The Undesirables: Quests I May Never Complete

DDO is a huge world. There are (at least) 405 quests and 37 wilderness areas.

Yet there are several I have yet to see, or may never see.

The Necropolis

(Credit: Claudio Pozos)

One down, Lynncletica…only 58,295 more undead left to kill. (Credit: Claudio Pozos)

Many people complain about the design of the “Ruins of Threnal” quest chain, and I understand why. But any issues there do not compare to the clusterfrak that is the Necropolis.

The DDO Wiki article alone shows how almost incomprehensible it is to know which NPC gives what to progress in which chain.

In the very few times I’ve run in the first part of the chain, I’m almost always overcome with confusion. The quest designs are (in comparison to others) poorly executed. It’s never clear what to find, what to do. With the fewer times I’ve completed part 1 and entered parts 2 and a little of 3, I’ve only become more confused, lost, and summarily frustrated and bored.

As I noted in a recent post, the undead are legion. The Necropolis illustrates this with mind-numbing effectiveness. Even possessing hale and hearty undead-bashing Shintao Monks like Lynncletica or Syncletica does not encourage me to seek out the quests here.

Long ago, prior to Cannith Crafting, I wanted to make runs out here for the rare Devout Handwraps, the only named Metalline of Pure Good-styled handwraps in the game at the time. No longer (not even for their red augment-slot version).

Bashing endless skeletons and ghosts is one thing. Bashing said undead for hours on end is as fulfilling as bashing trolls on the internet–who seem more numerous than the undead. No, thank you.

I will never likely see my Silver Flame favor higher than the first tier reward.

But then again…there is Update 23’s Epic Orchard of the Macabre and its terrifyingly awesome new loot there as well in Crystal Cove. The Epic Muffled Veneer is +20 Hide/Move Silently–with a “Mythic” version as well. And a favorite but hard-to-find Epic version of the Belt of Thoughtful Remembrance is attractive as well.

Too bad that most of the items are ML27 or better. I’m not inclined to keep characters that über for so long, save Szyncletica the star-thrower, and only because she’s a proven build I can use specifically for anything super-tough.

But maybe culling a few skeletons wouldn’t hurt.

The Xorian Cipher

The Necropolis has several quests where extra players are mandatory to activate switches or buttons to proceed. I’m all for parties and cooperation, which is part of DDO’s roots as a D&D game. But this mechanic completely sucks. A quest should not assume that a party is always available. (Now for raids, I can understand this requirement, by their very nature.)

That said, an alternate means to proceed (with some penalty for XP or loot, or HP) should always be incorporated in a quest design. Always. “The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar” showed this properly at its start, if I recall. A lever opens a gate, but requires STR. If you haven’t got it, some True Seeing or a good Search will find a way around it.

As with those particular Necro quests, I’ve rarely entered Xorian Cypher. In fact, I’m certain I’ve entered it precisely twice in my four years of gameplay.

And there were little reasons for me to do so. The loot there was around before the Monk class came to be, it seems. Even with the Update 19 changes to the items found there, there’s little to attract me to slay more skeletons or find a way around boring game mechanics.

Reaver’s Refuge

This area should be a nice pastime to play.

But, like the Necropolis, all these quests suffer from a poor kick-the-dog design that all but fully discourages my desire to complete the chain. These three tedious flagging quests eventually lead you back to Sor’jek, now sporting a nice lich look and a timed, shallow-story slay-it-all chain conclusion.

Enter the Kobold

What starts as a serviceable and aesthetically interesting dungeon and combat is suddenly c-blocked by a complex puzzle that can only be completed by most of us if you use the DDO Wiki article that explains it.

Only one player should enter it, else, the puzzle lights are not lit properly. It takes several tedious minutes with even a good puzzle-master in any group that dares to join you to complete this action-halting puzzle. And your reward for doing so, one chest, requires everyone to make their way through the puzzle to get it.

The end-fight is against some efreeti, a very angry death spell-casting kobold and massive fireball damage that even few evasive characters can tolerate for long. Did I mention the one-way hole into the quest that seals behind you, blocking any attempt to retreat? You can put a hireling there, but having them retrieve soulstones might be a bit problematic.

Monastery of the Scorpion

RynRestsAtShrineI do love, love, love the wilderness area surrounding this quest: Soami Gardens, and for good reason.

The area was, as the name of the quest implies, once a monastery, a home for Monks.

The area is filled with small shrines and DDO’s lovely pseudo-Shinto aesthetic.

There is an absolutely stunning bridge over a pond near the large remnants of the supposedly empty monastery. I was captivated when I first visited here.

