Monthly Archives: May 2014

Big boats and quick ends

I went on Lam yesterday because a new version is up and some of the amenities were working. I have the second largest boat, since the Man o War wasn’t up and running last time. It’s big; I can only guess how much bigger the Man o War is.

This boat has top, first, second, third and Cargo hold. It’s big. There’s some videos floating around in the forum for anyone that want to get an idea.

Now I could finally add the stuff; which is pretty straight forward. Go to a spot, click on the thingy just as if you were adding a shrine, pick what you want there and set it. It’s easy to undo too – undo and you still have it and own it and you can either add it somewhere else or just keep it like that for another time. And they’re unlimited time; no more running to every spot to add more time.

All small amenities ends up towards the hull in smaller rooms where as the large ones end up in the middle of the ship in larger areas. And I tell you, once you put these things in every spot will turn into a fully functional area with all the tools for the trade. And it can be quite the djungle in there.

Downside is that right now there’s no good way of knowing what an amenity does. The mouse over doesn’t work right and there’s no info text other then what it’s called in the interface. Plus you can’t sort it, so you should guess that higher guild level requirements means better stuff, but since you don’t know for sure I was trying to buy everything that had high guild level, but had to scan the list first to make sure.

Once that’s all set you go to the top deck, hit the buff all button and suddenly have a buff bar full of stuff. You can mouse over those for info and most of them are guild buffs. So if you have some form of resist, the resist will stack with that. Not that it mattered much once I hit the E3BC wilderness area.

So here I am, fully buffed, ready to go out there and check it out. You know – what that hole monster/pirate ship was about.  Well – to my surprise I didn’t really notice until I was getting hit, dying and dead.

Here’s the deal. I was close to the quest entrance to that quest where you have the ship wreck on the beach. There was some stuff there. I nailed them, and suddenly I started getting hit by these HUGE lightning spheres. Doing 300-400 in damage each (so much for 60 in resist). They fired quickly too. The guys coming down on ropes were not the issue; the big fricken ship firing lighting spheres was.

I hope that’s a question of balance; because these AOE attacks won’t miss you and unless you got evasion it’ll be toast quicker then lightning.

I revived, pulled away towards this ballista. I start firing. The ballista apparently either don’t do any damage or exploded BEFORE it hit the ship. Either way the pirates are roping down now and then and I’m destroying them and the ropes. So I pull out a bow. It’s my plinker. On a pally with no bow related feats or even good bow it is like 20-30 in damage. I’ll be hammering at this ship until the moon comes up. If it wasn’t for the fact that once I did that the ship took notice and fired it’s cannons again. I mean far. And I was hit with 4-5 shots and died fairly quickly.

I figured as long as that stuff is not balanced right there’s no point dragging in anything without evasion. I’d love to try it all out but this kind of stuff doesn’t appeal to me. Now I’m sure my tempest ranger would do well, evasion and bow and all that, but there’s something significantly broken about an encounter like that, that can fire these massive shots AND quickly over and over too.

Lets hope next build makes this a little bit more reasonable.

Other then that – the ships and buffs and how things work are very promising. Adding another source of middle of the epic questing XP, is not bad either. Some people gripe over the ML 24, but I think it’s just fine. I rather have items I can use for a few more levels than top level stuff that’ll sit in the bank while you ETR.

On a final note – Impossible demand, LoD and Rusted all adds about 5-7k per minute for the run. It’s well worth the investment of time since only LoD adds more of it (circa 10-12). I ran 6 quests earlier today; about 80 minutes worth, bagging 361k and about 4.5k per minute. The shortest took 4 minutes the longest about 25. This is of course not some type of dream numbers; if I did these 6 each day from 20-28 it would take me 18 days to complete an ETR.

That’s not exactly speedy Gonzales.

But sprinkle in some VON3, mirror darkly and what goes up with shorter runs and you got a range of 4 minutes to 40 to complete and a solid source of XP to get this to about 10-14 days. Which is just fine with me.

The illusion of big numbers

People know this from the good old red box days when we ran rusted and impossible demand until our eyes bled, souls escaped our bodies and we swore off gaming until we stopped dry heaving; it’s easy to get blinded by big numbers but sometimes short and rewarding gives you more bang for the bucks then long and huge XP finish.

Take VON3 – it used to be the gold standard for XP. 20-30 minute romp – close to 200k as a reward. Now it’s about 100k on normal and maybe 30-40k more on hard. We’re talking about mid to high 4k per minute. Not bad.

