31 December 2011

Extraplaner Mining: Buying Time? Soloed it!

I broke down and purchased the Cannith Challenges update to DDO about a week ago. This did a number of things for me:

1- I could toss all those ridiculous single tokens for missions and clear up almost an entire tab of inventory.

2- Opened up the challenges for me to explore on a whim.

3- Gave me a new goal in life: The level 16 version of The Cloak of Flames. Daddy has want.

To earn the Cloak of Flames I need 600 jade scorpions, 600 mephit wings, and 600 Arcanaloth Scrolls. To translate that further, to earn the cloak of flames I need to beat the Lava Caves: Colossal Crystals, Extraplaner Mining: Buying Time, and Extraplaner Mining: Labor Shortage Challenges a bunch of times.

Basically when I'm not playing with the Team Spode static group, I'm soloing. I'm not one to hang with the guildies or PUG a lot. Personally I'd rather solo unless I have a bunch of friends online that I know and trust (yeah, that's saying a lot for my guild isn't it--Hey! They supply me with guild ship buffs and I supply them with Favor . . . it's a relationship built on practicality more than love).

I'm happy to say that I've been perfecting my solo skillz with Lava Caves: Colossal Crystals since the last time I posted about it. I've got it down now where I don't need to purchase extra hirelings. I just simply park my cleric at the teleporter spot and run off to kill stuff on my own. I've almost got it to the point where I can get two progenitor crystals, but man is that tough. I haven't quite made that mental breakthrough yet. When I do though, you'll hear about it here.

The next challenge I've been soloing is Extraplaner Mining: Buying Time. I'm going to say this challenge is about 10 times easier than Colossal Crystals . . . and about 10 times more profitable. I usually leave this instance with two supply chests in my inventory and about 5,000 exp richer for my efforts, and this is playing on the level 12 and 13 difficulty when I'm level 17!

Here's how I do it:

1- zone into the instance and summon my level 17 cleric. I immediately buff myself and my cleric as much as I can.

2- I begin gathering up all the torches except for the one in the middle and the one leading off to the left.

3- I purchase extra time from the foreman and as many torches as are available from the crystals my kobolds have already farmed.

4- kill the first "incoming" wave. (doesn't take long)

5- begin by laying down my torch path to the left. Eventually my path looks a little like this:

6- I lay down the first five torches in building my eventual pathway and then run back to the entrance.

7- Kill the next incoming wave. After this, I usually buy additional time and more torches, extra kobolds, and kobold barrels.

8- I run back and lay down the next five torches in building my eventual pathway (laying down extra barrels if I have them and killing all the baddies in my pathway as well) and then run back to the entrance.

9- Kill the next incoming wave. (If I can, I buy even more additional time even though this kills one of the star objectives I'm going for).

10- At this point, you should have made your quota, and I just stay put for the next incoming wave because it's usually a horrible named that will just tear the kobolds apart . . . and surprise surprise, she looks like an old familiar foe of Team Spode!

11- For my final HOORAH I drag my cleric along with me and finish up my path. About 33% percent of the time, there will be a spirit dragon in the room I went toward. I summon up my efreeti buddy and we all lay the smack down on the dragon.

12- By this point my mana is usually at empty and I'm relying on Echoes of power for damage. Kobolds will start to die back at the entrance and time will tick down to 0:00 and the challenge will complete. Congratulations, time to profit and do it all over again.

I really like this challenge. I've heard some negativity about them, but this particular challenge isn't one I'd gripe about. It rocks in fact.

Let me know if you have any extra hints or tips on this instance, and I'll update this post with them.


Happy Dueling!

27 December 2011

Bursting Yaulthoon's Harbinger of Madness Bubble

Last night was a lot of fun. Team Spode was warned about the final boss in the "In the Flesh" quest by Ekeiram, and definitely Yaulthoon is not an easy fight . . . even on normal mode, but Team Spode would not be deterred! Even if we went an hour OT on our regular playing time.

The night started out pretty mellow. We just needed to help Tony finish up the Sinister Storage quest since for some reason he didn't get flagged as completing that quest last week. Basically this quest asks you to defeat waves of "sinister" Xoriat baddies as they flood into a storage room. Unlike the good ol' Protect Baudry's Interests level 2 quest, there's no giant crate of supplies to protect. This is just straight up slaughter as you wipe out all the Thraak Hounds, Mind Flayer Mages, and creepy Taken as you can until Mahlurat (a flesh-render of the nastier variety) shows up.

There was nothing much to report from this quest other than Team Spode was victorious! A couple Staffs of Fleshshaping dropped for us. MAN, so upset the Staff of Fleshshaping has the same look as my Master Transmuter's Staff. Ahhh well. :)

Compared to Spode's new sword, the INSANITY, the looks of my meager weapon is definitely nothing to get excited about. Here's a short exchange from last night where we discuss the size of Spode's sword.

In the Flesh is a great instance and definitely an epic ending to the Harbinger of Madness quest series. How often do you get to be trapped in a mind flayer's mind, being blasted with Psyionics in DDO? I'm not sure, but I think I'll put this experience down as "unique" to the game.

Since I finally figured out that Fraps was the answer to my problem of not being able to record what I'm saying while videoing AND since I'm in kind of a video mood today, I'll just let the combat video speak for itself. (need to turn down the pick up of my headset mic so that I'm not subjecting people to the background sounds of my real life home LOL)

Of course, that victory was after about an hour of trying to figure out exactly how to go about killing this thing. The first time we saw the globes coming at us, I thought, well . . . perhaps you have to hit them back at him baseball style. (scratch)

Not much longer after that we figured out that the bubbles would burst the bubbles holding Yaulthoon's prisoners. The DM's voice helped us realize that made yaulthoon susceptible to damage. Thanks DM!

The real problem was with that horrifically beautiful Mind Thrust ability from the Mind Flayer. Every time we'd get Yaulthoon down to about 15% life left, he'd just rip us apart with these beautiful strands of pink death. On the third attempt we decided to check DDO Wiki and see what we missed. What we had missed were (as I so eloquently state in the above video) "those darn pods around his feet."

That made all the difference.

The other major challenge from In the Flesh came in the form of what is known as a doomsphere. From what the wiki is telling me, there are only three doomsphere mobs in the game. Dead Pykzyl (which surely is a street name of saying Dead Pickle) wiped us a couple times as well . . . we'll be back to destroy you Mr. Dead Pickle! We're saving our revenge for the upcoming weeks.

At the end of the day and largely thanks to the sweet 20% exp bonus going on during the holidays, Ulan dinged 15 and I upped my level to 17. Spode finished two of the three 1500 kill quests in Gianthold, and now is only 3 ranks behind my exp lead in the group. Just between us, I think he's on a mission to pass me by. :D

Of other news, it's good to hear that Lessah is back amongst the community! Cocktail Hour's X-mas special was a good one! Also, can't forget to mention DDOCast's Holiday special as well. I've been downloading back episodes of DDOCast lately and listening to them on my drive to work.

