29 August 2011

We actually fought a dragon in Dungeons and Dragons Online?

Team Spode's adventures this week have been aptly summed up by Ophiga over on her blog, West Karana. Please point your browser that way and check it out!

I snapped a few screenshots in addition to the great ones that Ophiga took of us killed Sinvala this week.

Thanks so much to Ekeiram for helping point us in the right direction! Your tip on where to find this nasty thing was definitely appreciated.

Happy Dueling!

23 August 2011

The Waiting Game in Demon Sands

What does Team Spode do while waiting for Spode to make a jump?

1- Dance, chill, and blow kisses to the camera.

Ophiga was adamant that for some reason I never get great pictures of her character. Well, she's right. Here's the backside of her dancing, while I blow you all a kiss and Lessah chills. When a man feather falls to the bottom of the canyon, it's gonna be a while until he gets back up. SPODE, Y U NO JUMP FAR?!

2- Inspect the hireling

Dheran Giles is quite the looker, yes? Sure his wikipedia page is full of interesting facts about him, like that he has Cleric Prayer of Life III, but does it tell you that he had ceviche the night before? I think not.

3- Shield inspection.

Yeah, that's totally what's happening here. There's no ceviche check going on for Ulan, honest! Nothing fishy at all about this screenshot. Look! Lessah's shield is so shiny! MUST SCREENSHOT!

Eventually after a couple tries, we got Spode with us and to our destination, which again was the Offering of Blood instance. Things did in fact go MUCH more smoothly with the full group there and with Lessah showing us a couple tricks like lifting a bridge up after you cross it to stop the incessant spawns from behind you. It was a simple 20 minutes or so to the boss.

We cleaned that up nicely and *mostly* called it a night. Spode and I had already spent some time helping Tipa out (link to Tipa's blog!) when she got stuck in a solo run of the Tomb of the Witch King. I agree btw . . . chuck the DM out the virtual window and sacrifice a deer.

(breaking out the classics on y'all TODAY!)

The end of the story is that Lessah logged off to finish packing her kids' school lunches (peanut butter or ceviche one wonders?) while the rest of us lingered longer and rode the good vibe train to a victory in the Chamber of Korush.

That was 18 minutes of pure casket-breaking, tomb-raiding awesome as you can see from the experience report here. I was obviously trying too hard . . . ol' Gleek ate a death from his hyperactivity.

Thanks for putting up with me Team Spode!

We still haven't figured out exactly what we're going to be doing next week. We've debated The Twelve, Gianthold, and a couple other things. At this point we have two level 14 characters, two level 13 characters, and one level 12 character about to hit 13. We'd love to fight against some dragons, but we don't want to be killed by them . . . we want to *kill* them. Perhaps we should wait a level or two before hitting The Twelve.

Thanks for your input in advance!

Happy Dueling!

17 August 2011

Like Lambs to the Slaughter: An Offering of Blood

Before I begin, I just want to thank everyone who drops by my blog to check on Team Spode. Feel free to leave a comment . . . even if it’s unrelated or just to say hello. I’d like to know who’s out there reading and any ideas or suggestions you might have. Although I can’t promise a daily blog about DDO, it’s starting to definitely look like a weekly or twice-weekly ritual. I play far too many other games to devote all my attention here, BUT . . . if I had some encouragement and some strange questions, well then that might give me enough volts to shock me into posting more about DDO. I hear cattleprods work wonders.

This week Team Spode was Lessah-less. It was strangely silent in voice chat because of this. There was no familiar hum of the banter between Lessah and Spode, instead there was just Spode, ranting on into the night about whatever his mind wandered to. There was an attempt at a pun or two and a fried dwarf joke, but for some reason they didn’t flow on Sunday like they usually do. I’ve been cutting back on the caffeine, so I’m going to play the moody card for myself and say that’s what was up with me.

Truth be known, it was kind of a painful night that could have used a shot of caffeine. I was leading the group, but didn’t really know where I was going half the time, so I was alt+tabbing out to a map.

LET ME TELL YOU, Ophiga was just up and ready to sit out and wait for us to finish our run through the Maraud the Mines instance after dying a couple times. No one likes feeling they’re off their game and/or lost, and I should have been better at communicating what was going on and where we were headed. Luckily we pulled it all together and got Ophiga back into the instance and scored a win. (OH, and btw, Team Spode members . . . if you still have gems or ore from that instance, you can turn it in to Behn in the main area of Zawabi's Refuge for a regular gem.)

