One day I was driving home. Often my mind has one or two sub-processes going as I do so, either about personal things or (take a guess) the game, crunching some numbers or ability here and there.
I had slipped in a CD into my car’s player to listen to some great orchestral music based on a popular game series when it hit me.
I love being a Swashbuckler because of another game.
Flynncletica plays much like playing Link, the eternal hero in The Legend of Zelda video game series.
All I’m missing is a Master Sword.
I need to do some searches in a DDO item library.
The Fighters Aren’t Different, But the Game Is.
There are many similarities that I needn’t fully explore here, especially since any of you MUST have played a version of this game over its 25-year history. If you haven’t, stop reading this thing and go do so. NOW.
But, in short, DDO’s Swashbuckler can perform advanced sword tricks, can use magic offensively and defensively, can shield block–and look good doing it all. Link has had years looking much better at this, however.
But it’s the classic sword-and-board combination that plays right down my alley. I’ve missed this in playing Monks all the time in DDO, though I love them so.
In fact, when my gaming laptop suffered irreversible failures a couple of months ago that forced me off DDO for a spell, guess what I did to keep my gaming jones happy? Yep, a copy of Skyward Sword.
But DDO lacks some things that Zelda always has in abundance.
- A clear enemy. Link generally has to fight many mini-bosses to get to the big boss (often, Ganondorf). In DDO, one day it’s this group or this guy or this goddess. DDO is more like Zelda for adventurers with attention-deficit disorder (SQUIRREL).
- A trial of virtue. Link often has to earn his happy ending by proving himself through your ability to not only fight but solve very complex puzzles and mazes in many dungeons. Most things aren’t given to you free. In fact, they’re often ridiculously hidden. While we get the adventurer kiddie-pool of Korthos, Link gets a baptism of fire often at the very start.
- A clear sense of accomplishment. In most versions, obtaining The Master Sword. When you get that thing (particularly in A Link to the Past) and the triumphal Orchestral Bombardment of Link’s Theme comes crashing into your ears, you felt you have officially Taken Several Levels of Badass. And a good thing too, ’cause the minute you get it, you have a new plot to rescue a now-kidnapped Zelda. And heavens help anything that gets in your way. Same is true for the mini-bosses. Each of them often make you feel initially that, despite your current equipment and training, you’re immediately out of your league again and require you to do more than simply attack. Zelda games excel in forcing you to think how to kill that boss. Hacking and slashing blindly will get you killed.
- Someone to save. Yes, it’s old fashioned, but having only one goal (saving the princess) isn’t really a bad idea. We DDO adventurers are running hither and yon, to fight this here and that over there. In our world, there’s always some spider goddess trying to destroy the world or some undead dragon doing things for the evulz or some ethereal dream creatures or hordes of demons or whack-a-doo human wizards trying to take over the world. Link has just one job, and he’s apparently eternally destined to do so. Bonus points in that he is very good at what he does, no matter what incarnation.
Leveling Up: DDO is Far Faster than in Zelda
One thing DDO has over Zelda: Advancement speed. You could spend DAYS exploring Hyrule or wherever Link ends up before he feels a bit more powerful. It’s a very nonlinear world, filled with many, many hidden caches of gear and rupees (currency) as you branch out, even in the first game made back in 1986.
Combined with game objectives that lock you out of exploring everywhere until you obtain some items or speak with someone, DDO is more open and vast than Link’s worlds, even as low-level character, with a few restrictions such as the Devil Battlefield. Games like Zelda heavily influenced the player walk-through guides. No one person would ever learn that exists in a single Zelda game. The invention of the wiki format has made these guides that more dynamic and accessible.
On a first-life character, with all the experience bonuses I gain as VIP player, Flynncletica cannot stop herself from accelerating to level 18 at present. Since she practically stands idle while generating boatloads of XP as a result, I’m trying to concentrate on quests that yield material benefits (loot) as well as experience. I’m turning her attention to the Shroud flagging quests for Green Steel, and then to the Devil Battlefield for Yugoloth favor for their special brews.
So, back on topic somewhat, what would be a “Master Sword” for a Swashbuckler?
Let’s stick to Heroic-level longswords and rapiers. I already know that a Thunder-Forged sword would be the most powerful at its core.
- There’s the Turbulent Epee at level 14. Nice. Cuts clean through many things with a bit of elemental damage.
- I appreciated the Dueling Schlager. It cried BITCHSLAP at anything it struck with its higher damage.
- My current go-to weapon is a Fell Rapier of Ice. I’ve an affinity for frost weapons. Ice is nice. Training the re-tooled Warchanter tree and its preference for ice attacks is feeding my love of frost attacks.
- I couldn’t see many longswords of quality for Heroic use.
But nothing really stands out (barring a tedious grind for crafting a Colomel or Mournlode weapon). Or, should I say that nothing clearly meant for the Swashbuckler–my Flynncletica–stood out.
DDO lacks true unique weapons…ones that should only be in the hands of a small number of characters, if not only one, period. I mean, it’s not very rewarding, in a way, that you should be able to find copies of Excalibur for you and 10,000 of your friends, right?
The Raider’s Boxes most of us received around Update 20 gave a few of us that feeling of generic accomplishment. You win DDO, player #2446774!
We’re also missing the uniqueness of the singular hero. Link has allies, yes, but he’s the Hero and the ultimate burden of kicking everyone’s ass falls solely on him. Compare that to adventurers in DDO that get a lot more help. Link is the ONLY protagonist in a very large world.
Just days after I created Flynn, I realized that several other characters had significant collections in their ingredient bags. I poked through them all and realized I had something that I’ve written off on hunting for long ago: All three ingredients to make a classic Epic version of the pre-Update 17 weapons.
I’ve played for a few years now and never, ever had a complete set of these items until now, much less the ingredients needed for something I wanted or would find useful.
When Flynn reaches her Heroic pinnacle, she’ll have this masterful sword awaiting her.
But there’s always a better sword in DDO. Flynn is awesome, but she’s no Link.