I gotta figure out a segment . . . I just gotta!

Happy Dueling!

21 December 2011

Say Hello Please!

Heya!  I just wanted to take a quick inventory of all those who've been dropping by my DDO blog lately.  Please, if you have this site marked in a feed or just check here every once in a while, I'd love to have you give me a shout out in the comments just to say hello.

Feel free to introduce yourself, tell me what server you're playing on, or just say hi!

Sometimes I wonder who is stopping by randomly through Google searches, and who actually drops by when I make a post.  I'd love to build a nice reader base on this blog, and I have some tricks up my sleeve for the future of this blog that I think you will all enjoy.  If you have any suggestions, make 'em!  I'm all ears, or eyes as the case may be.  I'm all about improving.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to say hello.  I have commenting approval turned "on" for this blog, so you may not see your comment appear immediately, but I'm always checking my various blogs throughout the day to approve comments.

Peace and Happy Dueling!

20 December 2011

Harbinger of Madness vs. Diablo II

You have a lot of madness in DDO. Madness seems to be a Turbine developers favorite psychosis. The Path to Madness. The Maze of Madness. Madstone Crater. And now The Harbinger of Madness, which is really just a setup for the Reign of Madness, right? There's so much madness that it's enough to drive someone to the Chamber of Insanity!

I don’t blame Turbine for all this madness though, I blame . . . Madness!

Insider's perspective: when Madness sings "Our House," they're talking about the House of Xoriat they're trying to establish in Stormreach.

So, I can tell you right now, that Team Spode LOVES Harbinger of Madness. I made the comment over e-mail today that I think Harbinger of Madness is less about the exp (which is “ok” not “killer” though), and more about the loot. We had three unique drops on Normal mode from random chests that were some of the best pieces we’ve seen yet in our little ragtag band of mid-high levelers.

Spode got a nice sword named Insanity (who doesn't want to fight madness with insanity?), and we saw some other loot that made us wonder what else we could find, DDO wiki has some promising items listed.

What else was nice is that the difficulty wasn’t too bad! At least on normal mode. There were a few mishaps here and there, but nothing horrifically ugly that we didn’t overcome. If hard mode brings better loot (as one would suspect), sign us up tenfold. The quest chain in total seems like it would take around 3 hours to complete. We only had two, so we left the last instance for next time we meet.

(The general consensus was that we weren’t planning on meeting Christmas day, so we’ll probably be meeting up on the evening of the 26th. And if that doesn’t work, we just may take a couple weeks off until the holidays are over.)

Ophiga had a great summation of our experience in Harbinger of Madness, and to be honest, I don’t have a whole lot more to add. I would like to say that this quest series so far has been creepy awesome! Two thumbs up! Children missing from a school? Cocoons harvesting flesh golems? Beholders? Mind flayers? Undead? Strange Camera seizures as you pass through particularly haunted rooms? Yup, Harbinger of Madness has exactly what I like!

I love quest series like this that evoke a certain mood and succeed while giving you challenging game play that isn’t too punishing and then finishing it all off with rewarding loot. That’s an art, and I feel the developers at Turbine did a great job right here. In a way, Team Spode has been playing through a lot of aging content where GOOD loot has been hard to come by in areas that were tuned to drop loot in a different age of DDO. Most of the gear we are wearing hasn’t come from the chests we’ve looted, but from sales at the auction house.

And that’s why Team Spode loves (Or at least why I love) Harbinger of Madness so far. It’s awesomeness is perfect for our little group. Please give us more of this. Yes, PLEASE. Failing missions in Cannith sucks. Failing Blue Dragon fights sucks. Complicated crafting recipes that require extensive farming sucks. Harbinger of Madness ROCKS. YES, PLEASE! I completed the dungeon, now give me the awesome loot. DONE. I don’t have to craft loot. I don’t have to cleanse loot. I don’t have to improve loot with a raid. I don’t have to do anything but profit. It’s like freaking Diablo II. YAY! The only thing that would make this better is if awesome loot and health potions just squished out of monster’s bodies when they died.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you Turbine for the Harbinger of Madness. If this is what’s on the menu of the future, sign me up for seconds and thirds.

Happy Dueling

12 December 2011

Invaders are Made to Order! (Faction Night)

I actually hit Veteran status last week (finally) and it was a pretty awesome moment. I love knowing that I could totally skip levels 1-3 now on a character. I guess that means I can delete my son's level 3 paladin and reroll him level 4!

None of us were really feeling like doing a Cannith mission night, so we decided to do some lower 11-12 level stuff and have a touch of fun while getting some faction. First up for us was INVADERS!

Ophiga and Joe opted for cleric NPCs and then said I should choose another class for my NPC, so I went with the bard. This meant a night full of disco balls at every turn. All night it was like the DDO Dance Movie by CestLeVie1234 on Youtube:

I love the combination of otto's and firewall in screenshots. There is nothing cooler than fire and disco at the same time. In fact, I have a new favorite screenshot from last night where one of the rolling dark matter orbs rolled in view of the camera. Check this out:

Love it!

INVADERS! is completely packed with Beholders. We tried this one on a random night back when Lessah was in the group and failed miserably. Ahh the difference of four levels. We were a total wrecking ball on this instance. Many beholders were felled! RAWR!

I actually wouldn't mind running that instance a few times again for the beholder optic nerves necklace and some more faction. ONWARD TO CHAMPION STATUS!

So the back story on the Invaders quest is as such:

Xoriat, you know that crazy plane of craziness, er madness? Well, all the crazies from Xoriat got together and thought it'd be wicked awesome to head to Xen'drik and kick some butt here, and what better place to start than good ol' Stormreach Sewers. They've got some insider human cultists working here, and, I mean, if you're going to clear a place out, totally head for where the new players are. Right? Makes sense to me. (If I was a giant dragon wanting to cause a cataclysm, I'd head for Stormwind right off the bat. Whoops, wrong game) That's like page 1 of the evil invader handbook right there.

NO WORRIES! Team Spode was there there to stop their plans! Here's how the XP report rolled out.

Next up for the evening was a House Kundarak quest called Made to Order.

You know, behind every crazy contraption in Dungeons and Dragons Online, there's a tinker out there (an artificer if you will) making their gizmos and gadgets "made to order" for all the dragonmarked houses of Eberron. Deneith needs weapons for their mercenaries, Jorasco needs 'em for their defibrillators, Phiarlan needs them for creating special movie effects (better than pixar, those tinkers), and Kundarak goes for the oversized security golems. And here is where Team Spode's intervention was required.

Buried away in the Black Forest, we find a special artificer named Haywire. What kind of crazy tinker in the tinker biz would name themselves after a defective wiring state? That's hardcore! That'd be like a doctor nicknaming himself, "Amputator."

