Old Player, New Tricks.

Over the weekend I managed to get get into the Orchard and noticed like last life that the only orchard quests that are Lfmed on a regular basis are Ghosts of Perdition and Fleshmakers laboratory. Having done those several times I set about searching for hirelings who could cast the required spells for Inferno of the Damned.  I missed doing it last life because I would have had to solo it and because I did not complete it I was never flagged for Litany of the Dead.   Much to my embarrassment, I had forgotten that in Inferno the mephits could be used to light and extinguish the torches.  I had totally forgotten that aspect of the quest, and as a result I was swiftly able to finish it the quest even with some uncooperative mephits.  I do like inferno for the puzzle like nature of the quest even though I have gotten the solution memorized. It gives a much more satisfying feel when you complete it over a straight dps dungeon.  The whole experience made me realize that like most things in life there is always more to remember or learn.  No matter how many lives you have tucked under your belt, you can still make the most basic of mistakes.

I got to join an Lfm for the Harbinger of Madness chain. I have noticed a lot more Paladins running around now, certainly I am loving my sword and shield Paladin. I go pretty deep into the Knight of the Chalice Enhancement tree and dabble in the Vanguard Tree.  I can turn pretty much everything even on elite.  With the amount of Undead in the early levels, having a very good turning ability and being able to do it 15-18 times makes it a very smooth leveling experience. As it turned out it was only the two of us.  Myself being a sword and shield paladin and the party leader a two weapon Hybrid Paladin.  We managed too finish the whole chain on elite with just the two of us, which was made me pretty happy since the last fight of ‘In the Flesh’ can be pretty hard even with a full party. Paladins are pretty awesome I am finding they have great survivability, great self healing. and okay dps.  I know once i finish my last life as a Paladin I will be trying out the new swashbuckling Bard while missing my Pally lives.

I managed to get two alts into separate permadeath guilds on different servers.  I am excited though I am wondering when I will find the time for them since the bulk of free time is spent on the tr train. I am eager for the new challenge and new faces. I tend not to group a lot on my trs till i hit the vale. The grouping out of survival and necessity will be an interesting change. The more I play other mmos the more I am continually impressed with the community in DDO. I would say hands down it is the best, I have experienced anywhere.  And as always glad to be a part of it.



Life is Life

Despite having 18 lives on one alt and 17 on another, Tring is still my favourite part of this game.  This time around as I start my trio Pally goodness I end up with changes to my established order almost immediately.  Though I have been doing lfms much more deligently the last few lives this time I have been getting more new players. With new players of course comes well slowness.  They are not as knowledgible about things and you can not go full zergasaurus beast mood simply because they dont have the trifecta of past lives knoledge and twink gear to see them through.  certainly it was pretty enjoyable regardless since I am pretty happy to teach people and while going slower means less of the all mighty xp/minute. Though to be honest I rarely subscribe to that mentality as It leads to situations like when I did ghosts of perdition and we go beat down hard by Cholthulzz and his ability to drain scores of con in mere seconds.  This if course lead to plenty of people ‘taking breaks’ despite the fact they had all said they were in for all the flaggin quests.  So I did not get inferno do and thus was unable to flag for the litany farm.   Level 15 being a sparse level for quests, so I break from my mold and just did the remaining 15’s and moved on.  I had the same issue with Sleeping dust I could not get it done for quite a while but I did other things in stead.  The whole experience lead me to the conclusion that I have been getting lazy and perhaps even sloppy in my game play.

Heroics have for the most part ceased to be a challenge, and I doubt this will ever change for those of us deep into the tr life.  My vision of the difficulties would be to keep the same Names but change them. Casual would be simply be a practice setting, you would get no xp, no flagging, and no loot. new players can form groups to learn the quest before hitting it on normal.  Normal would be the baseline, for a full group of new players to complete the content.  A tr can solo it of course but I can not remember the last time i did anything on normal.   Hard would be for those New Players or first life groups that want a challenge, It would be hard going for fresh players with no resources but the challenge would be there.  A short manned tr group would be what this difficulty would be designed for.  Elite would be designed for a full group of trs with all the resources one would expect available to such people. It would be a challenge and would require teamwork and coordination to get through.  Requiring groups would go a ways to helping the lfm issue without any extra bonus incentives required.

All I want from DDO is…..

“You Can’t Always get what you want.” – Rolling Stones

The weekend has been wet wild and woolly. Though I did not manage to get in any play time with my permadeath Rogue, I did play an absolutely crazy amount of DDO this weekend. A big push was made by me to finish off my last barb life and it was successful. (I suspect i was playing 12+ hrs a day, but who needs sleep when you have coffee.) It started off on Friday with an impressive bang with the ask a Dev DDO Cast episode.

It is hard to describe my level of respect for the devs after that episode. Years of dealing with other MMos and other over-hyped launches expansions and just flat out zero communication, it is refreshing to see Turbine walking the walk instead of just PR speak. I know all about limited resources, as I would suspect most adults. We simply can not do or acquire all that we might like to have everything is in the hierarchy of needs. Bugs are annoying and yet exist in all games even the biggest seems to be unable to squish them all. With Temple being released in Update 25 I do hope that other iconic first edition modules get similar treatment. Against the Giants in DDO would certainly give me a nerdgasm 🙂 Though I would bet that doing GDQ 1-7 is out, with the current underdark Chain perhaps it could be tied in with Lolth trying her Shenanigans in Oerth when her plans in Faerun came to naught.