The flavor text in-game is limited, however, noting only that site was abandoned after an apparent attack by Xoriat forces destroyed its caretakers long ago. Was this area just made up specifically for this adventure? If not, is there more to the story?

An Eberron tabletop rules wiki has some great campaign background on the world’s monastic orders. You do learn, in the course of the adventure, that this place was taken over by monastic followers of the Mockery, which does suggest that the developers did a little homework in fleshing out the storyline beyond making a place to play. I would’ve liked to know what general order had once lived here.

I’ve taken Ryncletica, in a past life, throughout the entire complex, including into the interior of the monastery where it’s very hard to access without a strong Jump skill.

This area is most tranquil, especially after slaying a rare encounter beholder that occasionally takes residence near the boulder-blocked entrance to the building’s interior.

You’ll forget all this beauty in death within the Garden once your joy is insta-killed by the overbearing objectives of the quest. The Drow monks (kamas in hand) and others inside are hardly challenging. In fact, these Mockery guys are just that: a mockery. They give monks a bad name.

Finding the various buttons to unlock the way forward isn’t bad. The highly trapped and force-fielded shrine and chests seemed quite irrelevant to the quest and unnecessarily difficult.

It gets worse from here. Once that puzzle’s forcefield is passed, your party needs superior reflex saves to survive getting to at least one switch that turns off the antigravity field that holds you against the ceiling and nasty spikes that zap your HP. If your party can figure out where to land on a sparse group of cross-beams, getting to a second switch disables a force field for a chest below. In either case, prepare for a gelatinous cube dropping down on you.

The multi-sided puzzle platform isn’t highly annoying but, like “Enter the Kobold,” delivers a harsh buzzkill to your combat energy, save the occasional respawning guard. Trying to navigate the various jets in the upper walkways to reach switches that activate a single jet to the end-fight only adds to the tedium.

And then, there’s the end-fight, starring Sannyasi, Engine of Destruction. A scorrow on steroids on steroids, he immediately trashes a central puzzle in his lair that’s intended for you to solve so as to kill him. No amount of stealth helps here by design: He charges once you pass a specific point.

You must either kite him about without harming him as others solve the puzzle, or fight him. Of course, he has minions to whittle at puzzle-solvers, even if you have someone that keeps the scorrow’s aggro. Should you land any blows on the scorrow, your blows permanently damage the puzzle lights, increasing the chances that the puzzle will become unsolvable and that you must kill Sannyasi yourself. He is not easy and dangerous at-level, with movement and attack speed that taxes even Monks.

Of course, killing him directly robs you of an extra chest, too. No, thank you.

Prey on the Hunter

"Well, Timmy...duck-and-cover isn't going to work here."

The wilderness area here, Aussircaex’s Valley, is a small snowy wasteland filled with frost giants. There’s little reason to explore here, save a few rare encounters and a portal gateway that’s always here where you can test your character’s DPS.

This quest is a gauntlet. You must triumph over the respawning giants and their friends to find a lever or two to open the way through a series of icy caves. I don’t mind this part at all. In fact, running like hell and using any creative means to go all-out to slay whatever gets in your way–and fast–has been a fun challenge in times past. Frost giants are tough.

You reach a mini-boss fight that’s invigorating enough. And then, yet again, your adrenaline rush is brutally quelled as you approach the end-fight, guarded by a extremely mood-killing maze. You have only so much time to find the single path that leads to the beleaguered white dragon that’s besieged by frost giants. Take too long and it dies, leaving you 30+ minutes you’re not getting back.

Once you reach the dragon, don’t expect her to be friendly to you. She hates everybody. As a result, you can accidentally accelerate her death since she’s a targetable hostile just as are all the giants about her. Very soon, a red-named frost giant joins the fray and the dragon’s death is assured if you cannot get his aggro and that of the other giants off Aussircaex.

Should you defeat the giant horde, Aussircaex comes back to her senses and holds off on eating you in exchange for offering you one of the dragon essences that you came for. Normally, here, I just take the item and leave.

Next time that I ever do this quest, I’m going to kill that smug dragon to emphasize how she’s so not going to be part of the Prophecy if I can help it.

She’ll wish she was enthralled again by a mindsunder after I filet her and her mate for dragon steaks and stew for the dojo’s next tailgate party.

Wow. See how frustrating these quests can be? I just threatened dracoicide simply because I got fed up with rescuing ungrateful beings in a nearly impossible adventure.

Stealer of Souls

Completing these three quests opens up a new battle against Sor’jek Incanni. Yep. You did kill him atop Tempest’s Spine. Now he’s back as a lich and using dead dragons as well as elementals and giantish magic, manipulated by The Truthful One to make an undead draconic army.

Sound exciting? Well, not really.