That aside, Hazra in House Kundarak had a real problem on her hands, Haywire (His real name is Phinneas Hayward btw) hasn't sent word for quite a while, and Hazra is getting antsy for more golems.


Haywire's abode is a crazy track-filled lava pit. At one point I sprung off the rails and broke into a bar of Ozzy Osborn's Crazy Train . . . 'cause I was going off! You know, the rails! On a crazy train! . . . yeah . . . that joke didn't go over well did it. I tried though.

If the Invaders quest was all about beholders, Made to Order is all about the golems. Clay golems, Iron golems, and of course, the final mega construct: a Marut gone bad!

As it turns out, Haywire thought he'd fix up a Marut named ARN-01D (or Arnold if you're into nicknames) and bring in some big bucks. Too bad that thing turned on him when it found out Haywire was trying to make himself into a cyborg with an awesome arm implant. Silly Haywire, doesn't he know that Marut are Inevitables? That kind of silly behavior ain't natural. He must be terminated!

Basically the dungeon is a hack n slasher in a semi-straight path. You just follow the rails and make sure you collect all the seals on your way. If you don't, you'll most likely have to backtrack a bit like we did. Apparently the end of the instance is one that used to be exploitable through pulling the Marut towards the group hiding outside its room. The all you have to do is range it to death. That isn't Team Spode style though. We went in with guns blazing!

Here's how the final xp report looked.

OH DANG. Look at my numbers for breakables! I'm such a halfling: can't leave anything untouched. Luckily our bonuses helped make up for that super harsh -75% exp loss from being so overpowered for the instance. hehe.

Good times.

Next week Ulan returns and we get to deal with more Xoriat craziness as Team Spode delves into the Harbinger of Madness quest line. Can't wait!

Happy Dueling!

09 December 2011

Colossal Crystals? Soloed it!

I don't know if you've ever done this . . . you know, where you kind of replay a defeat in your head only imagining how to win until it kind of drives you crazy and you have to try it just to get it out of your head? No? Well that's what happened to me. I couldn't get our defeat in Colossal Crystals from Sunday out of my mind. I thought it through, and I believed I knew what I needed to do to win so I thought, "What the heck! I can solo this thing!"

And I did!

Here's how it worked for me:

I bought an extra cleric and a barbarian from the DDO store before zoning into the instance. I decided to run it on Level 10 difficulty just to make sure I could pull it off since it was all in my head at the moment.

I parked the barb and extra cleric right next to the kobold teleporter pad on aggressive/stand in place mode facing forward. I bought two teleporters with the crystals, gathered up all the extra torches and bought a few more with crystals.

One teleporter went down right on the pad at the entrance. The other went in my back pocket. Then I took a cleric, invis’d both her and me, hasted us, put the cleric on passive/follow, and ran to the progenitor crystal in the semi-straight ahead direction, jumping past the baddies, and looting all the crests I could along the way.

I was lucky enough to find an octopus crest on the way in (this was a very good thing as the crests don’t seem to always be in the same locations). Then I laid torches from the progenitor crystal back to the nearest glowing two-way teleporter spot, killed everything in the path of the torches, laid down that spare teleporter, and watched the kobolds pour in!

My little kobold buddies looted all the crystals in their path until it was cleaned out, then one kobold started running toward the progenitor crystal. I buffed this little guy as he ran toward the crystal with everything I had, stone skin, blur, resists--you name it, I put it on him.

After my kobold buddy looted the mega crystal, about 3 waves of enemies started to spawn included some named mobs. Since it was level 10 difficulty, this didn't prove too difficult to clear.

Then I followed the kobold through the teleporter and helped the parked but active NPCs kill the mess of monsters that was around the entrance teleporter.

The kobold with the giant blue crystal ran in for the win and bada bing bada boom . . . YES! Win!

I then found myself unable to use the main teleporter to get back to the second teleporter, I don't know if that's planned or a bug, but I had to run back to where I was, which takes a couple minutes. By this time, it was pretty clear I wasn’t going to get any of the optionals, so I just let the timer run out and received 14 scorpions for completing the instance on level 10 difficulty.

I'm not sure, but I imagine it's a lot more scorps for higher difficulties. Soloing this at higher difficulties is totally next! But for now, I'm just happy I ran through the scenario I had been rehearsing in my mind to conclusion.

A win is a win. ;p

Looking forward to Sunday and Team Spode's further adventures!

Happy dueling

07 December 2011

The Search for Lightning-Split Soarwood

Team Spode does a lot of e-mailing back and forth in the week between our regular Sunday night adventures. (Lately, Spode and I are logging on daily to grab our Cannith Tokens and maybe even hitting an instance.) The chat around the e-mail campfire has been all about the hunt for Lightning-Split Soarwood. Spode has been busy upgrading some of his gear with Eldritch Rituals and the +1 to saves ritual has been making both of us drool a bit. When we checked the recipe out, we saw that you needed four Lightning-Split Soarwoods. A quick check at the auction house showed that they were going for about 100,000 plat each.

Our reaction was kind of like Finn and Jake's reaction when Tree Trunks takes a bite of the ultimate apple:


All of my emoticons from that point forward for the rest of the day were like.




Looking up the DDO Wiki on where to find that Lightning-Split Soarwood made me :( though because it's apparently uber rare, which is why it's so much money . . . makes sense I suppose. I'm lucky enough to have two hiding in my bags at the moment . . . now what to do with those. Hmmmm. +1 to all saves or sell on auction house? *taps chin*

SO, the past couple of nights have been spent in The Tide Turns, going for that rubble pile down with the rats. In fact, we decided to run the entire instance on elite just to finish up the factioning there that we hadn't done. It's amazing how a few levels makes things cake . . . a far cry since we did that instance as a group, yo.

My big discovery was the new Artificer end reward for completing the Tide Turns. Look at this thing!

CHIMERA'S BREATH! Oh man, seeing loot like this really makes me want to roll an artificer. LOL

Anyway, any suggestions for hunting for Lightning-split Soarwood would be appreciated. As far as I can tell, it's all about making sure you hit those rubble piles everywhere you go.

Happy Dueling!

05 December 2011

It's All About The Challenges!

First, we begin with the theme song for the Cannith Challenges:

Ahhh, Cannith Challenges . . . ne'er before have words sung more true:

It's all about the challenges.
It's a brand new game
and a brand new world.
New rivals,
as you fight for survival.

Who knew the ultimate strats of these Cannith Challenges would be unveiled with such eloquence:

It's all about the battle.
You gotta play smart.
You gotta move faster behind
every win there's a chance to begin, again!
You gotta take it all if you wanna be a master...

I'd love to hear good old Clankenbeard sing that tune. It was definitely the tune I was singing to Glaive the Warforged bartender all night as I visited him time and again for a mana refill:

Glaive took my money and I tipped him with my pokemon knowledge.

