Author Archives: patang01

Red Fen – Dragonborn life 3

Several things have happened since I last wrote; I have a job. I have a new place (the move could fill a novel – probably the most painful experience I have ever had), 3 new monitors and a new graphic card.

I now permanently run DDO on 5760×1080. With 3 24″ curved monitors on a triple monitor stand – it looks superb. I also play World of Tanks with that configuration but sometimes it crashes. Causing me to have to reboot the system (hard).

I am currently running up my third Dragonborn life – reaper 1 mostly. Some quests are really tough; however the older are manageable – as long as you don’t have 3 reapers showing up at the same time. Tend to spoil the party; especially if you’re playing an escort type mission.

I’m currently at 12. So basically I’ve done most chains – the latest being Red Fen and before that Threnal. I really don’t know why I do Threnal; sure part of it has to do with making the 5% XP augment. But it is not a very rewarding experience and perhaps some of the most boring quests. By contrast you can easily bring home about 15k to 20k XP per Red Fen quest, where as longer and more painfully tedious Threnal quests only yield 15k max, many just 3-6k.

I like Dragonborn. I didn’t very much care for playing it as sorc (not because of Dragonborn mind you; just Sorc on reaper was painful). Now with the Arti changes coming out I’m eager to run a few Gnome ones.

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Left the Heavens and entered the Sands

I left 12 behind this Sunday and entered the Sands finishing the undead side – netting about 40k doing the big one, in what seemed like an hour long endeavor. I must say however that I had more intense fun doing the other 2 quests in the area since for some darn reason one of them were infested with reapers coming around corners, with shambling zombies, ghouls and the odd Mummy.

It was awesome. At 13 you won’t have quite an arsenal by Warlock standard, but I fired how half a blue bar worth of web and black tentacles and managed to melt a bunch of zombies in well aimed acid breath attacks.

The Wiz king was more of a hamster chase really; trying to make the hireling rogue to undo traps before the rest ran through all of them. Not to mentioned drop through floors and all manners of ways to make stupid hirelings go poof.

Wiz King of course is nothing compared to the burning city and Chains of Flame – not only for the idiotic run to it, but also the long boring run to the top of the city once you’re inside the quest. Altho I might not get as much XP as Wiz King, I’m fairly sure with the 2 side quests I have still to do – Maraud the Mines and Spawn of Vulkoor, and the third main quest – And offering of Blood, I will most likely finish 13. But I’m not exactly excited about it.

Partly because Menechtarun for all it’s slayer potential – is a pretty time consuming area to explore.

Into the Red Fen

I’ve come to appreciate every series and pack of quests that allows me to maximize hirelings for a 2 or so hour stint. Such as Red Fen. Even if I in the end, I end up finishing the level doing something else. Like now – level 11; doing level 9 (Normal) quests on Reaper 1.

It’s a whole new interesting ball game doing Reaper 1. A little tougher than Elite, but not dramatically – with the added difficulty of numerous champions and reapers. Such as when I did one of the red fen quests and ran around a corner just to find 3 reapers.

And you can still die; normally (and dependent on difficulty) I always felt that some deaths are dumb. Such as random traps. I hate it in ToEE and Slavers. Because it’s not just 1 or 2, it is entire corridors. Back in the day when you almost required rogues to do traps you had an idea and the rogue usually communicated traps to you. With random floor traps you simply end up running through them without a rogues ability to sense them.

Anyways; safe to say – I find random stupid features like that annoying. They don’t add an element of danger – just an element of nuisance. Most of them are not cool, there is no logic behind them (after all, what is so good about a corridor of traps when you as a player can use them to make entire mobs run through them and waste their lives?).

I can just imagine the conversation.

‘So you’re telling me that the reason they destroyed our slavers operation was because you idiots added traps everywhere and then ran through them yourself?’

Anyways – what I like about Reaper 1 (or any other of the repeater difficulty levels) is that you yourself decide to add a ‘randomness’ to the existing quest you know by heart. You don’t know what type of champion and what reaper will appear. That was especially fun in the end quest of the Red Fen, with me slowly jumping off ledges under the ocean and reapers ‘teleporting’ to my last floating position under the sea etc.

It felt so appropriately epic that I, unlike other Red Fen completions, decided to explore the entire area and finishing all the optionals. Both in the wilderness and the final quest.

Now it’s onto completing 11. I do wish I had more green steel on this guy. I truly regret that I didn’t have more opportunity to run and make at least a good con op when I had the chance.

A Dark Stormy night

I like Dragonborn.

An ideal character for caster or I can even imagine Pally. I like the look, the rich racial choices and the combination of its racial enhancements and things like spell casting.

I also like the idea of racial reincarnation, but I really think they missed the mark it being the only thing and not combined with say heroic reincarnation.