Now take Impossible demand and Rusted  – about 5 minutes worth of all hell breaking lose (ignoring all optionals) and on hard you’re looking at about 28k for each. Now you’re above 5k per minute. Sure – there’s a run. But VON3 have that troll gauntlet, so accurately speaking the run is somewhat trivial. Both Rusted and Impossible Demand are close to the entrances.

This all get very important the more premium you place on your time. If 2 hours is all you got then trying to fit in short 5k per minute quests can bring in the same amount of bacon as a few long ones. And it’s also a question of getting more bangs for the bucks out of XP potions. And if you’re gung ho on preserving bank, time and sanity – a few short quests leads to far less attrition then doing another 30 minute romp for a similar reward in time spent.

All of this is common sense of course. This is not a secret to players who plan their reincarnations, but it is an important wake up call now when ETR is the new vogue. Partly because hitting 6.6 mill with fewer quests to pick from is quite different from doing a third life on heroic. At least with heroic reincarnation there won’t be the same trite feeling of repetition since you can do almost the entire level up without doing the same quest twice. Try that with Epic.


Recording the numbers to be more efficient

So here I am, doing quests, hitting 23 and keeping score. I figured that the best way that I can do, is to record what I do and what it gives once and for all and get a better idea what quests I should do and which ones to avoid. Basically keeping track of name, XP, time it takes (about) and diff used. Some quests are harder to document and you can only get a good idea what to expect after doing it a good amount of time. Like VON 3. Compared to spinner – which will give you about the same each time.

The difference is of course that VON 3 have several red named random encounters – so you can’t expect all of them to show up every single time, you’ll be happy if you get half plus the permanent. Unlike spinner who don’t have rare encounter random bosses, requires 36 shards to complete and have 3 waves of things – all spawning the same amount of guardians (stuff that tries to stop you from killing spiders) and spiders. In other words if there’s such a thing as conquest bonus and you don’t get it by collecting 36 shards it’s very unlikely you will even try to get it.

Just to give you a realistic idea based on say using a 30% potion and running some on normal at first and then hard, I noticed a 40k increase in XP dependent on doing Von3 on normal compared to hard. But then again the second time around I didn’t use a rogue (hard) but did on normal (so that accounts for still a 8 percent difference). Plus I didn’t get the same rare in each instance. Of course running these quest a few time more on different diff settings will flesh out a better understanding. None of which is that terribly important.

If running VON3 on hard will give you almost 40k more XP, then I’ll run it on hard. If it’s lower than that I might just skip it – after all harder means slightly more time and time is as much enemy of your goals as lower base XP. Below is some of the data. Not all I’ve run so far but a sample. I did repeat some stuff (because the XP is generally good for the time it takes to complete them) and others are just trial and errors in finding the right type of quest with the time it takes to complete. A lot of them were never run on normal before. Like the first Von3 – so that accounts for 25% more XP. The second VON3 is a normal run without the first time bonus so now we’re talking about closer to what to expect. And the third time is on hard without first time bonus. No streak involved (since this is my second ETR on my sorc).

So what’s the easy to digest take away? Most end quest delivers better XP – as you can see from Battle for Eveningstar, Spinner, Into the Deep and portal opens (to name a few), but there are some that shouldn’t be ignored because it seems like ‘less XP’. Like LoD. LoD is 10-15 minutes tops, unless you also clear the rooms and purify those shrines. So that’s about 4k per minute.

Compare that to Beyond the Rift and it looks like lots more, but now you’re looking at say 20-30 minutes. (both on normal for comparison). Split the difference in time, say 25 minutes and you’re looking at about 3k.

Rusted in comparison can be done very briefly by skilling all optionals and basically (with a caster) means the time it takes to run to weapon rack, throw ddoor, destroy weapon, ddoor back and then hit the gong. Spend the 20 second or whatever for the boss to drop down and unload. Without optionals you still talk about the 20k something and a good 4-5k per minute.

And that is why ‘time’ is always of the essence. I set 30 minutes tops as a goal for myself. I don’t want to do quests that eat too much time. And doing quick quests that require very little time to complete and hit you with 20k something in XP can be just as good as doing a 30 minute quest for 50 something, if not better. Like Impossible demand, unquite graves, rusted and LoD, compared to Beyond the rift, trackers track, devils assault or anything else that provide artificial time sinks that almost guarantee that you will take a certain amount of time. Like Devils Assault. No matter how quick you kill each wave, you still have to wait x amount of time for the next to pop up.

Unlike rusted where the run time to the weapons rack and back are about the only time sink you’ll end up facing. If you can ddoor you have more or less made it trivial.

