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!