30 January 2012

I Wheep for thee Team Spode: A Cold Night in Perdition

I just got done reading Ophiga’s version of events last night, and she didn’t like it. ;) It wasn’t my favorite instance of all time either (not by a long shot), but I think I had much more fun here than anyone (reference my kill count numbers compared to the group).

Hey, a Fire Savant sorcerer in a world filled with ice creatures . . . what can I say . . .

I asked the group which they wanted to kill, vampires or a doomsphere boss, and only Spode spoke up and said he’d rather kill vampires because he was loving his new vorpal blade so much. That meant only one thing to me: oh yeah, we’re going to go kill the doomsphere. (Yeah, I don’t know why I even asked the group where they wanted to go. I’m crazy with power like that.)

The run to the instance wasn’t too bad. I had glanced at the map beforehand, so I pretty much knew exactly where I was headed. We took down two named on our way there and got some loot and tapestry shreds. (See! It wasn’t all bad!)

The first thing I thought when I zoned into the instance was, OH, this is different. I mean, two weeks ago we were in a veritable oven, but this week we were in a winter wonderland, filled with many Jack Skellingtons to kill.
What’s this, what’s this?
Firewall up in the air
What’s this?
Gleek’s burning white things everywhere
What’s this?
I can’t believe my eyes
I must be dreaming
It’s a Fire Savant blowing up an icy lair
What’s this?!

Yeah, I was going freaking nuts in there! :)

I personally thought the wheep bosses that needed to be killed simultaneously were fun. 1) where else do you even get to fight a wheep besides Necro IV? 2) It was like the dragons last week where we would call out the percentages each of the brothers were at. COMMUNICATION IS AWESOME! Um, speaking of that, after some fun conversation about who was on top and who was on bottom (you know, because one of the wheep brothers is on a lower and the other on an upper level), Ophiga and I were on bottom and Spode and Ulan were on top *blush*

Ophiga and I were just a little bit ahead of the DPS curve, so we kited our wheep a bit until Ulan and Spode caught up, then we killed ‘em quick when both were around 20%. SIMULTANEOUS! Yeah, there’s no double entendre in this instance at all. It's too bad wheeps aren't called whoops, and then we could say we had a lot of whoopie. (yes, I just made a joke you might hear on What's My Line).

After both of the wheeps were dead, then we crashed through the ice and proceeded on to the mega evil Doomsphere, Cholthulzz, who just really ruined the night.

Thanks party pooper. Had he been easier to kill, I think this might have been one of my favorite instances ever! I mean, ice monsters everywhere with a slippery slide down a giant pit at the end? Double Entendre simultaneous wheep whooping? That has fun written all over it! You know what it’s like? It’s like encountering a pit bull in a playground. Sure you’re sliding down the slide and enjoying the ride, but there’s a pit bull at the end that will eat your feet off. Who invited the pit bull, Cholthulzz, hmm? TURBINE DID! Thanks for ruining my day at the park. ;) Ahh well, if I want to slide around there's always the Risia Ice Games.

Seriously though, that anti-magic garbage from Cholthulzz is the worst. This is one of those places where I’m thinking, man the Enlarge feat might have been a nice addition to my character. C’est le vie. It took over half the night to kill that undead basketball of death, but luckily he didn’t ever regen his hitpoints. That was eventually his undoing.

Given all of that though . . . I think the worst part of the instance was climbing out afterwards. Thank goodness for my rock boots or I’d still be stuck at the bottom of that thing with the Doomsphere and the rest of Team Spode. I don’t know if I’ll ever see those guys again btw. It was nice grouping with them. (oh wait, I forgot about the release button, DANG!)

Happy Dueling

23 January 2012

White, Black, and Blue in Gianthold Tor

A few weeks ago I was drafting up the schedule for the static group. At this level and with no real knowledge of exactly how long the various zones in the game take and with no knowledge of what instances we will fail along the way and have to try all over again, it's a bit of a difficult construction. One thing Spode had mentioned to me was that he wanted to exact revenge on the dragons in the Tor since, you know, we failed those a number of times at the "appropriate level."

I tried to stress with the other members of Team Spode that the Tor used to be end game content. We're talking Module 4 of DDO released back in 2007 when the level cap was raised to 14th. End game in any MMO is grindy. Companies need a reason to keep you playing through their content, right? The Tor is no exception. 20 dragon scales to make some armor! That sounds EXACTLY like the MMO grind of 2007. You know, kind of like grinding Ragnaros hoping for an Eye of Sulfuras . . .

