Me likey, with reservations

The whole third party peer to peer whatever thingy spat doesn’t bother me. Who knows what I have on my computer really. The loops, asking me to say yes to the EULA and whatever are minor things. Minor I say because I’ve had computers that required upper memory manipulation to play games. I’ve had floppies of all kinds and I’ve played games with questionable stability.
Bugs doesn’t bother me either until I waste time. When you spend hours in something and can’t complete. That bothers me, but thankfully I never did the Shadow dragon raid yet and had it fail.

There are a few things that bugs me, but that has to do with mechanics, rather than bugs or features. Like the HPbag rednames. It’s boring. With some classes they’re a minor hiccup and with others a bore. I’ve never been a fan of red names with tons of HP. Because it masks the real issue with them and that is lack of tactics. Instead you have a spell/hit spamming red name, repeating the same things over and over and if you’re one class you struggle and if you’re an evasion/range DPS you’ll do fine. Like my Ranger. multi arrow and fury. Done and done. Since rangers also have evasion it’s doubly good. On the other hand my paladin got spanked. Bit time – struggled with your basic hit redname like the knight before the red dragon raid. Or the helmet horror. Or the damn magma brutes. But my Sorc could do just fine against them (something to do with 4k+ energy bursts and such). Then there was the Emissary. Hitting you with 800+ damage breaths. All kinds. Now – it takes me minutes to be able to fire off one. She did it every 5 seconds or something like that. Excessive. It was easy on my ranger. Bam Bam, multi arrow and one dead Emissary. Same with several other red named. My Sorc had a harder time with the Emissary – she was on him like glue and eventually through fear for a minute I was toast over and over. But it was a lot quicker than my Paladin who died 20 or so times.

That aside; the wilderness area (the fortress) looks great with many varied areas. And while there’s little diversity in encounters (some necromancers, lots and lots of dwarven skellies, spiders and helmet horrors) it’s diverse enough to add excitement skulking around in the dimly lit ruin. Be in mines, underground sever, some nice winding stares and walk ways – corridors with crumples rocks and plenty of spiky traps. It’s fun, but limited to certain classes. Tried to use my 2 weapon tank that can selfheal. Denied. Lots of dodge and evasion – good. Lots of armor and PRR worthless. My sorc could of course breeze through most of it with mob killing bursts and displacement. My paladin struggled but can self heal – the swing of his axe and such took him all the way. But I got a few strictly DPS like my horc fighter and he’s going to be grounded until I find a group to flag with. Terrific DPS but he’s a pin couching with little ability to soak damage.

Then there’s haunted hall. I like the quest but it’s a mixed bag. It’s not a very quick one and it invites lots of exploring. Tons of traps, tons of areas to explore and lots of hidden nooks and crannies with possible rare encounters. And traps. Did I mention traps? Yeah – traps galore.

I gave up on my sorc – not because I couldn’t get it done but because I ran out of time. I did it on my Arti, he’s a human lighting based and it worked fine until I came to the end. The entire group died against the helmet horrors but he took care of them with blade barriers. The end caster had him running around and drinking pots and using scrolls – it took quite some time, but it got done. Then there was even more to explore afterwards. I failed against one of those statues because it emits lots of lightning damage every time you hit it. I think it’s a boring encounter; mechanically it’s ‘cute’ but the room is so small you can’t avoid getting hit. Which means tons of damage. In fact I was running away trying to heal rather than doing much damage so eventually I just gave up. Now another encounter (earlier) drops boots of grounding. I didn’t realize that until I tried with my ranger. That removes lots of the lightning damage and could possible make that encounter easier. If it wasn’t for the fact that my arti is lightning based which of course that encounter is immune too.

Then there was my ranger – I didn’t explore as much with him and it showed in the end since I only had one key and could only open one chest. I spent the entire end fight shooting and the helmet horrors were a chore (of course – I wish I had a smiting type weapon that did crazy amount of construct damage) but once they were down it was a breeze to get the end boss. And since I was running out of time I didn’t bother doing the rest of the stuff – but it was certainly quicker with my ranger over all.

I did 1 raid. The red Dragon. And it’s a challenge; like a crazy version of FoT – with 2 red dragons that you have to agro and separate or if they’re close to each others they get more powerful and immune to damage. But that’s just one part – the other part is the re-spawning critters. An endless flood of them making things pretty intense. And then there are the darn golems again – smaller but crazy painful ones and 2 big ones that we took down at the same time. Then you end up having to destroy the artifact so the red dragons lose some of their power before you kill them off.

Lots of dying and intense fun with no standing around. No puzzles, just a big arena style battle with some agro features thrown in and lots of kiting. In the end (and this was on EN) we got one chest. In that I got 5 red dragon scale, some soul thing and 20 something of other stuff. My understanding is that there’s a chance for the shadow scale to drop in the other raid, in other words not automatic and I find that stupid and boring. I’m not a fan of chances. Like CiTW and a chance for heroic comm. It should be automatic. You need such a crazy amount anyways and some people have more than 1 thing to upgrade. Same with this. Some toons will have 2 or more things to make (like my ranger 2 weapons and 1 ranged) or my sorc (1 orb and 1 scepter). Adding insult to injury it requires 25 or something shadow dragon scales for tier 2. And 75 something for tier 3. Now imagine having a chance for 1 in each raid.
It’s just dumb.

On a level of stupid that truly makes me mad. And given that some raids will fail and some raids will take time I find it very discouraging to contemplate that. Granted – these are unbound so you could technically buy or trade them, but given how many you need it’s just way to few. We’re talking about way more than 20 runs to pull that many scales and that’s just for 1 tier. So good that it’s unbound but bad that it’s a chance. And to add – all the raid items can be upgraded along with the shadow scale armors and all of them will require mats. I just can’t see it as reasonable for it to take over 6 months to upgrade one thing to tier 3 – that too me sounds like a commitment to the inane. A few months yes – but the scale seems just out of this world. And to be honest; most of the benefit seems to be for casters – at least the many different upgrades. Everything else seem to be fire or negative damage and a few procs. But again; we’ll see how it’ll turn out and hopefully they’ll adjust it somewhat to be more in line with a realistic assessment. Right now it feels like the valor comms – where you have to do something like 3 ETR to have enough for a free heart. Unless you run everything on EE, which isn’t exactly what most people can do.

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