Lets put it like this; when you do a Iconic reincarnation you also get the heroic past life. The main difference is that you start at 15 and have to go to 30. Doing a Iconic reincarnations don’t give you an Epic reincarnation but it does give you the Heroic past life as well as the Iconic past life.

It’s this type of illogical thinking that makes DDO take one step forward (combining effects because it makes sense) and 2 steps back (because it just is).

What is a racial reincarnation. Well, it’s just LIKE a heroic reincarnation but never mind the class choice – just what race it is.

Please pretty please. Consistency. Just don’t create something because, it does absolutely no harm adding a class based past life to what will be a mind numbing bunch of runs anyways. One of the few reasons I ever bothered doing a bunch of Iconic reincarnations was because I also got the Heroic past life so it didn’t feel like I was entirely wasting my time.

Dragon-re-born

I’m back. I’ve been back. But only sporadically. So many things have happened since I lost my job, fixed up the house to sell, and now found another job, and still looking to sell the house.

Some days and weekends simply fly by in a blur.

But here I am; level 6 Dragonborn Warlock. Took my level 30 Warlock and did a epic reincarnation to get to level 20 and get an epic past life – then racial reincarnation to a Dragonborn. I already have 3 deep gnome under the belt and tons of acid based items (played a acid based Sorc for the longest time) so I naturally created an acid based Dragonborn warlock.

It’ll be a little different – it takes a lot of racial enhancement points to get the good stuff from it. I counted roughly 25. That means a lot less on the Warlock side. I don’t know how that’ll play out yet. You can potentially do a total of 10 racial points, so that would help a lot if I want to stay Dragonborn Warlock. And it is a total of 30 racial reincarnation. That’s quite a few. However it does mean +2 extra Charisma and +2 extra Con too (among others). So more HP and Charisma in the end.

I’d love to do the same with my Gnome Wiz. Both Dragonborn and Gnome have a lot of racial features that seem interesting. And adding those 10 racial points means saving 10 points for the enhancement trees. In my Wiz case that would mean an overall stronger palemaster investment.

Or for my Warlock that would means the possibility of deep investments in the trees and a solid racial.

But this could also mean a very good sorc (something I will try out in my next racial reincarnation. I played an acid based one for quite some time and later on did an air savant. Both added a lot of pain to the bottom line. It’s hard to say which one I liked the most; acid provides a solid acid blast, but it’s conjuration based. That makes for weird investments when so much else is evocation. On the other hand my air savant had much better synergy with evocation. Either way; having a couple of solid SLAs together with a breath attach will do a lot of damage.

But realistically, as much as I’d like several of my main toons to have 10 more racial points to use, the prospect isn’t all that enticing. That’s 30 racial reincarnations. Now if racial and true worked in tandem, just as iconic and true does, I would be more inclined to do it.

Such as offering both the past life and the racial. Just as you get a heroic past life with your iconic past life.

To me it seems silly to a fault that they’re separate, when iconic and heroic past life isn’t.

I’m sure there are a lot of people just like me who haven’t done a completionist train yet and wish the could do so while working on racial reincarnation.

A farewell song to the sky

There is winter in the air. Naked trees accuse the sky with their empty crowns. The wind, once the encore of a thousands celebrating whispers, now an empty howl. Leafs rustling in the wind. Like dry tumble weeds curled up into hard shells as they skitter across the bitter struck road.

Inside the heat blows like gods breath through vents. Inside a Saturdays microbial step towards a in person interview for a job on Monday and the bustle of uncluttering a home that needs to be downsized feels frail, fraught and exhausted. So little time – so many grand things to do, so many pieces of the same puzzle to fit into place.

——

I’m inside the prison again. I’m back, just one or two quests at the time before the guilt of not doing everything that I can grips me. A Gargoyle sweeps the burning sky as I watch it pass high above. I’m on my way to the 2nd quest out of 5. In the order I always take them. I stop for a brief movement trying so very hard to let reality pass behind the comfort of all those years I used to spend questing in DDO.

Now it’s time I steal away from all the things that has to be done. The death aura with it’s purple sickening sound lulls me. I move again – eager to force my mind off the constant dull stab of emotions in my gut.

——

It’s Saturday. Barely Midnight. I’m finally done with all five quests in Wheloon.

I can hear the fans hum in my computer. I watch the fingers dance across the keyboard turning my inner turmoil into words. I used to have to conjure my best to put words into emotions. Now that is all I am. Dark circles under my eyes. Haunted feeling inside.

So much have happened in so little time. Cubs won after 108 years. I lost my job. The election drubbed me as I felt like I had already been hit enough. My first over the phone interview left me with a pounding head ache and the second left me feel relieved and hopeful inside.