So Team Spode was down a member. As you might recall, Ulan is off gallivanting among the drug lords in Mexico, enjoying the heck out of the resorts and beaches down there. Crazy Canadian needs his sun to handle the upcoming months of cold. Don't blame him.

That left Ophiga, Spode, and I to fend for ourselves for the night. We had never tried the Cannith Challenges, so we decided to give a couple of them a go. The first one we tried was Lava Caves: Colossal Crystals.

Since we had never been in here before, we formulated a plan to kind of run things like a pirate cove adventure . . . Keep one person near the foreman and the main camp to kill the incoming baddies and Spode protects me and the kobolds as we built a path of torches trying to collect as many crystals as we can. This seemed to be going ok at first until we realized that, well, 200 some odd crystals out of 10,000 wasn't so hot and we hadn't really found any progenitor crystals to speak of.

no no no. We're missing something. hmmmm. (strike)

Our second time through we opened up the DDO wiki page and that didn't tell us a lot, but at least we had a map with some white arrows that seemed to indicate the position of a progenitor crystal.

Again we formulated a plan and started out building a torch path to the left. The only problem there was that there was no way in the world we were going to gather enough torches to stretch to the big square room we were shooting for. It was just far too long of a run.

Spode decided to just keep following the path and see if he could encounter these "gates" that we had read about and that we were collecting crests to unlock. Spode finally found the gate +1 GIANT blue crystal (yay!) . . . and we ran out of time. (scratch)

The third time through we decided to try and walk the kobolds along in a path by removing a back torch and planting a front torch, removing a back torch, and planting a front torch, so as to "capture" the kobolds, and force them to walk along with us. That proved to be impossible since as soon as a kobold grabbed some ore, they made off to the exit like they knew where they were going. (scratch)

Unfortunately we only got three tries at this since Spode was out of tokens for this particular adventure, and we had to quit and move to something else.

What we realized at the end was this adventure was probably all about using the teleporters to get the kobolds to the progenitor crystals. There were some "hot spots" that glowed on the ground where (unbeknownst to us) you can plant a teleporter to create a two-way door for the kobolds to run through instead of it being a one-way trip. At least that's the theory. We'll have to try it out when we get some more tokens for that one for sure!

If I took a moment during writing this blog post to search "Lava Caves: Colossal Crystals" . . . Ah crap, found a walk through . . . and a really good one at that, thanks DDM's Realm!


The next challenge we had tokens for was Kobold Island: Short Cuts.

As was to be expected, our first time inside this challenge area was a blood bath. Here's me standing next to my soul stone and a couple of evil succubi. Great. Thanks Succubi.

Again, we were simply learning the ropes here at the beginning. The portals we clicked on weren't tied to the same location and the group quickly became separated and confused. We ran out of time, but managed to collect a few dragonshards and get the basics of the instance down. You need to get mechanical parts from Kobolds so that you can start running the dragonshard extractors. Once the dragonshard extractors start running, then they get attacked. Got it. Got my rez from Spode. Time runs out. (scratch)

On the second run through Kobold Island, we actually got a small extractor running and realized that there would be no way we could reach that objective with this thing running this slowly, and we decided to go find a large extractor we could start up. Wow! I've never fought one of these crazy teleporting demons before.

At least that was kind of fun!

What we then discovered was that those large extractors take dragonshards AND kobold parts to get running. DANGIT! Time runs out (scratch)

Glaive told me on my rest between attempt 2 and 3 that I should probably check my bags. He was totally right on there. I told the group they should check their bags and click on these supply crates in their inventories. LOOTS! (I think he was just trying to get me to stop talking about Charizard.)

Apparently any time you kill a red named, they give you these. Daddy likes!

On attempt 3 at the Short Cuts instance we finally understood that this was really like a tower defense game since you can purchase a turret to guard your crystal extractors. Ohhhhhhh! We even managed to upgrade a small extractor to Tier 2 and somehow make it so it wasn't working anymore. LOL.

Once again, we ran out of time . . . only this time we were out of time for the evening. (scratch)

Again, probably a simple search and reading DDM's write up on the Kobold Island Quest would have helped us quite a bit. No biggie. Team Spode runs things blind a few times . . . we like it that way.

So we learned a lot and had some fun for the evening. Got our noggins thinking, and I got to trade fire-type pokemon strats with the warforged behind the bar.

life is awesome

Happy Dueling!

02 December 2011

Awesome! Made it to the B list!


You know, I really would like to make this place somewhere where people who enjoy DDO like to come visit every once in a while. I feel like I'm one step closer by making it to the official fan site list for Dungeons and Dragons Online. (WOOT!)

Check it out: if you go to the fansite listing on the Compendium here and scroll alllllll the way down, TADA! There I am, Stormreach Sentinel . . . the slow one of the slow bunch. ;)

Can't thank Turbine enough for putting me on the map there. It's probably undeserved. If you have a DDO fansite or blog and you'd like to link share, just leave me a note.

Thanks for your time and thanks for visiting. Feel free to leave me a message, and I hope you make this blog a part of your RSS feed reader. I try to keep it entertaining around here. on that note . . . here's a great parody video from the WanderingMonster. :)

Happy Dueling

28 November 2011

Blue Dragon Practice Night

Team Spode breezed through Giantold Tor last night until we got to the dragons.

There was a point during the night where I said, "It's like we know what we're doing." And we did. This was a far cry from when we were dying at the Gatekeeper. We've done this enough now to have "our" strat for Gianthold and now we're stuck on the dragons.

During the week I actually soloed the Blue Dragon on casual, and with the help of Ophiga, we downed the other two dragons as well . . . on casual. Cake! Of course, the problem with casual mode is that the chance for dragon scales seems to be infinitesimal, and it's the scales we are really after. (Unfortunately, I'm reading that the scales are rare on normal mode as well.)
- We began the night having Spode tank the giant instead of the dragon. People started dying quickly when standing near the center of the room. (scratch)

- Next we had Spode tank the dragon and we all rushed to the outside walls where it was safer. We went full power on the dragon, which brought it "low to its belly," but the giant didn't go down fast enough . . . and because he didn't die within two seconds of the dragon, the dragon was resurrected and this did not bode well for Team Spode. (scratch)

- Next we decided to tank the dragon with the same positioning and switch to killing the giant when the dragon was down low, but after Ophiga died, people started crumbling domino style. (scratch)

- Repeat strategy, but this time it was the NPC clerics who caused the domino effect. (scratch)

- repeat strategy, same results. (scratch)

At the end of the night, we learned a few things at a pretty high price . . . but that's ok. The lure of the scales and the lure of simply wanting to best this was high enough that the multiple defeats from the blue dragon (the easiest of the dragons) was ok.

After reading a few strats around the net, it's becoming clear that you really need to finish this fight in under two minutes. Once two minutes hits, the damage from the lightning spires starts to kick up and kick butt--spode butt.

A huge problem also is that the giant's agro is random. He plunks arrows the size of tree trunks into everyone and anyone randomly.