Grinding Gianthold Tor is exactly the kind of thing we don't really want to get involved with when there are six more levels and tons of new content in DDO to explore still. However, Team Spode has a thing about dragons. They must all die at our hands, and so penciling in a trip back to the Tor when we're all level 15+ and after we've had a couple romps in Harbinger of Madness for gear was a no brainer.

Personally, all these years later, I wish there was a separate instance for each dragon instead of one "giant" instance just to get to the dragons. I also wish the requirements for 20 black dragon scales was lowered or done away with completely. It's old content that's now just a road bump. The whole thing should be separated out and changed . . . RETHOUGHT! Get with the times! It's 2012 y'all!

Of course, doing all that would probably require pulling people away from the real task at hand, which is developing the new Menance of the Underdark expansion. Um, yeah, on second thought, just leave Gianthold Tor the way it is . . . BRING ON THE NEW STUFF! I want to see Lolth!

Anyway, Tipa has a great write up on our experience last night with the dragons. You should read that. :) She sums it all up nicely.

Me? I just have three pretty pictures for you to indicate that we came, we saw, and we descaled the dragons.

It was really nice to finally put them all to bed with Team Spode. We were communicating well, we were tanking and off-tanking nicely, and aside from a few forgetful moments of what needed to happen while we were fighting these things . . . WE ROCKED. (Speaking of rocks, my rock boots went well with the slippery surfaces of the White dragon lair . . . I had no problem at all moving around in there *hugs rock boots*)

end of story.

So, now we shall return to Necro IV next week to continue slaying all those nasty undead and evil outsiders, but now we'll do it knowing there's three less dragons haunting us in DDO.

Well done Team Spode!

Happy dueling

21 January 2012

AHA! Screenshot or it didn't happen!

Well look at this!

Welcome new people coming to check out the Stormreach Sentinel blog. Y'all are welcome to stay here and try the steak.

Just to give you all some footing, I've been talking a lot about Team Spode's adventures and the Cannith Challenges lately. Also, my wife and I just recently decided to give podcasting a shot, so if you've got time to kill (and who doesn't, right? I mean it's just "time" that you'll never get back) come take a listen (We mention DDO in the first half of the show). As a heads up, we're mostly known over on another game's community (the Wizard101 community) as "The Friendly Necromancer" and "uber wife," but I play all kinds of games since I'm kooky like that and also because I'm a writer for Game Strategyst magazine (and formerly Beckett's Massive Online Gamer).

You should also know that I've been discussing a few Turbine point giveaways with Tolero. It may be worth plugging this blog into your RSS feed reader. ;)

I'm honored to be in the community spotlight! I'm a huge fan of DDOCast, DDO Cocktail Hour (and especially since Lessah used to be a part of Team Spode), and all things Dungeons and Dragons Online (*squee* about the new expansion btw). Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to say hello in the comments below.

Happy Dueling!

15 January 2012

Feelin' like a Big Mac in Orchard of the Macabre

Sometimes you just want to put a picture out on the Internet for no reason. Like I'm gonna make a post about Team Spode's adventures in Orchard of the Macabre, but let's be honest . . . this picture is all I really want to post.

The He-man Big Mac approves of the DDO MOTU. Also in the theme of the Masters of the Universe, He-Man Big Mac also approves of the institution of the Battlecat Mount as was mentioned in the latest DDOCast.

OH, also before I begin talking about the Orchard of the Macabre, Ophiga sums up our experiences in an out of cycle get together with the group last Tuesday to finish up Harbinger of Madness and take on a Cannith Mission.: read me!



Team Spode begins a new chapter in Necropolis IV. I know, I know. This expansion isn't everyone's favorite, but when you're pay to play and 3 out of 4 people in the group have purchased this expansion during yearly sales or what not, well, you pretty much have to do this area. If you're not an uber exclusive pay to play static grouper, you wouldn't understand. pffft. Just messin.

Orchard of the Macabre is a gigantic wilderness area that comes bundled with Necropolis IV. HUGE! We ran around in here and did one instance and covered only maybe a third of this adventure area. We took down two named if I remember right: Samit, the giant skeleton and we rescued Radhnik Odeen. Radhnik is kind of a small event where you get waves of undead who are attacking him, and you have to save his skin from THE EVIL!

As we were wandering around we stumbled into an instance named The Inferno of the Damned. Sure to find evil Big Macs inside, we decided to go for it. We ran it blind without referring to the wiki. We may do this instance again because of that, but you never know.

Inferno of the Damned has an interesting mechanic involving portals that port you between our world and the world of evil Big Macs aka The Oven. In that world, it's like being slowly cooked only to know that when you get out to the other side, hungry mephit children are going to be putting their grubby hands on you and taking you inside a playland filled with disease.