After Maraud the Mines, I got the group sufficiently lost in the desert trying to lead everyone over to the Offering of Blood entrance without alt+tabbing to the wiki map. We did end up learning our way to the entrance very well by the end of the night after having TWO complete wipes. How about that?! We haven’t had ONE complete wipe in a long time, let alone two. Egads. I would say that those two wipes came with some good learning though. By the end we were finally playing together like Team Spode should . . . it just took us a while to get our groove and understand 1- the way Offering of Blood ebbs and flows with its waves of never ending drow and scorpions, 2- the Super Mario bridge jump past the electrically guarded ramp, and 3- the uniqueness of the mega end boss and his cronies therein.

Yes, oh yes, we were quite familiar with the run to the little crack in the spiral entrance of the Offering of Blood by the end. Painful.

We shall be doing the Offering of Blood all over again this week for Lessah, and I’m sure—ABSOLUTELY SURE—it will all go much more smoothly. No longer shall we be like lambs to the slaughter giving up our own offerings of blood—We’ll be kicking scorpion tail and owning that dungeon in perfect motion. *wink*

Thanks for putting up with me, Team Spode. I had a great time despite the challenges!

BTW, can I just comment on the general hotness of Ulan lately?

Not bad looking for a Canadian-bred stud in female's raiment. *whistle*

Happy Dueling!

10 August 2011

Team Spode in: Dwarf, it's what's for dinner!

The static group was refreshed and totally ready to rock on Sunday. We had our fun last week with The Pit and now it was time to set our sights back to The Demon Sands and more specifically The Burning City.

The quest starts innocently enough: Dude named Jaefan Druz in Zwabi's Refuge handed us the quest, which talks about these crazy firebrand gnolls who have a pretty good gig going on. It's an evil gig, but you can't beat Djinni-charmed slaves that serve two purposes: work them to death or use them as food!

We all checked our alignment, and yep, that was pretty much something we should be concerned about . . . except maybe Spode, but as we know, his alignment is usually directed toward loot or exp. He's a paladin of a different drum. When faced with helping save a dwarf slave above a boiling pot of stew in The Burning City, well, exp was calling and he just let him fry. ;) Afterwards Lessah continued to give Spode the biggest earful for the remainder of the dungeon. HAHA! Spode kept insisting that he did nothing wrong, just responded to the quest text, but that was no bargaining point for the silver-tongued lashing from Lessah.

As it turns out, Spode isn't the only one who has trouble with saving Gasper Goldpike. It appears a failed bluff check could be the culprit . . . there you go, Spode . . . when you go before the judgement seat and you're judged as a paladin and Lessah is there trying to remind everyone of the fried dwarf incident, just say it was a failed bluff check. You're welcome! (If we had saved the dwarf, there could have been a treasure room in it for all of us.)

Anyway, when it comes to the Burning City, everything about it is long. The run there is long (and somewhat confusing). The instance is long. The distance between you and the archers on the ledges above is long, but it was usually nothing my firewall couldn't take care of.

Just remember that you need to get all the way down to this point of the map . . .

. . .To eventually make it up to to the instance door.

Once inside, Sands greets you with many locked doors that you'll have to unlock on your long trek above a nasty lake of lava. If you do happen to fall into the lava, there's a small chance you may make it out by heading for the portal shown in the bottom left screenshot. GL!

Overall we had a great time working our way through The Burning City on Sunday. It was pretty profitable with all the chests in there to loot, and we did in fact free all the slaves to win the quest, plus a good number of optional slaves as well.

We got a good handful of bonuses, so I'd say overall it was a successful dungeon crawl last Sunday--not for the dwarf though. ;)

Oh yeah, and Ulan died once. Poor Ulan . . . always taking one for the team.

Happy dueling!

08 August 2011

DDO Update 11: Engage arm cannons! The Age of the Artificer is upon us!

There are some fantastic things coming down the pipe for DDO as Turbine will release Update 11, which includes all the greatness you've come to expect from a DDO Update and more . . . specifically, a new enclave zone (Cannith), crafting to 150, two new high level raids, a new wilderness area, three new dungeons, and possibly the most exciting announcement is THE ARTIFICER CLASS!

The Artificer promises to be an interesting class that blends the Rogue with something more arcane. Sounds awesome, and there's some pretty nice concept art coming out of Turbine showcasing what appears to be some of the artificer weaponry. Check these out!


The Cannith Enclave concept art is looking equally as awesome and definitely in traditional DDO style.

I can't wait to explore all that the Cannith Enclave has to offer!