Spode was quite disappointed to see the health of the dragon and the giant return to full after the party had been defeated . . . if only they stayed at the health we had mashed them to, eh?

Towards the end of the night I was thinking that perhaps tanking the giant while I kited the dragon might do the trick . . . we'd just need a ton of blade barrier and firewall for me to run him through and for Waves of Exhaustion to slow the dragon down. Of course, kiting is usually a longer than two minutes endeavor.

I'm not sure . . .

Eventually Team Spode will have our method down for killing this thing, but for now . . . repair bills and the loot and exp getting to the dragon are our only rewards.

I'm starting to think that it might just be time for Team Spode to move on to fresher instances, shake our fist at the dragons, and come back when we're a couple levels higher (similar to how we downed the demon queen).

One thing is sure, real-life Ulan is headed to the realms of Mexico for vacation next week . . . might be time to poke our heads into whatever content comes next (or finish up some rep grinding).

Happy Dueling!

21 November 2011

Demon Queen Dies to Team Spode!

OH, this post comes to you with much higher spirits than last week, but don't take my word for it, here's what Ophiga had to say about our evening.

Last night's adventure for Team Spode was a vengeance mission "Against the Demon Queen" after our wipe last week and for that other time she kicked our butts.

Here's the important screenshot:

THAT'S RIGHT DEMON QUEEN! YOU AIN'T GOT NOTHIN' ON TEAM SPODE BOOM! Is it just me or would "Circle of Eternity" be an awesome wedding rock band name?

And the Djinni out in Zawabi's Refuge was all . . . me tired now!

And Team Spode was all . . . WE AIN'T NOT TIRED!

Yeah, we zoned into the raid for fun just to see what it was all about. We didn't even bother summoning clerics because we knew it would be a slaughter either way. Whew, looks like a tough event with those nasty lawn mower blades that cut you down while archers stick you with arrows from up above.

Anyway, yes, we had fun last night . . . as evidenced by Ulan's pumpkinhead courtesy of Gleek. A night just isn't a night anymore without me throwing one of my grenades at Ulan.

And yes, the best thing about this instance is still the crazy Rakshasas with their crazy poetry-spouting deaths.

Friggin' nuts those Rakshasas are.

The end report of the dungeon looked like this:

So, how did Team Spode beat the Demon Queen? The answer is really simple . . . kiting. Spode is no slouch in the hit point department and he's sporting a pretty respectable Armor Class for a level 16 paladin, and even with dedicated healers, stone skin and what not, that knockdown of hers combined with her nasty six-armed attack was just too devastating for Spode to tank through and the healers to heal through. She's just nasty.

You can tell too by the shape of her final room that you're just meant to kite her down. I mean, there's just barely enough room in a perfect circle to run her around. You just have to keep yourself hasted and go for it.

Team Spode did a great job of laying down firewalls and blade barriers, plunking her with arrows, Slicing her with swords from behind, and just generally keeping Ulan and I alive as we ran around trying to avoid those six arms of death.

Winning this one was awesome. Team Spode needed that win!

Next week? Next week we go back to face that dragon in Gianthold. More vengeance is needed.

Happy Dueling!

14 November 2011

It's Frustrating

We totally lost . . . twice in a row . . . and I totally didn't get any pictures and have nothing new to add to the discussion of Gianthold. BLAH!

Gianthold Tor and Against the Demon Queen totally puppet bumped the face of Team Spode lastnight.



For the three hours that we played together last night, we did better on both events than we had on our previous attempts, so that's something, right? I think so.

I think we were all a little moody last night after our Gianthold defeat (at least I was). We made a mistake and after all of us had been defeated at the hands of Rhindvutha the Black Dragon and Blaze Ar'Rhind (his giant friend), we all released, which basically put us back to square one, which was a little frustrating.

The major problem with all of us releasing at that point is that the dragons are considered optional objectives, and you have already won the instance after you defeat the gatekeeper. Live and learn.

After that we decided to try our hands at the Demon Queen again. Part of me was saying in the back of my mind, "guys, we don't have time to do this tonight," but I decided not to speak up and just press forward . . . In fact I started rushing and just blowing through traps. Whoops! Sorry Team Spode! We did in fact end up a good hour over our game time limit . . . again, with nothing much to show for it (a little loot, but not the win we all wanted).



We did get further as a group on the Demon Queen than we got before. We successfully kited her dead the first time where before we had died. . . it was just the second time vs. The demon queen in her fiery chamber of death where we didn't do so well.

In the end I think we learned a few valuable lessons that are like our "baby steps" to winning. No worries, we'll get this.

Happy Dueling!

07 November 2011

Rakshasa Claw, Rakshasa Claw

Way back when Lessah was in the group, she got super excited about a Rakshasa Claw during our adventures in Demon Sands. Over e-mail I composed a little re-write of "I feel for you" by Chaka Khan. Here's a link the song if you don't know it: click!

rakrakrakrakrakRakshaka Claw, Rakshasa Claw, Claw, Rakshasa Claw
Claw, 'Shasa Claw, let me Rakshasa Claw, 'Shasa claw it's all I wanna do
'Shasa Claw, 'Shasa Claw, Let me Rakshasa Claw,
Rakshasa Claw, Let me feel for you!

Lessah, Lessah, when I look at you
I get a warm feeling inside
That's a paladin with cure wounds too
And she keeps me satisfied

I wouldn't die on you, baby
Check my manly magical ring
Cure mummy rot for you, baby
Makes me wanna sing

I heal for you
I think I cured you
I heal for you
DDO nerd too


Anyway, we fought Rakshasas in the epic quest A Cry for Help, and Spode kept singing the epic intro to Rakshasa Claw. Maybe someday I'll have to grab a microphone and Karoke that thing to see if DDOCast will play it. ;p

This little instance was one we actually had missed. I discovered it when I was out and about farming the other day and ran through it solo. Since Ulan was out of town to hunt Bambi, we decided this might be a good instance for the rest of us to run through together this week. Death to backward-handed-tiger-people! The coolest part of this instance has got to be the ending. You actually get to see Raksasha use their shapeshifting abilities!!! GASP! And I know that had to make Ophiga happy since she's had her panties in a bunch about that for a while (and I quote):
"*begin standard Rakshasha rant*
The first AD&D Monster Manual listed Rakshasha as shapeshifters. The illustration showed a tigerman dressed in a smoking jacket, but nothing was ever said that they would always appear as a tigerman (smoking jacket optional). And yet *every* *single* *time* they appear in DDO, it is as a tigerman.
*end standard Rakshasha rant*"

No longer a true statement! :)

Come to think about it, this whole instance had Ophiga written all over it. It was chock full of traps and had her mythical Rakshasas in it. What more could one drow want? (Hopefully the answer to that is not halfling burgers.)