It's a bit of a maze to be sure. Dead ends, traps, and secret doors abound as you make your way from portal to portal. The main objective is to take down four Flame Broiled Guardians in each corner of the real world and then clean out the resulting four Cinderspawn Guardians in each corner of the oven world.

New to me was, OH MY GOSH I'M IMPORTANT HERE. Each of the torches to summon the Flame Guardians needed to be lit on fire with my magical skillz, and each of the torches to release the resulting Cinderspawn Guardians needed to be extinguished with my ice magic. I love when I feel important.

After defeating these eight bosses, you release the biggest mac daddy of all, Cinnis the Cinderspawn.

Team Spode slayed the Big Mac and collected our spoils, including the right frame of the sigil.

Unfortunately we didn't do the optional chest because . . . we didn't know about it. From what I'm reading, this is how you secure pieces for the Shield of Legend turn-in.

No worries, we still need to try this thing out on Hard Mode one of these days. :)

Next week we had planned to take a break and return to try our hands on the Blue Dragon in Gianthold Tor again, but . . . we'll see. We'll see.

Happy Dueling!

14 January 2012

Dr. Rushmoore's Mansion: Picture Portals? Soloed it!

A couple weeks ago I decided to give Dr. Rushmoore's Mansion a shot and see if I could solo it like I have on a few other Cannith Challenges. As to be expected, I failed the first few times and eventually took a look at the map and guide over on DDM's realm.

What I was overlooking the first few times through was the importance of smashing those breakables at the entrance. The picture portals is kind of a neat feature of this instance, but ultimately meaningless. They always port to a random location that's nearby and . . . not necessary. It was far more important to go through all the rooms in the entrance and break every single barrel, crate, and boudoir furnishing.

What I've developed for my solo runs is a little map of where I go.

It works a bit like this:

1- Enter the instance, cast up your cleric, buff, and open the door.

2- Clear out the entry area hitting every room you can find, breaking every breakable around, and killing everything AS FAST AS YOU CAN. (I can't stress that enough with this instance. It's called Dr. RUSHmoore's for a reason. You rush rush rush rush and rush some more . . . or "Moore" as the case may be). Killing is done on the run if possible. By this time you should have a number of crests.

3- Open the first door to the Gallery and gain an additional 2 minutes.

4- Clear out the Inner Courtyard with all the gargoyles and again break everything . . . mainly the tables, chairs and vases.

5- Using Q can help you see if there are any crests just laying around. Pick them all up.

6- Open the doorway leading to the library and collect an additional 2 minutes. If you're lucky you will have run into the foreman along the way. Make sure you talk to him so he will follow you around.

7- Continue pressing Q to find any crests laying on the ground. continue killing things until you make your way into the bathhouse. Usually you'll have to down an elemental or two in the bathhouse. Now you need to make a number of judgement calls.
* Do I have enough time to purchase two minutes of buffs from the foreman and complete the optional objective?
* Do I have enough mana and time to skip the shrines here or do I need to take 30 seconds to use it and buff?
* Do I have enough time to venture beyond the hidden door in the bathhouse to kill the mini-named (doesn't count as a real named) spider in the sewer beneath the mansion?
* Do I have enough crests to make it into The Backdoor area or do I need to hunt for more?

8- Once you've quickly made all your judgement calls you need to proceed down through the Backdoor area. Note that this place is FULL of traps. At the end of each ramp downward there is a cage with a locked door. The knock spell has easily been opening these doors so I can smash all the breakables within and collect even more crests. I've just been running/jumping through all the traps to this point. There's usually no time for me to disable them anyway.

9- Use more crests to open the door to the Exit to the Canals area. Gain an extra two minutes.

10- Swim across the water and use four more crests to open the door to the Assassin's Crib and take out Smiling Sam. Couple things to consider here.
* There are usually two to four crests down in the bottom of the water if you're looking for more crests.
* You have to talk to Smiling Sam and choose to attack him. I'm not sure what the diplomacy check does, but anyone named Smiling Sam must die.
* If you opted to not use the shrine back in Step 7, you're most likely close to being out of mana . . .

11- Make your way up to "The other backdoor" and use even more crests to unlock the path to The Boudoir. Gain an extra two minutes.

12- Kill your way up to the top of the ramp and pray you have enough crests to open up the door at the top of the ramp. If not, be aware that a metric ton of sonic traps and blade traps will spring up and if not kill you, kill your cleric.

13- Enter the Boudoir and kill all the npcs first before taking out Dr. Rushmoore's Succubi girlfriend.