Again, fail to read up on this quest on the DDO Wiki and you’ll likely fail. It’s timed, and you must complete specific parts, activating runes or switches and slaying a mini-boss that controls part of Sor’jek’s machinery. The fights are tedious, long, difficult, and hardly fun: they’re simply a slay-them-all format. Worse of the four is a quest where you’re on rising platforms with air elementals and giants ready to blow you or knock you off, requiring you to reenter the fight.

Once all that nonsense is done, fighting Sor’jek is allowed (try to approach him before this and you’re killed by a force field). Not that the fight is exciting. He’s a haughty, huge bag of HP with little gained for you at the end of it all.

You see, throughout these four quests you’ve not only gathered dragon essences but Draconic Runes, collectibles used to create Dragontouched armor. While once, this apparel was worth the grind, the game now offers armor and clothing that’s far easier to obtain and is far more versatile.

Further, the runes come in many types that may or may not offer you what you want on your armor. You can convert three runes to gain a new random one, but that means you’d also have to run the Reaver’s Reach chain over and over again to obtain more of these bound-to-character collectables.

And did I mention how much of a pain it is in terms of time to enter and exit the Reach? You jump off a ship and have to swim to enter, and then you’ll need to get the Stormreaver to give you the Fly spell to fly up to the area’s exit. I don’t mind that the first few times, but yikes! Would it hurt to add a direct teleport to and from the Refuge and not to its airship?

The Restless Isles

QuinAndGholaFanConcluding my list of rarely-completed quests, the Restless Isles will leave those without a Shard of Improved GPS quite lost and confused.

The two quests, “Slavers of the Shrieking Mines” and “Bring Me the Head of Ghola-Fan!” aren’t bad at all.

Trying to get to either of them through the underwater paths from micro-island to micro-island is a bit tedious as you must find keys to unlock your paths if you haven’t a lock picker handy.

To give the area some credit, finding quests in the Kings Forest and Underdark is much harder.

I add this here because I have never, ever entered the raid here, “The Titan Awakes.” I hear its a pain to do, with bashing pillars in the right way and then using a frickin’ laser to zap a maddened Warforged Titan. It’s so off the list of things-to-do in the game that I’ve never seen an LFM for it in several years to even tempt me to try it.

Sir Geoff of Hanna noted a recent (successful but overly daunting) trial of completing the raid, very short-manned, with two hirelings. Were I to have  a Gamer Girl like his–and boatloads of patience and perseverance I lack–and he reminded me that there’s a pre-raid to complete first.

NOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENOPE

What quests have you given up on ever doing again?

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. saekee
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 12:41:30

    I only have Necro4 and refuse to get the other 3 for the reasons you state. I once jumped into the frost giant thing and then skipped it.
    I actually like the Xorian Cypher. Peeps run it for the gird, at least.
    Faithful Departed–will only run this if someone else posts an LFM
    The Malificent Cabal chain–also prefer to join others since I get lost in them. UtheBT is easy though
    Stromvauld’s Mine–will join an LFM; otherwise, EVERY time I miss some corpse and need to go back
    Others too–just can’t think of them…

    • teachersyn
      Oct 21, 2014 @ 13:44:15

      “Faithful” goes into the “Never PuG” list; it’s too easy for malcontents to screw this up and waste everyone’s time. Phiarlan Carnival is OK but “Under the Big Top” is nearly as tedious as “Souls,” with little loot I care for.

      “Stromvauld’s” is a fun one to use stealth to avoid crazy aggro and a good test of your target key to find the corpses and gems.

  2. ComicRelief
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 22:00:30

    While I agree that. especially for the Necro 1 series, it can be very confusing on how to pick up the quests (not too mention how easy it is to screw up the whole Necro 1 series), I actually kinda like the quests themselves. Well, mostly, anyway (hehehe).

    I also like Xorian Cypher, but yes, that 4-person mechanic is not my favorite (of course, neither is the ‘simultaneous kills’ mechanic). I’ve seen a video of someone who soloed it by forcing skellie archers onto the plates. I’ve never been able to do that, but with a hireling, owlbear, and panther, I have ‘soloed’ it. But then, one must be at least level 18 to do that. Or you can use gold-seal hires, like Cordovan did.
    😉

    • teachersyn
      Oct 22, 2014 @ 08:09:22

      I really wish they’d fix/simplify the quest giver mechanic of Necro 1 and Threnal, myself.

      SOME PEOPLE get all the perks to use Gold Seals. 🙂

  3. grimorde
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 02:48:28

    Faithful Departed is definitely one I don’t run, and I don’t like the Restless Isles either – I think I’ve run Ghola Fan & the raid once (and only because Micki dragged me through it)

    I don’t mind the Reavers Refuge too much but don’t usually run it because I don’t need the XP.