She did her job splendidly too as in the end she disabled 5 traps and earned us an extra +15% experience. (I'd like to point out that's one more than listed on the DDOWiki entry for A Cry for Help . . . she's awesome)

Unless Spode is out charging through the traps pulling his I NO CARE attitude (SPODE, Y U NO CARE ABOUT TRAP?), Ophiga is leading the group looking for traps, and we're all hanging back waiting for her to yelp her familiar cry of "TRAP!" There's nothing more comedic than watching your rogue go smashing through the floor, narrowly avoiding some impaling spikes and then seconds later hear Ophiga give a deadpan delivery of the words, "um, trap."


So here's my favorite screenshot of the night:

Look at the eyes on that Jarilith!! EVIL DEMON LION!

And here's our experience report on that quest for the night.

Yes I took a death. There's this horrible spot in the instance where archers and casters will plunk away on you from above a couple suspended bridges. They got me. Grrrr. I'm just happy we won!

The second part of the night was seeing how far our Trio of Spode, Ophiga, and Gleek backed by three NPC healers could get in the Tor. We actually did a lot better since we knew what to expect and I wasn't afraid to gulp mana potions. Let's just say it was an expensive night in the mana potion department . . .

I am happy to say that we figured out how to spawn the Gatekeeper thanks to a little tip from this insane 20th level toon who solo'd Gianthold Tor and put it up on YouTube. The major tip there is that NPC clerics are very good at staying hidden. So I put my cleric invis'd against the very back wall on one of the spawning squares and Ophiga and her cleric stayed put invis'd against the wall on the other spawning squares while the rest of us waited outside the room for the gatekeeper to spawn.

Bada bing bada boom . . . gatekeeper!

Bada bing bada boom . . . dead at the first dragon!

Hopefully things will end better with Ulan by our side next week. :) It's a learning process . . . Hopefully what we learned here is that kiting might be our best option for Team Spode. If you're reading this Ulan, warm up that blade barrier!

Happy dueling!

31 October 2011

Relic up and Get Down, Gianthold!

So, it appears our adventures in Gianthold are one step closer to ending. Does it feel like we've been in this zone for freaking ever? Man! It does to me . . . and that's a good thing since there's so much to do in this area. I'd have to give Gianthold a thumbs up for playability value. I saw a YouTube comment on a video about Gianthold somewhere that said something to the extent of "And people used to pay for this shizz." Yes we did pay. Yes we liked it. No, you wouldn't understand. (I freaking hate YouTube comments.)

Team Spode did a lot of playing throughout the week this week, which is unusual for us. We usually play only on Sunday and only occasionally dip our toes into the game outside of our Sunday night game (well, I do a little more than dip my toe :D). This week though, I'd log on and there would always be a Spode or a Ulan on farming for their relics. Reports started coming in through our back channel e-mails about our individual relic hunting efforts. Spode finished his fairly quickly, I came in second, Ulan had his soon after, and with a few donations from the guys last night, Ophiga had her final few Giant relics. WOOT! READY TO ROCK!

I made a map during the week of my relic farming route over the top of the Alex Haddox Gianthold map, and although my layer over the top of his beautiful map looks like a kindergartner scribbling over the top of a work of art, here it is:

1- Run out and fall down into the giant party by the first frozen dragon. (kill named if up), Run over to the first two tents on the high road from the first chest. (kill named if up) Continue on path that jogs around to the two even larger tents (kill named if up).

RECALL—mana up.

2- Take teleporter to Storm's eye. Run down and kill portal to Shavarath (kill named if up). Run back up and then over and up the spiral mountain and kill Mind Flayer (always up) and cast knock until I roll a 20 to unlock it ;) (the DC is 46 I believe). This wastes a lot of mana usually. Run over and down a path to kill named. Run back. Run up to kill supply depot named (have to break a number of the barrels to get him to show up.

RECALL—mana up

3- Take teleporter down to Storm's Heart, run into Trial by Fire and farm until I get around 3 chests.

RECALL—mana up

4- Profit!


Team Spode did this route last night, but instead of hitting Trial by Fire, we took a little jaunt up to the Foundation of Disco instance.

Did I say Disco? Oh, I meant DiscoRD! Right. Sorry about that. The foundation of DISCOrd is a great little instance full of angry Aurum dwarves. OHMYGOSH Aurum dwarves! Yes, it's true! I read about these dudes in The Shard Axe. Aurum dwarves are a wealthy sect of little peeps who usually hang out in Mror Holds over on that other continent of Khorvaire. (Hey! A Khorvaire expansion to DDO would be pretty cool, Turbine!)

I don't exactly remember what these little fellas are doing in Gianthold, but I'm sure it (in a roundabout way) involves making some bank. According to this splash screen you get when you're zoning in, Rumor has it they've sent their best to fight for the Stormreaver.

The wiki paints this instance as incredibly difficult. We didn't really experience that, of course we're all level 14-16 now. What you do is come to a central shrine and then kill the bosses at the end of each corridor. Once you've done this, the locked door opens up and you can go fight the final boss, who's fond of summoning elementals of every sort.

The one thing that I'm really liking about the Foundation of Disco instance are the names of these righteous dudes that you be slappin' skin with, yo! Duncan the Wayfarer, Mars the Dynamo, Tinius the White . . . Patrick the Maniacal. These are some awesome disco club names. If my 40 year old self ever stumbles into a rave party, I'm saying my name is Mars the Dynamo. That's just too hawt.

We found this great mirror in the instance. Spode's doing his V for Victory pose while the drow are fawning over him. I am NOT looking at drow butt. I am NOT looking at drow butt. I am NOT looking at drow butt. OH MAN, I looked at drow butt.

Anyway, here's how it rolled out at the end of the instance. Good times.

After that, we still had an hour of playtime left. Hmmmm, what to do? Peek our heads into Gianthold Tor and get owned of course!!!


We literally went into this instance raw with no idea what we were going to face. None of us had looked too far into the wiki or remembered much about what is inside here other than a dragon. When a dragon calls, Team Spode comes running with swords raised! WE WANT SCALES!

What we discovered were many many many many giants. Let me add another many: "many." We died during that front wave of giants and had to come back in to finish the job.

Although I really liked the names of the dwarves in the Aurum Lair, I did find my favorite name ever here in Gianthold Tor.

By the time we made it to the area where you spawn the gatekeeper, it was time to call it a night. We did stay long enough to die again to several giant skeletons. :)

Next week we shall definitely be prepared to stick it out and slay a dragon! WE SHALL! Or at least die to a dragon. You know, that's how we roll.

Until then . . . happy dueling!

24 October 2011

Team Spode Bewitches the Crucible

Sorry about that title, seriously, I couldn't help myself. (If you don't get the joke, here.) ;)

I generally don't get pissed off by dungeons, but by the end of The Crucible, I was totally Dan "Yell" Day-Lewis.