By the end of this I hope to be able to get a good understanding of what to expect. Roughly, so I can more easily get an idea what 2 hours of game time here and there means to my progress compare to sitting down, randomly pick something to run ‘just because of it’ even if that’s more fun than doing the same high xp stuff over and over.

That is unfortunately what unlocking destinies and doing ETRs have ended up becoming. Hopefully E3BC can add a new wrinkle to this just to break things up a little.

Von3 127044
B for Eveningstar 53925
Beyond the rift 73120
Impossible demand 36663
Unquite graves 31575
Von3 99999
Lord of Dust 49401
Rusted blades 41116
broken chains 53156
Death Undone 44158
Portal opens 56418
Into the Deep 81672
Spinner` 68590
Devils assault 118801

Why I don’t care about 3BC but might like E3BC

I’ve run this pack maybe once or twice. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but for a level 5-7 pack you’re better off sticking to city core ones – less running and quicker completion. That’s the primary failing of this pack. In order to do them you need to run the wilderness, to the quest entrance and do the quest. That sounds innocous enough and no different than some other quests. But at level 5 or so it’s painful. Partly because you don’t have 30% striding. Plus a lot of these have that type of thing to them that I don’t care for. Puzzles. Not early on. Some people love that stuff. I don’t – and not at level 5. When I reincarnate I want to get stuff done and move on. And this level range is fleeting enough.

Puzzles and mechanics are for higher level, when you can step back and appreciate it. At level 5 I’m trying to contend with the fact that walking up stairs seems to be faster then jumping up them (meaning very bad jump score). It’s not a ‘bad’ or ugly wilderness. It’s just a little bit to big for comfort and for such early levels. And you’re not really going to find a similar wilderness at that level range. Which makes it even more painful.

So why is it that 3BC seems so intolerable and E3BC is? Hard to say but I think the idea of teleporting to the entrance of quests sort of appeal to me. And the level range is the same. Not the 5-7, but mid 20’s. I never cared for that split but that’s part of the legacy of making packs when the cap was much lower. Plus mechanically I find the idea of fighting pirate ships as monster interesting. I like that idea. Once you break into Epic with the type of gear you have collected, running at full speed, it’s easier to appreciate some stuff. It’s not like a romp to a nearby quest will take that long. That’s completely different at 5. Plus E3BC is not entering a very quest crowded space. Unlike heroic questing that have a lull around 12-14 (at least anything I’d like to play) but seems to have enough below 12 and above 15.

Right now a level 24-25 quest range will work for you as you level up from 20 and above 25 too. Much needed additional XP. Provided of course that mechanically the quests doesn’t bog down with silly stuff. I haven’t checked out all of them on lam but I’m trying to save my expectations until live. I’ve noticed that if I run content on lam I don’t really have that ‘wow this is cool’ feeling live. I don’t mind checking out ships and such and the new amenities, but I prefer to keep my question cherry intact.

Why I don’t care about Assault on Splinterskull but still runs it

This is a fairly long chain. Most of the time it’ll push an hour all together. It’s also one of these packs where it starts at one level and ends 2-3 levels higher. Sure, you can still do it, say around 4-5 and end the level 7 final quest without coming back, but I wish Turbine would redo these chains so they all have the same ML – maybe spark some more interest in them.

That’s obviously not the greatest issue with it. First – it’s monotonous. This is not a quest chain with a lot of variety. Sure – the wilderness run is pretty interesting with a beautiful wilderness area that feels very dense and lots of vegetation. But once you hit the first 3 quests you realize that this is not so much an Assault as it is a return too. As every single quest in the chain will have you go into the same area over and over and a little deeper but still from point A to point B, C, D and always from the front gate.

Clearly a few of these quests could be consolidated into 2-3. Because I don’t see why you first have to go in, kill a bunch, then out, report and then go in, free prisoners, then go back, report, then go in…
Meanwhile repeating the same events over and over. Clearly the hobgoblins haven’t learned anything because by the third of the fourth time you assume they’d be all there waiting for you with a few dozen or so in ambush. But clearly they’re not that smart.

There are some optionals, like a pit with stuff, like an island in a cave or whatever. Some room you can unlock and destroy boxes in or even a locked side room with a chest each time etc. But you don’t want to do them. Because it would be a distraction and take more time and once you’re 4 quests deep into doing the same I don’t feel like exploring. It’s a waste of time, not all that good on XP and there’s like 5 more quests in the chain to do.