At this point, you're pretty much done with this method. Looking at the map, you might think, well couldn't I go on to the Planar Observatory? Nope, sorry, the crests to open this doorway are on the other side of the door. If I was running this as a group, I'd definitely split the group in two at the Bath House and send the other team through the secret door and ultimately into the Banner Hall.


And that's basically how I solo Dr. Rushmoore's Mansion. I'm level 17 running it on level 15 difficulty. If I take down only one boss, I'll usually earn somewhere between 60-80 Goblets. If I take down two bosses, It'll amount to around 100-110 Goblets.

It's not a very "fun" instance to solo to be honest. It's very frantic paced and can involve failing simply because the random crest generator on the map wasn't very kind to you. On the other hand, I think this one could be a blast with a group. In fact, I can't wait to try this with Team Spode.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave your comments, questions, and clarifications if you have any.

Happy Dueling!

09 January 2012

Yaulthoon on Fail Mode!

Yup, here we are after our attempt on Yaulthoon on Hard Mode:

At one point we had him down to 33% . . . and were so busy killing the adds that we forgot to notice the pods at his feet.

Thus, this week, Spode steaks are on special.

Our main problem was getting separated last night, once we scattered to and fro, the mind flayers, beholders, and Xorian renders would tend to smoke us. Yaulthoon on normal mode? Well, you mostly just have to deal with Taken. Hard mode is harder.

Enjoy those steaks! We'll be back next week! It's looking like Necro IV and the Orchard of the Macabre is on the horizon for Team Spode. I keep trying to convince my cohorts to hit these Cannith Challenges with me. There is a dragon in one of these after all. Team Spode loves dragons!

Happy Dueling!

07 January 2012

Rock Boots are MINE!

Earlier in the week it was the Cloak of Flames, Bracers of Wind yesterday, and today . . . ROCK BOOTS ARE MINE!

The first thing I wanted to do with these new boots was go check out the Risia Ice Games ramp and see if I could stand on it without slipping.

Nope. I guess even some areas are still too slippery . . . even with the Rock Boots. It was kind of nice to see that the Iron Defender oil spit in Rushmore's Mansion had no affect on me though.

Speaking of Rushmore's Mansion, I had my first taste of that challenge today and have been getting schooled (as to be expected). It's definitely a different challenge than all the others I've done so far with significantly less (as in no) laying of torches in a pathway. That's a nice change. I don't want to say I'm burnt out on the challenges just yet, but if I end up upgrading these items to tier 3 or the epic 20th level versions, well, yeah . . . yeah, then I'll be sick of torches.

Rushmore's Mansion seems to be more about killing as much stuff as you can and breaking every barrel in sight. I'll have more to report when I finally figure this instance out. In the meantime, I've got some reading to do on DDM's realm.

Happy Dueling!

06 January 2012

Bracers of Wind are MINE!

I know on the last post I said I'd be shooting for the Frozen Tunic, but to be honest, I'm really digging the Infused Chaos Robe I got from the Harbinger of Madness quests recently. In the end, it seemed a bigger upgrade for me to pick up the Bracers of Wind instead. Check these things out (this is the level 16 version):

My wife made fun of the name of this item after I told her I had just got the bracers of "wind." ;) RIGHT, you better brace for my wind! Obviously the perfect compliment item to the bracers of wind would be the blasting chime. You should get a set bonus for having those two items: on successful hit 10% chance to cast stinking cloud.

So, all my efforts to get these items has now left me level-capped, dangit. Team Spode has a rule that no one character can be two levels above the lowest level character in the group. Thus, I'm level capped. It's a good rule. You really have to keep within the same level as your group mates, and to be honest, I have no problem with "losing" experience. We're all so close to the top now, that it's really no big deal. Also knowing that these Cannith Challenges never stop giving great experience is good to know too. I kind of see them as a great fall back for people who are on their next lives. There's plenty of exp to be had here. (Although I'm dying to try out Fire Savant III when I finally get to take level 18.)

Next up for me, I'm thinking I'll go for the Rock Boots. The slippery surface immunity, earthgrab guard, and stoneprison guard effects are awesome! Although I rarely cast poison spells, you never know when that will come in handy. Black Dragon bolt, anyone? I'll probably have to swap my Dex bonuses over to my gloves, but that shouldn't be too hard to do.

Happy Dueling!

05 January 2012

Risia Ice Games vs. Cannith Challenges

I talked a little bit about the Risia ice games last year. I was kind of bummed out that people seemed to be "cheating" to get the purple coins and I was just simply struggling to get the low level coins.