See, now don't you feel better about your horrible experience in The Crucible? Gleek does. After being impaled underwater, dying, and being resurrected outside the dungeon walls, I think Gleek has every right yelling and ranting and raving away.

Check these screenshots out . . .

That first one is the side view of the underwater impalers from outside the walls looking in.

The second is actually above the water, outside of the walls. Standing around out there, completely glitched out, was super frustrating. There was nothing I could do but release and run back in . . . and that was my second time releasing, mind you. The first time I had to release was when Spode, Ophiga, myself, and my NPC were trapped in the maze, separated from Ulan, who was dead, above the maze. I made the mistake of having the NPC pull a lever and then clicking the "come to me" button. GREAT. STUCK. There just appeared to be nothing I could do but release and come back in to free Spode and Ophiga.

I hate releasing in a dungeon. It feels like losing. Oh well.


I'm sure after a person runs that instance a couple of times, it's not nearly the nightmare that it was, but at least I was trapped in that nightmare with friends. LOL.

Ok, here's the story behind The Crucible . . . basically, you're interested in joining The Storm's Fist, so you've taken a quest to meet up with Jorgundal Ar'grund, Captain of the Storm's Fist, at The Trials of The Crucible. It's necessary for you to join the Storm's Fist because your real goal is to make it into all three giant brigades and eventually into Gianthold Tor proper. Team Spode already joined the Storm's Heart and the Storm's Eye . . . all that was left was to join Jorgundal's club here.

Yeah, Jorgundal pretty much laughed his butt off at me, a halfling, for wanting to join his brigade. Apparently humor was the key to his heart, and he allowed Team Spode a shot. All we had to do was duel his champions in a battle pit. We were ok with that, the only problem is that you have to get to the battle pit the long way around. The long way around involves completing four tests:

- The Test of Cunning (an evil maze with two-way doors controlled by three levers--featuring archers and casters hanging out on the top of the maze shooting down at you.)

- The Test of Agility (a timed run involving jumping through two rooms of traps.)

- The Test of Instinct (a wisdom check where you are presented six doors and a riddle, get the riddle wrong, get the wrong door and the accompanying burst of traps that goes with the door.)

- The Test of Endurance (a swim through rushing water being pulled by underwater propeller blades--the decor of the surrounding walls just happens to be impalers. Have fun with that.)

There are other tricks to this dungeon too, like a diplomacy check at the beginning that allows you to see where the cracks in the floor are. Yay successful diplomacy check for Team Spode!

And above the maze you're tested with the challenge of naming these symbols so that your friends at the dials can spin them into the right place. (I remember Lessah saying that there was a thread somewhere where the DDO community had come up with some standard names for these things? Anyone?)

Crazily enough, there are people who play DDO that have soloed this dungeon. This dude on YouTube makes Team Spode look like total chumps. I can only imagine how many times he's run through this dungeon to make it look this easy. He some how figured out you could completely skip the maze that we bumbled around in for a long time.

The full write up over on DDO Wiki is pretty good for helping you through this instance. Thanks so much to the pioneers of this instance who wrote all this information up. You people rock. Without that information, it would have probably been an additional 2.5 hours on top of the 2.5 hours it took us. Egads.

At least the good news is that the members of Team Spode are honorary members of The Storm's Fist! WOOT! (. . . despite our newbie-ness and glitch finding abilities.) Now all that's left is to collect the remaining relics, so we can check out that pre-raid quest. :)

See you all next week, and thanks for reading!

**Update** Looks like Ophiga has written up some words about last night from her PoV. Check it out!

Happy dueling!

21 October 2011

DDO up for awards!

Ha! I kind of feel like I'm playing the fence here. I just wrote a post asking people to vote for Wizard101 in the Beckett's voting poll, and now I'm over here asking people to vote for DDO in the Beckett's voting poll. click me! click me! click me! click me! click me!

Although DDO has some tough competition for Best Fantasy MMO, that is definitely where I put my vote in that catagory. Seriously though, DDO is up against WoW and Rift. But every vote counts and I think Chris Moslbee does a great job of delivering DDO articles for Beckett's magazine! I think Team Spode's article wasn't half shabby either. ;) I'm in! Vote DDO!

Happy Dueling!

17 October 2011

Farewell, Lessah, From Team Spode

You know, one hates to wonder if they were the catalyst for someone leaving a community and a great podcast like DDO Cocktailhour behind, and there is a very good chance that Lessah’s last instance she ran was with Team Spode (or her permadeath guild). I highly doubt our sloppy play and bad puns had anything to do with it (Although the "wight out" jokes are even enough for me to up and quit MMOs some nights ;) jk, I live for "wight out" jokes). It’s hard to know since she pretty much seemed to disappear into thin air without a goodbye. That's ok though . . . you gotta do what you gotta do, right? word.

Part of me would like to believe that she’s reading this now and will leave a comment to clarify her disappearance even further, but all Team Spode knows is what Samius said in his post and Lessah’s latest tweet: "@Slugnutty @SamiusGurobo Hey! yes,I stopped playing, I had a major crisis & just have not gone back. It's not fair to do the cast & not play."

If I was to add anything about Lessah’s last instance run with us, she seemed (to me) to be happy, but also seemed rushed to end her play session that night. It felt pretty hasty like she couldn’t wait to log off actually. I think she might have mentioned getting her kids ready for school the next day. I don't know. In the end, there really wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

I think Team Spode's sentiment is best wrapped up by Spode himself, "I hope she's ok. It was fun to have her in the group, but I guess 'We few. We happy, happy few' must move on and make her proud with our body counts. I'll dedicate my next hundred kills to her. Hopefully, she'll come back someday."

Best of luck, Lessah! Hope your life affords you success and feel free to call on the superpowers of Team Spode anytime in the future.

Happy dueling!

Madstone Crater . . . Starring Ulan's Blade Barrier!



So last night we did . . . exactly the same instances we did last week, only backwards. No, I don't mean we ran through the instance backwards, although the prospect sounds exciting; I mean we ran Madstone Crater first before Maze of Madness. We completed ALL this MADNESS faster than we did last Sunday, but it still made for a late night. We wanted to make sure that Ulan got flagged since he missed last week, and we did indeed do just that. The difference between the two runs?

Pretty isn't it? Dead giant final boss with blades of death around his corpse? Yup, when you have Ulan with you, you also get the spinning blades of awesomeness. We all were cheering when we saw those pop up this week. OH BLADE BARRIER, HOW WE MISSED THEE! For some reason though, it's mere presence didn't abate our pleathora of deaths (Team spode's mantra: if you're not dying, you're not trying hard enough).


So here's the skinny on Madstone crater. The adventure begins with a friendly giant with a problem. Blaze Ar'Rhind is the Storm Heart's Captain and his issue is with his Storm Heart Brigade. They're turning on him and he swears it's something in the Madstone Crater Volcano that's wigging them out. This is perfectly ok with Team Spode since we want to become a part of his brigade anyway. All part of the master plan and what not.

