together. The Memphite dances backwards. I strike. Trusting, trying to get a foothold in the rolling sand. Impaling the flailing creature. It shreds it clawed hands on the edge of my sword. It shrieks and burn. Cold flames dancing across its sizzling skin. Wings ablaze. Trying to lift. Dying. I slam my sword down onto the ground, trusting my weapon deeper into it. crushing it’s spine. Wings flaps against the dunes. Angry sand beats up around it before a violent spasm stiffens it’s limbs and it stops moving. Its blood boiling away. Skin blackening and it’s charred remains curl up into a petrified shriveled mass before splintering into frozen melting shards. Out of the creature that guard the sun paled chest for decades there was nothing more than evaporating liquid left.
The mummy goes limp. Turns into broken pieces of skin and bones and shreds of wrapping. The evil force that helds it together carry away with the wind like a heavy sigh. The stone golem stands there. Staring. Claw marks slowly healing as it sucks whatever life force it can out of the ground. I help the hireling up. The skin on his leg blistered by the fire wall. With a sweep of my hand the blisters vanish. The red flaky skin turns pale. The burned crusted scab of scarred burn freckled by age. He stops grimacing. And we move on. Ember of heat distorts the visage of temple ruins stabbing out of the sand like broken teeth, glowing off the sharp crystal purple shards like a gods lost arrow heads.
—————–
I’m am blind once more. Stumbling down a dune. Falling. Eyes burning with sand. It’s behind me. Sonic force rolling right over my head. My hireling is dead. The general and his mummy body guards woke up and killed him. Killed him and the plucked my golem apart like ravenous beasts. I clutch the ring I stole from the chest. It springs down the backside of the dune and remain but a distant glimmer. I jab for the hilt of the sword frying the sand into glass. My arm feels broken – the pain stabs through my shoulder as the shield bounces over the ground. My last divine bolt launch over the crest as the Memphite blocks out the sun ready to tear into me. It falls to the side as the bolt burns a hole through its beige body and it slides down past me.
I hear the skittering feet of skeletons and the moans of mummies shambling towards me and I force myself to run. Pain yanking at me. A arrow flies past my head and bounces harmlessly off a crystal nearby. Each steps feels like quicksand. Slow. The clatter of armor grows distant. I run – as fast as I can – following the red cliffs towards the camp. Shallow heavy breaths. Falling. More pain. I feel my teeth sink into the soft flesh of my lips. Salty iron blood. Sand. Sweat.
I don’t know where I fell. Where I almost died. But I feel her. Her shadow like a soft embrace sheltering me from the sun. Her swift daggers saving me from the Gnoll that was about to cut my throat. She whispers something into my ear; read from a scroll that crumbles into dust as she use it. I smell lavender and sweat. Blood and the summer night outside the window of my room.
The last I see of her is a smile as I come to. ‘You’ll live’ she says. And then she’s gone.
I find a potion of pinkish liquid glowing in the sand next to me. It enhances the divine power I can wield. I drink it eagerly. Some of it spills across my beard. It’s bitter but I can feel the power burn inside me.
I dislodge my broken arm from the shield and let the healing power cleanse me. Joints snap into place. Bones mend and skin close. I can feel my fingers again. The sickening rot that saps my strength crawls out of me when I whisper out the powerful incantation that removes the sickness and the curse.
Who was she? Was it all a dream? I stare into the dead eyes of the gnoll laying on the side with two stab wounds through the chest. It’s blood drying out on the rock.
I still smell lavender. I think I see a vapor of her melting together with the heat across the desert.

restarting

Yesterday I had one of those days where I felt I had accomplished something just to realize I was less than halfway there and lost at where to go.
I like to solo and I can solo. Ran a level 10 and managed to squeeze out a win with a handful of XP left. My previous post is about that quest. But I still felt and until I ran some stuff today that It just felt Like I was treading water.
Until I ran a couple of slayers/rares out first in Sorrowdusk Isle. Enough to mass 600 in kill count and all but one rare. Then while that was still resetting I went over to Ataraxia’s and later on the Sands. I remember hitting the Sands at level 9 or 10. It’s supposedly a 8-15 but I sure got my butt handed to me. A lot of it had to do with only having 800 or so SP and running through them in a matter of minutes. At 11 and with a better hireling with fire wall and plentiful of buffs I managed to run the undead area (I skipped the air elemental since I didn’t feel like being thrown around just for one chest) and the halfway through the nearby gnoll area.
All in all I managed to scrape together enough rares to pay for the dents in my armor and probably about 15k XP or more. Not bad for a couple of hours of running. Now of course it’s going to take longer. I’m at about 600 (sorrowdusk) and can probably hit 750 in my next run and then it’ll take another 5 or so runs to hit 1500. I’m at 300 over at Ataraxia’s and should be able to hit 400 next time, but it takes longer since the enemies are a little bit tougher. And the outdoor area bigger in a sense since most of the encounters aren’t lined up along the main road like in Sorrowdusk. Some caves are off, other rares are on island and it’s a lot of zig sagging to get the slayer.
In a sense the Sands is easier (but tougher enemies) since while there’s no road, it is a fairly straight shot to hit all the rares between the undead and the gnolls. I seldom run the other two parts since those are quite spread out.
And that’s what I’ve been missing. It’s surprisingly addictive to run these Wilderness areas. There are a few that seems very bothersome –The restless isles are one of them. It’s just to much underground, some smaller above ground islands and more underground. It’s not something you turn into a easy run. But I can be wrong of course.
The fun part isn’t only to run wilderness, but to run Wilderness that I really didn’t do in my toons past life. I didn’t start doing wilderness areas until the Orchard and then the Vale and Giant Hold. I cared for Giant Hold the least, but I’m sure it can be rewarding if I figure out a better more optimized run. The Orchard is just pure joy and the Vale is very passable with the right spells.
Now I’m running three areas that I completely missed mid level. And it feel fresh and interesting again.
I did run the sand a lot around level 20 but that was only to find the named stuff. Now I can take advantage of XP as well.
I will hopefully level up to 12 by the time I finish Sorrowdusk and part way on Antaraxia’s. Completing 1500 slayer over at Sorrowdusk will give me 15k and that leaves me a gap of about 35k to find elsewhere. That’s really not that bad – I can hit that running some quests or finish Ataraxia’s for about 20k. Chipping away at the Sands I can easily see doing up to 400 in both the undead and the gnolls for a good 20k more.
No wonder things seems up.
With level 12 I’ll be able to use some more good gear including better weapons and it will be the perfect time to start running Giant Hold. And soon enough I’ll be doing regular slayer runs in Giant Hold and Orchard until I hit about 14-15 and start running the Vale.
That’s what feels exciting. A goal – knowing that I have a purpose and how to start leveling again.
It takes longer – but once I can start running the shroud and get my gear and then running quests for dragon touched armor and I’ll be right there at 20 prepping for Epic Quests.
If I screw up along the way I’ll do a lesser reincarnation and fix any niggling problems; if not I’ll simply move on having loads of fun.

See you there.