At best this should be 4-5 quests, maybe even just 4. Consolidate some of the areas for less runs and make it snappier. Sure, most of these parts are not long, but doing the same short one after another is not going to change that it doesn’t make sense going in over and over against an enemy that apparently doesn’t learn after the 5th time that you’re definitely coming back.

So why do it? Because of this item. Visor of the Flesh Render Guards – Goggles: Death Ward (1/rest). The only death ward clicky in the came. Sure, there’s an epic item that you can make (oh lol – yeah try to get that one done within 20 runs of demonqueen). It’s only 7 minutes, but beggers can’t be choosers and it’s not unique so you can carry more than one.

Why I don’t really care for A Man Named Baudry Cartamon

It’s only 3 quests located in the harbor. They’re not very long, not very hard and you can do them in less then 30 minutes (all together). But they’re boring. I think most of it is because there’s no variety. You got lots of kobolds, some dogs and some bugbears. In one you defend a big box. Assailed from all directions by kobolds. In the quest your job is to go in and break boxes. There’s one enemy critter – a possible red named shaman. And lots of boxes. And a timer. Apparently you only got so much time to break these boxes.

In the third and final you have to go back into the same area as the second quest and kill more kobolds. And some dogs. And some bugbears. And there’s also a possible enemy Shaman. And kobolds. Not all quest chains can be gold and not all quests are great. Like Sharn – most of them are fine, some of them – like the bank one – is meh. This chain is just bad straight through. But I do it for most part on each life because it’s quick, not very complicated and they’re located in the harbor. It’s one of those things you do as part of reincarnation just to get it done and over with.

Why I oddly enough like The sharn Syndicate

This one is strange to me. I think I like the sharn syndicate because it’s fairly brief, have a set of diverse quests and okay XP. It’s not all gravy, but most of the stuff is interesting and brief enough if they’re not.

You’ll encounter these quests around 4 and it’ll be done in about an hour (all of it). There is some stuff that might kill you outright but other than traps you should be fine. The final quests is kind of fun because you start out killing the boss, then it’s hirelings and finally escape – a sorta reversal of the usual quest paradigm with end boss, but the gauntlet will probably test you more than the boss fight.

The 2 hardest part in this chain is when you liberate a family. It fails if one dies and if you don’t realize that you need to undo all traps first these family members will happily run into said traps as the flee. At level and Elite the first encounter can be quite vicious – lots of caster types. And without trap undoing it can hurt. Especially by trying to reign in on the running in circles family.

Another one have you remove items from pedestals. Each one comes with an elemental trap that will bye bye you without evasion or such. Even with ship resist. It hits hard. But other then that the quest itself is innocuous. All in all it’ll be a quick romp through several diverse quests, lots of traps and the longest quest will be the end quest, with it’s reverse slaying of boss first to run to the end. Thank God it’s not an escort mission.

Why I like The Seal of Shan-To-Kor

The Seal of Shan-To-Kor used to be the only source of a ML 1 feather falling item. But that’s not true anymore; anyone with a little crafting skills can make one. But that was not the only reason why people ran it. First off it’s a good 30-45 minute romp through all of them and they can be done one after another without reporting back or talking to someone else. One segment leads to the other (the closest one would be the 4 different chained quests in House of D where you start in one section of the sewer and 4 quests later pops out somewhere else).

The XP is excellent, some of the traps are among the most vicious for the level and it used to be a fairly hard encounter before a lot of the current changes. Some of it will change and perhaps add a slight challenge back to it, since boats will no longer have 30 resist, but max guild 15 and only 5 at the level of this pack.

But going back to this chain; first off I like the fact that you’re not wasting time running to NPCs to get the next quest. I love the fact that there are varied encounters and optionals that provide okay amount of XP plus loot. I like the fact that most of the goblins are not pushovers and can hit pretty hard. And the different segments will start out with kobolds, then undead, some spiders and goblins and then ogre and finally a earth elemental/guardian thingy. In fact by the time you get to the real end fight you will see everything from underground villages to cave systems and beyond. And the entire experience feels diverse, treacherous and like a perfect exploration. And not bad in 30 minutes or so. When I popped out of this quest the first time I felt like I’ve read a good book.

There are few other chains, other than MAYBE waterworks that adds this kind of concept. And I wish there were more chains that started somewhere and ended 4-5 quests down somewhere else. True, you do have to set aside the time to do it. Back in the day it was an hour plus run – but now it can be as low as 30 minutes to 45. In fact to me this is a much better format than splinterskull. It’s an investigation that takes you from A, to B, to C, to D. And it’s an excellent continuing after waterworks since it’s hinted to it when you do the final quest in the waterworks chain.