Each day I pick away at the house; clean here, clean there and it still feels like so much is left. Almost thanksgiving and the market for selling a house in a reasonable time is entering the winter months.

Time.

A luxury I once sacrificed at the altar of escaping reality between 6 and 9 PM is now an ever stampeding herd of minutes.

I tell myself that there are those that are far worse off. And it’s true. It’s just not as comforting as it used to be. But I try to humble myself. Over and over.

I hope one day that I keep normalize everything and be back, without a moments though in what the next day will bring. Only the many goals I have in mind for DDO.

The choice I never got to make

What I will tell you breaks the routine of ejecting you from DDO and into the reality of now.

It’s about me. Not me playing or asking people to vote. Not me talking about mechanics, upcoming updates, horrible experienced and good/bad turns in this aging MMO.

It’s about me. Unvarnished reality pealing of any pretense I had of stability and I don’t know how to tell this – unless I also make it about DDO in parts and life in average.

I’ve been extraordinary fortunate in so many aspects of my life. Compared to others. Despite personal tragedies and happenstance. Like my first pre teen years. Watching my dad slide into alcoholism and how that broke our family part. Yet remember some of the greatest moments in my life with everlasting fondness – shaped by us going to staying the entire summer at my grandparents cabin without indoor plumbing and electricity. Good sweet late 70’s and early 80’s.

Fishing, exploring, sensing, feeling and observing. When you strip all our distractions away there are entire worlds around us screaming for attention.

What I will list now might seem awful compressive. Or even weirdly odd in correlation. Abstract even. Maybe even dysfunctional – but I will tell you a secret. The true notion of despair and hope is to find that one thing – that kernel of moment that strips away depression, hopelessness and anguish.

My dads alcoholism because a distant threat of discord with the many months exploring woods, fishing and sitting bored under a screened in porch waiting for the rain to stop.

My moms breast cancer became a adolescent hurdle that propelled me from immaturity to instant young adulthood. Her death; shattering my fragile hope of redeeming the best part of our family – where my sister fled the situation at 16, leaving me alone as my dad struggled to take the trips to the far off University town to see my mom. Until she died. He came on the very same day I entered winter break, nursing a bottle of bathing salt for my mom so when she came home over Christmas she could enjoy a hot relaxing bath and the fragrance I had picked out, out of many choices. Lilac I do believe.

He looked at me and I knew what he was about to tell me; what I’ve always known he would tell me but purged out of the center of my grief to never give into the deep melancholy of being an isolated nerd. ‘Mom is dead’.

I can tell you what happened after that, but it’s not dissimilar from anyone elses experience. But what remains with me from those days is that when I saw her coffin in church, all I could think about was how tiny it was.

And so – the best person in the world. The kindess person in the world. One that knew my tender heart, my fears when my dad got drunk. The one who protected me in our apartments small bathroom when dad was outside beating a fist sized hole in the wall – were gone.

Even to this day I get a solid painful lump in my throat thinking about it and the horizon of my eyes glistens with held back tears.

My dad did get sober. He had to. But my teenage years ended up being a lost chapter in a way that have shaped my future. Luckily, that all changed when I was about 17 and I met a bunch of guys into roll playing games. Pen and paper and also the first computer game on my future 8086, Pool of Radiance.

These years were divine, however fleeting. Playing almost every day and weekend. A large bunch of nerds called the ‘Black Ducks’. First we joined every nearby gathering. Winning top position in many different pen and paper roll playing events. And finally helped host local ones as well as DM larger.

Until college split us apart as well as compulsory Military Service. Once we tried to come back together again – years later – the core group was split and people lived all over Sweden and some started getting into serious relationships.

I left in 1999 – I was studying Contemporary History at the time. I loved it. It married philosophy with movement history. But once I got hooked on the cheap and extensive University network that allowed me to strike out in the emerging and expanding internet – I met a person in USA (online) that would eventually cause me to drop everything, give into an impulse stronger than self-preservation (love) and move to Illinois.

I’m not going to bore you with ‘regular Joe life and kids’. From 1999 until the tail end of 2014 things were just fine. Other then the regular bump in the road and two teen age step sons (and one daughter getting awfully close) life was mundane, steady and unusual.

Things changed somewhat with my sons leaving the house. One after one they all struck out own their own, leaving a fairly empty house with 4 bed rooms and 3 baths. And a big yard that was left undone since I didn’t have time and mental fortitude and the work the boys always did, lingered on for weeks. The summer of 2015 felt just like that – we planted some flowers and did the lawn now and then, but the weeds grew thick here and there and I just plowed through it in a haze.

Then a mild winter followed a regular spring after that and a hot long summer with regular rain and a lot of humidity. And the weeds grew thicker.