The Risia Ice Games made another appearance during the summer if I remember right (like Christmas in July or something). I did MUCH better with coin collecting then because I was in fact higher level with better spells and stats. I still don't use the "teleport" method. I just jump for my purple coins.

But in the end, it seems all I'm really searching for are the motes and the ingredients to make icy burst kits, but I'm not sure why . . . habit formed by the other three or so Risia ice games I've participated in. I was able to hand team spode a bunch of icy burst weapons back in July, but now it all seems we've moved past that need. So, I suppose I'm doing it for alts and . . . for money? Ok, i'll do it for money! :)

There is something hugely satisfying and fun about grabbing a big purple coin at the end of the jump though. That alone is addicting.

I also spent some time hitting the Extraplaner Mining quests last night since I'm still drooling over these cool gear upgrades. Quite honestly, I wouldn't mind having all of them. To those ends, I have a lot of farming to do. Quite honestly, I don't mind the farming since I'm enjoying soloing these challenges. Here's my component list after last night:

Needs more cowbell, I mean scorpions!

The Risia Ice Games and the Cannith Challenges are actually quite similar in some aspects. It got me to thinking last night, either I rent Ice skates for 10 minutes and shoot for the fabled recipe 5/20 from a purple coin turn in, or I spend 10 minutes earning a bit of advancement toward Cannith gear by laying torches and burdening kobolds. They both are like little mini-games within DDO. They both would end in a reward of some kind. They both are fun. Hmmm.

Right now I'm leaning toward the Cannith challenges. I think I want that gear just a little bit more than money or an icy burst weapon.

How's about you? Any plans to grab purple coins over the next week or two?

Happy dueling!

03 January 2012

Harbinger of Madness -- hard mode!

Last night Team Spode wanted to up the ante in Harbinger of Madness and run it hard mode. The hope was that this would bring us a few more gear upgrades and perhaps sprinkle us with a few more experience points. Normally right here in the post is where I would say, but boy were we mistaken! *inserts picture of Team Spode looking like steaks*. I can't do that this time though because WE ROCKED!

- Ulan picked up a Staff of Fleshshaping and the Insanity.
- Ophiga pilfered a Turbulent Epee.
- I snagged the Infused Chaos Robe.
- Spode had the pleasure of our company.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Team Spode loves Harbinger of Madness. Next week we shall attempt Yulthoon on Hard, wish us luck!

I have some fun video of Team Spode vs. Z'Miizith, the named beholder at the end of the "Missing" quest. (I like the name Z'Miizith because it makes me think of Mizithra cheese, which is delicious on The Spaghetti Factory's Mizithra Cheese Pasta with Browned Butter . . . man, I'm hungry right now) It's kind of hard to know what's going on in this video, but between my disco lights and the Beholder's prismatic sprays, it makes for a pretty awesome light show.

We were all pretty quiet last night unfortunately. Ophiga was suffering from a cold and anything more than normal mode tends to make us focus more on the task at hand and joke around a little less than normal.

Soon we'll be finishing up the Harbinger of Madness quest line and move on to something else. Necro IV has been calling us, as well as a few other areas. If you'd like to throw in your two cents on where Team Spode might head next, leave a comment below!

Thanks and Happy Dueling!

02 January 2012

Cloak of Flames IS MINE! More Cannith Challenges Fun!

So, I've been going a little crazy on these Cannith missions this holiday weekend. You know, lots of time and extremely distracted children can make for some awesome DDO fun.

So check it out!

Now all that's left is to upgrade that a couple of times and add some awesome crafting shards to it. :) BUT, before I go that route, I think what I'll do is earn what I need to secure my next HAZ WANT Cannith item, The Frozen Tunic! Here's what it looks like.

To those ends, I'm going to need a lot of Magma Shards from the Lava Caves: Time is Money instance . . . and I'm already well on my way . . . man I love holiday weekends. I was a bit surprised to see the experience rewards I was handed for soloing Time is Money on level 17 difficulty and finish 4 of the star objectives . . . behold the most profitable 15 minutes of play time for me EVA!

Needless to say, I'm sold on this Cannith expansion. I love these challenges now that I'm starting to figure out how to run them. The hardest part is getting over that hurdle. Once you figure out how a challenge works, you're golden. Remember when I was lamenting over a level 10 completion of Colossal Crystals and only earning 16 Jade Scorpions. Yeah, the jade scorpion reward for this challenge completion at Level 17 was a very welcome site.

167 scorpions . . . much better!

I'll try to post more information on how I'm soloing these soon, but not until I post about tonight's Team Spode adventures first, which are just a few hours away (we moved the game night this week to Monday night due to the holidays).

Happy Dueling!