This is always a must for me; not only for the good XP or some really okay early gear but mostly because of a one of a kind experience unlike a lot of other chains in DDO. It’s definitely worth the trip once in each reincarnation or new toons life.

Why I don’t like The Catacombs

There are some quests I like (individually within packs and chains) and some I don’t like. In fact there are entire chains and packs where most quests are boring but for some reason the pack itself as a whole is nice. And a lot of that can be because of the XP or gear or because it’s fast despite the monotonous quests. And others just feel straight boring, no matter how you try.

Like the catacombs.

I usually skip this one. Unless I’m on my third life and just want to torture myself through it. First, this is a chain of not so long quests, in the 3-5 range (dependent on difficulty). There’s only really one challenging one and that’s the end quest – it can get hairy when the wraith pops out and the skellie minion starts blasting away; but other then that it’ll be hordes and hordes of skellies, some spiders, some zombies and other undead critters. I think the reason why I don’t like it, is because of the silly run back and forth and report mechanic. That along with returning to a similar place in the story just to do something a little different. You’ll find that in other chains as well, but here it’s like, do one thing, report back to boss, then continue in the same place but go deeper, then report back etc.

All in all half of them seems to be in one spot and the other half in another. Then a brief gauntlet up stairs to fight more hordes of skellies, zombies and ghouls and then the final end. This is of course dreadful for melee without a good skellie beater and it can be atrocious on a caster because of all the critters you have to fight. Personally I would combine a few of the quest to be part of the same investigation. That would cut down on the sameness. And also cut down on the running back to report. That would sharpen the time sink a little and remove the redundant feeling. Maybe there’s nothing that can be done about the sameness of critters but it wouldn’t hurt by perhaps figure out a few different cool encounters in all of it. It’s ironic then that I bought the pack; back when they released it together with a level 3 gold hireling. For 10 bucks. I think it was a good buy just to have an early hireling, but I still don’t like or play the pack much.

Weekend May 19th

I ended up planning to finish off the last level on my Pally over the entire weekend, but was done by noon Saturday. Seems when I finally decided to check what type of XP I could expect from some quests and run the big payouts, I capped a lot quicker then expected. That allowed me to get a fully upgraded shadow docent for him, the one with the extra DR and it was nice to join a terrific group of people to do both raids. I ended up doing Shadow twice on my Pally, and red dragons once and then twice on my sorc for the red dragons. All in all very quick succession and entirely enjoyable.

I then decided (since I capped my Pally a lot quicker then expected) to ETR my sorc. Figured I could use a little bit more critical spell lore. This time around I will list the quests I’m doing and figure out what XP I’m getting from them. It’s time to get efficient if I’m going to do this more often. No point running around doing random quests and such if I at least want to triple stack some of the destinies before I get tired and give that up. Plus it allows me to continue doing something in DDO until they release more end cap stuff. I know U22 is E3BC but after that we’re talking level 30 and some real high end stuff.

My hope is to take about 2-3 weeks top for the ETR, if I stick to a regiment of quests then run my Pally in some raids just to not get to bored by it. Eventually I want to get the colors of the queen triple stacked as well for both my Pally and Sorc and I can also get a triple stack of doublestrike for my Pally. I don’t mind continue using Divine crusade, I like it – but the truth is that divine past life stuff are bad. Sure, I could get the one that gives positive energy for some additional HP per sacred ground tick – but it’s not the same as more double strike or even colors of the queen. That was is sure though. Looks like this will be a divine past life on the Pally since I just don’t have the heart to run things at cap to hit 6mill Karma. One of the downside of the silly system.

I also played some Warframe. I thought I had an idea what the mods were about and in a way I do, but it’s also a confusing system – especially those special powers. It’s very poorly mapped. I especially hate hacking consoles, the feature is just to inaccurate when you only have so long to get the pattern done.

And as always played Dungeon Keeper. The game is getting boring. I have zero incentive to play anything since I don’t want to raid other dungeons and the target for building or unlocking anything are in the 2, 3 mill of any material and my dungeons get raided a lot quicker then I can make it. It doesn’t really matter what I do. The game is created for others to raid; playing it any other way is pointless. And it’s just not what I thought it would be. Nor that you could steal people resources in a way that make it impossible to progress without buying boosts or lockdowns. If you’re looking to play a game on the phone now and then – avoid this one. It starts how innocuous enough but sooner or later you’ll hit that wall that says ‘pay up’.