Saturday was the end of the Shroudapalooza tour which I was very ahppy to be actually able to participate in. A big hugasaurus to BoonieBew for running it and to Cordovan (And Turbine) for the awesome prize support. The DDO Community is pretty darn amazing and I am blessed to be a part of it in my own small way. Of course it was watching the stream of her event on my home server that got me back into DDO and all that came with it, including the despite to push the comfort zone of my playing. Which included actually doing some Three barrel cove for the first time. I never went out there because the xp was low and the quests are annoying though (Except for Ghost of a Chance the bonus xp for the puzzle was more than quest base xp). It was also pretty fun I will have to say to do quests I was absolutely clueless about. Mysteries most certainly can be awesome fun.

With my new found interest in DDO I did realize the old guild I was a part of was pretty dead and some members were pretty toxic. It was a sad decision to leave but I have a lot of hope for DDO and for the dev team to make this Game much better. So I found a new guild that shares my joy of playing and the belief this game is pretty funtastic despite its flaws. I certainly believe I came back at the right time and 2015 looks shiny for DDO.

Community Inspiration

‘You have your whole life to create your first album but only a year for your second.’

With my inaugural post out of the way it comes time to follow up with the awesome sauce(At least I hope). With the most recent DDOCast episode they had the Great debate, and while I found the debate part severely lacking and the guests all seemingly coming from the same mind set. Indeed the best discussion they had was about a non debate question. So while I certainly applaud them for the attempt, cause interesting debates are pretty damn hard to pull off. They did nonetheless inspire me to tackle some of the questions. It is as least in my mind the goal of any podcast or blog to inspire listeners to contribute. While I initially though to separate the questions I believe some of them to be intertwined and thus my answers will probably bleed over as well.

With that in mind I come more from a heroic stance, as I am always Tring rarely doing much in epics. Endgame raiding I have honestly found to but just an excuse for people to be rude and mean to each other. I have done the haunted halls once, never even finished the Underdark chain, not touched Stormhorns. I do have a completionist, and another toon going for triple by doing 3 lives as a class then moving on to the next. I also spend money on this game, which I suppose is blasphemy but I have more money then time so if I game is worth my time is it certainly worth what ever I spend on it.

Servers mergers tend to be Public Relation nightmares as to many players they signal the end is near, the game is on its last legs, it will go free to play, dogs and cats living together. The reality is not as exciting, since the company usually merges server to increase queue pops have the world more populated and thus to new players the game will still feel alive. A server merger in DDO would not solve the LFM issue as the biggest problem I see is insular end game guilds not wanting to include new players into the fold. The result is much like a situation in Canada where for years no one wanted to hire trade apprentices, so of course people stopped entering the trades. Fast forward a decade or so and now everyone is clamoring for more trades people. Journeymen are getting triple figure hourly wages. The core solution for the lack of lfms is for tr vets (myself included) to simply stop soloing everything and put up lfms. It make that particular a little slower to finish but an investment in the new players now will pay dividends in retention and the feeling of community. A merging of all the servers will not solve any of the major problems as right now player retention is an issue. But it is not an issue Turbine can solve, plenty of other games have tried to improve the new player experience and ended up only making things worse. (GW2 is a prime example at least in my opinion.) Since I work the afternoon shift I tend to always be outside of prime when I play and I can say whether it is 1 am, 8 am or anytime in between I have never had a problem filling lfms I put up. We do not have a population issue we have just become insular and isolated. The community of DDO stepping up to make the game more inviting to new players is by far the easiest and best solution. It will require all of us to be helpful, patient, and kind. In short all of the things we teach our children.

By its very nature the Gaming industry is very competitive and high risk. A single bad game can sink a company, or result in massive layoffs. (IE Star wars the old republic.) Those would work in the gaming industry rarely do it for money it is like teaching and cooking in that respect. People do it because they have a passion for it. Like wise with Astronomy there are so many applicants for so few positions company’s can cherry pick the best of the best. Layoffs can mean many things. Common examples of layoffs include outsourcing customer service and payroll to various companies specializing in this aspects(As was the case in the company I work for.) They could have grown over the years to include a twisting labyrinthian command change as various idea or projects were implemented but not followed up on so no one really knows who is in charge of what. When time comes to clean up the management structure so there are clear non overlapping lines of responsibility layoffs can occur(Again something I have seen multiple times). Even Blizzard is not immune from high profile visible figures leaving the fold to chase other dreams. Those working for DDO, I am completely confident, highly skilled and passionate about their work. I know from friends who work in the gaming industry the hours are long pay is not that great compared to working with the same skill set outside the gaming industry but this is what they chose to do.

Perky Permadeath

Finally got around to trying out a permadeath Character, as a break from the TR merry go round. It is certainly a lot more challenging than anything I have done before. Every little thing matters now.

I started poorly opting for the hafling quarterstaff rogue to take advantage of dex based attack and damage. Nevermind that I don’t get the dex damage enhancement till 3rd level something I most certainly forgot at creation. The hottest fires forge the strongest steel right? As of this post, I have Sacrifices and then the Daunting Miserys Peak left on Korthos. I also have an elite streak of 5, just figured I would throw that out there. 🙂 Stay tuned for more high jinx.