You meet up again with Blaze down in the very southeastern-most point of the Gianthold Wilderness Area inside an insideous instance full of Ogres, Ogre Magi (Named Rune-Tusk War Mages), Minotaurs, Trolls, and Giant Skeletons. Enemy number one of Team Spode would have to be a particular flavor of Giant Skeleton, the Ancient Enchanter. (You may recall a picture from last week's entry of three of said Ancient Enchanters hovering over my corpse.) If you kill six of those Ancient Enchanters, you get . . . dun dun dunnnnnn . . . BONUS EXP! We likes the bonus exp, precious.

What ends up being the issue are these three floating crystals in the wings of Madstone Crater. Apparently you're not uber enough to bust these crystals up yourself and you need to get help from three separate hill giant seers . . . one for each crystal. That's so kooky. It's like Blaze knew exactly what was going on. He had a seer for each crystal out there as a part of his brigade, but he "doesn't really know what's going on?! /shrugs!?" yeah yeah, Blaze, you just wanted to see if we'd get lucky and free your seers. It's cool. We still like you and all.

The trick is to buff the seers up with all you've got (personally I laid down stone skin, blur, resistances, heroism, invisibility, and jump . . . ok I didn't buff him with jump) and then take out the waves of crazy crystal mind controlled Storm heart brigade troops as they come at you. HMMMMmmm, Storm heart brigade has been smoking the "crystal" eh? That stuff will turn you into a bad guy! You crazy minotaurs should know better!

After the three seers take care of the three crystals, then it's just a matter of making your way up to the top of a big spirally mountain and killing the head kahuna, an ancient warlock. Ancient warlock > Ancient enchanter. *Gleek snaps a Z in the general direction of an ancient warlock* And it's a good thing you do take out that bone-daddy warlock because he's right in the middle of a ritual that I'm sure would mean more mind-controlled storm's heart and this instance is hard enough without making it harder, mr. Warlock. Sheesh!

Good times.

Team Spode successfully dispatched the warlock and then decided, what the hey! As long as we're so close to the Maze of Madness and it's not too long, let's get Ophiga her remaining 500 exp she needed to level, which we did, which was a good time, which was cool with everyone.

So by my count Team Spode still needs to explore the Cry for Help, Foundation of Discord, Prey on the Hunter, and the Crucible instances before we even think about exiting purple glowy rock land. If we're serious about this stuff, we'll also need to collect 9 of each relic type so we can at least finish up the pre-raid for Gianthold Tor. I don't know if we're *that* crazy about Gianthold . . . would be cool to kill those dragons inside Gianthold Tor.

I'm also pretty jazzed about seeing the White Dragon (Aussircaex) from Korthos Island again in the Prey on the Hunter quest for sure.

OH, last thing before I leave this post. Check out this awesome screenshot I got of an ogre springing into the air while Ulan tries to chop off its foot.

Go get 'em Ulan! Nice to have you and your blade barrier back in the group this week!

Happy Dueling!

11 October 2011


Listen, you want to know about Team Spode’s adventures this week? Yeah, you sure? Ok, I know a lady who’s been talking about us, name’s Ophiga, but on the street we call her Writes-A-Lot . . . most awesome care bear in the kingdom despite the carpal tunnel.

I left you all with a great cliff hanger last week, so I think we need to finish this up as we enter THE MAZE OF MADNESS! Dun dun dun! Note to gentle adventurer: bring a rogue. And that’s all you need to know about our Team Spode adventures in THE MAZE OF MADNESS this week. Anti-climactic, I know.

Seriously though, I love that name . . . MAZE OF MADNESS. I love the voice I hear in my head when I type it out . . . THE MAZE OF MADNESS! It’s kind of loud and echo-y like a bad 1930’s movie announcer . . . REFER MADNESS!

Unfortunately the maze here isn’t much of a maddening maze. Maybe it’s just me, but when I think “maze,” I think of those cool corn field mazes that crop up around Halloween time, you know?

Turbine needs mazeplay to help out their minotaurs. Definitely a maze is the proper place for a minotaur (or 50 minotaurs as the case may be) . . . at least according to the Greeks . . . and I definitely think a maze of stone is the proper place to house your minotaurs. A corn maze wouldn’t go over well with a minotaur clan since they could just bash through the corn and make their own pathways like an angsty teen football team. This maze is pretty straight forward though. The only thing that might trip you up in THE MAZE OF MADNESS is a secret door on a natural stone wall that’s a little hard to find.

Ophiga imagines about dungeon building a bit in her post . . . to expand on that thought, this “maze” is really more like a lever factory outlet trip gone wild. I can see the dungeon engineer in my mind hanging out at his favorite lever factory outlet looking at all the latest gadgets for tripping up adventurers. That was one full shopping cart of levers by the time he was finished shopping, let me tell you. Maybe even two carts! ;)

Basically each door you come upon here has two or three levers. You need to pull ‘em to open the door, but one of the levers will most likely stick you in the gut with a trap . . . unless you have a rogue. Thus why to the casual Googler of information about THE MAZE OF MADNESS should know that the best thing to do with this dungeon is bring a rogue. Of course, that pretty much describes all of DDO, but hey, you didn’t search on that, did you, you random Google person you? No. (I feel bad about random Googlers coming here thinking this would be a good source of information. Jus' sayin'.)

I did videotape a good chunk of this dungeon unbeknownst to Team Spode. Conversation is always a bit one-sided on those though as I’m still having trouble recording what I’m saying. I think I’d have to run a separate instance of teamspeak to record my half of the conversation . . . meh . . . I digress. We slaughtered this thing:

Funny enough, we called it last week when we weren’t too far from being done with the dungeon as it turns out, and as it turns out, we should have called it a night during the amazingly huge instance known as Madstone Crater. It says it’s "Very Long." It ain't kidding. We ended up a full 1.5 hours past our usual end time, and Writes-a-Lot Bear, the East Coaster, was a complete studdette for sticking it out the entire time. Sadly, we have to do this one all over again because Ulan wasn’t present with us. Oh well, at least now we’ll know about the untamed fury of those three giant skeleton enchanters down an optional side path. Mana dump to kill them = necessary.

Really, to sum up Madstone Crater would be this: lots of waves of mind-controlled enemies, lots of zoning from one area to the next, lots of hill giant seers to keep safe, and GOOD TIMES YO! BTW, I FREAKING HATE THE OGRE MAGI! THEY MUST ALL DIE! (again, jus' sayin'.)

I also recorded a bunch of this instance. I think I’m going to delete these files though . . . too painful to watch. Here was the salvageable portion (remember my commentary is muted . . . MAN, I need to figure that out):


So perhaps I'll have a more detailed analysis of Madstone Crater next time we venture in there (we have to go again anyway like I said before). I’m pretty sure you’re all done with my chatty nonsense by this point in the blog post. LOL. I'M OUT!

Happy Dueling!