I tried to maintain it, but I was Monday to Friday with a short weekend that felt like someone slapped me in the face with it and it was over. There was also things brewing in paradise as the realization that we could no longer afford to maintain a house and the mortgage payment and everything felt like a trap.

Until November 4th.

I’m sure we all remember some dates. Like 9/11. I sat there watching the TV in our old townhouse – about to leave for work and I watched it as it happened. I called my wife, working at the local bank and explain to her what was going on.

November 4th followed a dreadful November 1st. I sat through hearing my coworker getting fired early on in the morning. 2 days later after some real life unrelated drama, I had to sit through it myself. I already knew it was happening. I got the meeting invite scheduled for 9AM that day – the same as my coworker got 2 days earlier.

I tried to contact my remote manager but she refused to answer. I don’t blame her. This was out of her hands and she already had to deal with the fact that her old team was breaking apart, knowing how their lives would be impacted from it.

It’s hard to fool me. It’s much a curse as it is a benefit to me. And those 2 hours early in the morning were agonizing. I cleaned out my desk. Stuffed 13 years of memories and experiences in 4 plastic bags. And once I was done with that, rolled my thumbs for 30 more minutes before finding an empty office to séance the final breath of my career with that company.

I did it for a few reasons; maybe save my face from having others hear my voice as it waivered. But also so my last coworker in the office; the survivor of the purge, didn’t have to suffer the indignity of trying to ignore what transpired.

My boss was in pieces and I told her it was okay. The HR lady tried to give me the corporate spiel about ‘just business and realignment’ and I cut her short and asked her to please just cut to the paperwork portion and anything I had to sign etc. She was frustrated and tried to regain poise, but it was clear that I had interrupted her prepared speech she had given so many before me.

In the end the convulsive blood loss for my former company is probably going to be as large as it was back in 2007-2008 when it was tethering on the brink of bankruptcy. I survived those days; when I was hauled in early in the morning with the only other survivor and we were told that the axe was coming down. And we had to sit there as the others came in, was marched into the office where the same person who told us we had survived, let each and one of them go.

My manager and 2 others vanished into the mist that day. I think it was around the same timeframe as I’m now in. Before Thanksgiving and Christmas in the most horrifying moment of my life.

I’m not going to bore you with realities here. It’s probably familiar to some. But one consequence of it all, is the immediate cancelling of my VIP sub on mine and my wife’s account. It runs out in the end of December and after that It’s probably going to be the end of an era.

I remember being 15-16 years old driving out to my grandparents old Cabin. My mom was dead and shortly thereafter my granddad died from stomach cancer. Maybe a year later. My grandmother wasn’t there. The wind struck a cord through a memory filled era of the minds echoing labyrinths.

The empty spot where my uncle used to park his RV so they could spend a few weeks per summer with me. I loved that time.

The 2 cabins – the main now shuttered as my grandmother didn’t have the time and strength to be there as often and the smaller, that my dad built so we could spend time there. Time; just a few short years later had robbed this place of so much life.

I took the row boat out for a final homage to my fishing days. I sat out there in my favorite spot where I used to fish for bass and northern pike. I really didn’t catch much because it was the wrong time of day and the lake was a little bit to rough. But I sat there and watched the lakefront of the cabin and realized that it was now robbed of all vitality and this was the final day of a gone era.

I had grown up. Way to fast after my moms death and it felt like the magic time that had sustained me when it got rough with my dads drinking and my parents fighting was done giving me strength.

Whatever forces that had gathered to give me that bright light in the end of the tunnel had now drained from the area and I was alone to find new ways to make each dark moment something special.

And so there I was. Outside the office. The sun chasing away frozen shadows – close to 10AM and I was sitting down in my car, watching the façade of the office I had worked in for 13 years a final time, before driving away.

I know every bend and every outlet. I know the rough spots and the newly maintained. I know the radio shows that plays at what time and now when I woke up this morning I didn’t have to plow the headlights through the early morning dark as the days grow shorter.

I could wake up, take my daughter to school. And realize that I don’t have the magic of that fishing trip to allow me to transition my childhood to unknown adulthood.

The scary part about adult life is that you can’t take a summer to find yourself again. You have to constantly re-find every lost moment and reel back and forth until you find stable ground.

Now Monday, the worst day in a workday have become the first day when I’m not. A day of dread. And not for how quick it bridged the weekend, but how complicated each day will be from now.

DDO might be over for me. Not because it finally broke me and I felt that I had that final glance from the lake. But because I never got there and never experienced that. Because I never got to say farewell and couldn’t escape reality by so effortlessly walk down to my den and turn my computer on.

Now my computer is an ever reminding tool of having to find another good job. It’s work now. Or rather a search for work. I always thought that my life was to watch myself gray and wrinkle while weekends flew by.

Now my life is reinventing when I last wanted or expected it. And I still feel like I’m to old for this shit.