    I’ve never had a problem with the Necro quests though…..

    😀

    • teachersyn
      Oct 22, 2014 @ 08:12:30

      “Faithful” requires strong aggro management, with targeted fast killing. While ninjas aren’t great against undead, thankfully they’re perfect in that quest as ninjas can really eliminate the living in so many ways, and by design use stealth to manage aggro.

      But I haven’t been in-party with that one for years for the same reasons most people might say. Makes me look to the opposite theme of this post: What quests are you always attracted to playing?

  4. DDOCentral
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 10:22:49

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  5. Tholgrin
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 13:36:32

    I LOATHE The Pit. One might say I’m a grand master at piking it, though, should someone’s LFM be nice enough to do so.

    I used to hate Threnal, as well, but after hosing it up dozens of times and re-running the entire arc as a result, I’ve pretty much gotten it down to a science.

    I think I’ve successfully completed one (1) quest in Reaver’s Refuge. The only time I intend to go back is with my over level favor farming toon if/when I get the bug in my brain to push for the 5,000 favor mark; otherwise, it can stay there. (Random: you know an area is out of the way when it’s faster to use the Key to Eveningstar and run back through the cave to get to your ship. Seriously? I have to enter another plane of existence to speed up returning to Stormreach? C’mon, Turbine..)

    I actually like the necro quests, except for the two that require multiple people and the unspeakable Tomb of the Tormented. Getting the quests, I do in a very un-subtle fashion: talk to EVERYBODY and sort it out in the adventure log. 😀

    Last but not least is The Crucible – a.k.a. “skip for free as a VIP.” I’ll tag along and pull levers if someone else is doing the swim, but otherwise………

    • teachersyn
      Oct 22, 2014 @ 13:41:04

      Agreed on “Crucible.” It’s a good challenge but not for the timid, puzzle-haters or non-evasive low-swim character. I’ve gotten Le Pit down now and completely crushed any issues with it.

      Good tip with the Key to Eveningstar. Never thought of it as a very simple teleport. I liked Word of Recall, which takes you to the Temple of the Sovereign Host in House Deneith from anywhere.

      • Tholgrin
        Oct 22, 2014 @ 13:45:05

        That’s another good way back.. largely moot, though, since it doesn’t seem either of us will be spending much time there. ^_^

        I completely forgot about Restless Isles.. they’re on my no-no list as well. Far too much headache for rewards that struggle to qualify as mediocre.

  6. Lightning
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 16:56:04

    My least favorite quests are ones with wide open spaces. Gwylan’s Stand, Where There’s Smoke, Stormcleave Outpost, A Small Problem, and pretty much any quest not inside of a building of some sort, like the Pit, STK, etc…

    On top of this, the only quests I actively try to ignore are the Necropolis, because the undead suck.

    I’ve attempted the Reaver’s quests before, and that usually results in party wipes and player blaming. It’s just unpleasant.

    • teachersyn
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 08:15:31

      Interesting perspective. I’m fond of those wide-open spaces in Gwylan’s and Stormcleave because of the diversity of tactics. There’s only so much you can do in a dungeon space. That said, there’s greater control and immediacy in a tighter space like STK. Sometimes the feeling of being in a Lord of the Rings movie, with your initial quest of “Walk for a long distance” can make one feel deprived of getting your adrenaline rush.

  7. erdrique
    Oct 24, 2014 @ 08:54:02

    I haven’t really reached a quest that I would say I don’t want to every complete, however a number of quests drive me crazy. The Necro quests aren’t bad, although I find the Cursed Crypt extremely annoying because it is huge and it is timed. I just hate timed quests overall in general.

    The Reaver’s Reach, I can’t really remember when the last time I was out there. I don’t mind the quests per se, but you are definitely right, they all have grueling mechanics which makes them frustrating to run. I also haven’t been out to the Inspired Quarter or Amrath for quite some time either, but that is more because I have TR’ed before I had a chance to reach them, not necessarily because I don’t see myself doing them again.

    The more annoying quests for me would include the Coalescence Chamber and Sane Asylum. I can stand the continual climb in Coalescence Chamber and Sane Asylum can be extremely difficult on elite.

    • teachersyn
      Oct 24, 2014 @ 09:09:20

      Thanks. I’ll need to do a write-up on IQ. There’s still some good treasure/XP in there, and for not a lot of time invested. Not to mention that the Path of Inspiration can often be tougher to kill than anything in Amrath. As said in a past post, getting the Yugo potions is something everyone should do once. Yep, Sane Asylum is surprisingly tough, as are many quests where Xoriat’s involved (like the Madness quests).

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