To be sure, more details will be forthcoming, but for now, we'll have to wait for the release (which appears to be set for some time in September).

Happy Dueling!

03 August 2011

Where the expired jello pudding pops all ended up: The Pit

To start, I'm having one of those mornings where everything is trying to delay me posting about my static group's adventures. 1- I woke up late, 2- my dog is being a freak, 3- Lunar Rainbow YouTube videos . . . DANG YOU RANDOM SURFING!

This week we got a note from Ulan that he'd be out of pocket due to a real-life camping trip and a long weekend. Can you believe he'd skip out on our virtual camping trip through Ebberon to do something real-life? BAD ULAN, BAD! Virtual camping has a significant lack of mosquitoes and apparently a veritable plethora of black oozes and traps and whatnot (*insert recently gained new knowledge of The Pit, a very long adventure in the MMO Dungeons and Dragons Online . . . FROM TURBINE! MAKERS OF AWESOME*).

Because of our significant lack of Ulan, we decided to skip our adventures in the Demon Sands and instead run a few random quests. We ran a couple house Phiarlan quests (Caged Trolls and another quick one). These weren't too bad, and I do believe they helped earn Lessah and Ophiga their time warp amulet favor reward. Awesome. 'nuff said.

Then I had the audacity (oh the gumption!) to ask Lessah if she'd take us to see "The Pit," which I had heard a few rumblings about in my readings of the DDO universe. "Can we go to the pit lessah? Can we? Can we??" I said in my cute halfling voice. This she could not resist, for the halfling voice has its way with her, and hence, we were on our way to THE PIT in House Deneith. Lessah knew her way around and back again in there, so we just let her guide us through.

Of course that meant I died right off running into a trap. Oh Lessah laughed and laughed and laughed some more, just like she was Chewbacca and I was Han Solo. To this I say, "Laugh it up, Fuzzball, but you didn't see us alone in the south passage. She expressed her true feelings for me."

The pit is a very long romp through a tall and deep maze of an instance. Lessah had the instance broken out into three or four points that helped her know where she was. If you were to take me back into the pit, I'd still have no idea where I was. It was a lot of fun, and there were some very interesting areas to play around in here.

One of those areas involved a lot of "piperope walking" (that's my new invented word for tightrope walking on pipes - ywvm).

Everybody wave to Lessah and Ophiga, waaaaay up high! *wave*

Spode and I were relegated to valve duty while the gals did their part walking the pipes above. We did a good job of pressing their buttons. They did a good job of whatever it was they were doing up there . . . buying shoes maybe? (*GASP RUDE MALE COMMENT* I'm just kidding! I jest! Don't throw those expensive shoes at me!)

Our travels through the pit led us to yet another room of awesome. This puzzle room was where we most certainly unleashed the Borg.

At least it looks that way . . . or maybe that's the world's largest Rubik's cube. Either way, I'm pretty sure most of us were assimilated. (-signed 7 of 9 halflings)

Eventually we all made our way toward the final boss: The Avatar of Juiblex, which is a code name for "The Jello that Cannot be Flamb├ęd." I captured video of this, but it's nothing to write home about . . . it just shows me trying electricity, then force missiles, then acid, . . . then Mrs. Juiblex dies and we all hold our breath as Lessah triumphantly loots the Muck Doom! Ok, nobody got Muckdoom, but we did hold our breath. Mostly because dead juiblex smells like hydrochloric acid. (Speaking of which . . . MAN, I didn't even think to try disintegrate . . . pfft, what gives, Gleek!)

Next week we hope to have Ulan rejoin us from his trip to nature as we static-groupishly snuggle up to our computer monitors once again. Team Spode shall be returning to the Demon Sands to continue our adventures! Huzzah!

Happy Dueling!

01 August 2011

Team Spode vs. The Kobolds Now Available Online!

Just wanted to drop a quick note here on the blog, so you could point your browser toward the Beckett's Massive Online Gamer magazine website.

Behold! Team Spode vs. The Kobolds.

Not all articles from the magazine make it out of the magazine and on to the site (and for me, nothing quite replaces the experience of holding one of those great magazines in your hands), but I'm super happy this article is now being featured on Beckett's site (with a few additional screenies that weren't used in the mag) . . . and especially since a few people had asked about it when this blog was featured on the DDO Community spotlight concerning this article.

I really do believe that DDO is a great game for static groups. Hope you feel the same!

Go Team Spode!

Feel free to leave me any comments or questions, and I'll do my best to answer.

Happy Dueling!