Teacup Slayer: Clever Uses of the Mundane

The post title comes from a scene from The Chronicles of Riddick. Just watch, learn, and be inspired.

Teacher Saekee is a clever one.

In a recent thread, he’s noted his use of the Flaming Sphere spell in the game during his adventures. What was considered a near-useless spell by some people suddenly turns into something quite the opposite. I’ve used it a few times and love it’s versatility.

But Saekee’s discovery isn’t the exception in the game. There should be plenty of little-used abilities, spells or skills in the game. Or, perhaps you take a common ability and apply it in an unconventional way.

So why aren’t more creative uses of them posted on the DDO forums?

Lack of imagination. Many players feed on action, on better gear, on power. DDO is a great combat game. But many players don’t see anything more to the game than slaying stuff. They are  missing the D&D element still present in DDO, especially if they’re coming from non-roleplay MMOs.

As a result, the flavor of the D&D gaming verve can be lost–the tabletop gameplay that fosters the imagination to generate ways to complete a quest differently, when your dungeonmaster has succeeded in convincing your party that they are outmanned and outgunned, and using force in the usual way is not their best option.

Sometimes the game allows you to be a little different.You just need to know where to look.

It’s a New Year. It’s fun to imagine what new things await us, but it’s always a blast to learn a new way to swim within (or outside) the predictable currents that is DDO.

My gift to you is one I discovered earlier in the year: How to complete the final puzzle and fight in “Siegebreaker” while completely alone and controlling respawns by weaponizing stealth. Here’s what I wrote in the DDO Wiki article, after completing this trick with Kiricletica.


Stealthy solo players (no hirelings or summoned creatures) have a second option to clear the end fight. Buff before you enter the hole. Next, attack the hag, always keeping her in the center of the platform. Immediately go into Sneak (and use Invisibility if possible) each time the hag stops fighting, staying within the circle. The waves of her reinforcements will appear but should not see you with sufficient skill, allowing you to complete the puzzle with the simple circle route.

WARNING: The pads are trapped; this method requires Evasion to escape serious damage from the pads. Once each puzzle is solved, the enemy portal will disappear, leaving you to kill the small amount of reinforcements to force the hag back in the open.

WARNING: This procedure will fail if you have any lieutenants remaining, which will appear at this point. Most are red-named and will defeat most stealth tactics. Further, they and their minions will wreck the puzzle. Find and destroy all lieutenants before using this process.

You can freely repeat this pattern to the last wave where the monsters mounted on the rust monsters will not move as you sneak to solve the puzzle once more, which completes the quest. Loot the end-chest fast and use a quick teleport method if possible, or stay on the far wall opposite the idle army as you finish out.

A party should be able to do this as well–if they use invisibility rapidly, have not spawned any bosses with True Seeing, and stay in Sneak and absolutely still in the center while a person with high Hide/Move Silently skill and Evasion completes the puzzles.


 

So what “mundane” skill, spell, weapon, feat or enhancement do you employ, yet many others do not?

As a New Year gift to all, please post your discoveries and how to produce them.

 

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Ranger Hunter Soldier Spy

artemistika1I have a Bard, a Rogue Assassin and many many Ninja Spies.

I haven’t played a Ranger since Pynthetica’s first life, before the new stealth AI retool and enhancement trees.

And I’ve never tried out one particular flavor of Ranger that deserves some attention with the stealth revisions. This way I can learn more about this class path and shore up information in the Stormreach Shadows stealth guide.

So, say hello to young Artemistika, my first Deepwood Stalker. She just might be the best overall stealth fighter because of her very specific skill set.

The Shadow

What stoked me about the Stalker is the incorporation of stealth with powerful ranged attack. At first it struck me as a support build, like the Rogue. The Stalker seemed lacking, at first, the sustained DPS and imbue versatility seen in the Arcane Archer or the melee complexity of the Tempest two-hander or Ninja Spy.

But, reading between the lines as I try to do, I began to see more of the sniper and the rogueish stealth master inside this Ranger that I had to try, with a touch of an old idea I once tried in a lost Artificer.

The Stalker’s makes for the missing imbued arrows of the Arcane Archer kindred with the benefit of ranged Sneak Attack damage, allowing a powerful burst hit of damage provided that you strike fast and first, or preferably have an aggro-magnet keep the attention of everyone. Combined with high stealth skills, the Stalker can pick their targets and kill with only a few quick volleys before cloaking into the shadows to hunt again.

artemistika3

Stealth masters in-training always go to see Ulluvian, patron saint of stealth masters, for chats and tips. If he can sneak home through a Droaam horde, so can you.

This Ranger is naturally stealth-able. Camouflage is especially potent to allow me to sneak past a mob at closer range than any other characters, Rogues and Monks included.

The Faster Sneaking skill is important as Rangers don’t quite move as fast as other classes and need that speed edge. The Ranger’s ability to improve Hide and Move Silently skills for supporting players looks very handy as well.

I’m looking forward to joining more parties with this build. While slower than the ninjas, Mistika makes up for stealth speed with better Hide scores. Eventual training gives Hide in Plain Sight, making Mistika likely the best stealth master because of her ability to weave through enemies at closer range than anyone else I have.

The Sidekicks

I’ve loved the ability to summon other creatures. I experimented with this summoner role with my second, late Artificer named Ayvanna. She trained her normal Iron Defender but also added in a second and, I think, even a third Defender to have a pack of dogs that grabbed aggro while she attacked with her crossbow and runearm.

When Pynthetica was an Arcane Ranger, she also had a simple Summoned Ally as befitted her spell abilities, occasionally using her Wild Empathy to add a second charmed creature.

With Mistika’s Stalker enhancements and a few others, I’m weaponizing my NPC helpers.

It’s one thing to charm an animal. But what if the animal I charmed with Empathy was also a Monster Champion (extra buffs, tougher to kill)?

What if I added the Augment Summoning feat (+4 to all ability scores, increased health and fortification) to this? And how about some Harper Leadership training (Your hirelings, summoned, and charmed creatures gain up to +4 to all ability scores)?

A quick check on the forums (with the answer given by the FuzzyDuck himself) confirmed that Harper Leadership and Augment Summoning’s boosts stack on your direct hirelings and summons, although not your hireling’s summons.

And finally, let me use my Empathy powers as a Fascination-like power against Vermin, Elementals and Magical Beasts if I feel like it.

So level 7 ‘Mistika (readied as a Veteran Status II character) tried this out on an Elite “Where There’s Smoke.” (Level 5). With Flower the hireling in tow, we popped off orc after orc. But the fun came when I remembered the wolves in the area.

A better use of Monster Champions: Turn them to your side and buff them up further.

A better use of Monster Champions: Turn them to your side and buff them up further.

In both packs there was a Champion among them. One use of Improved Wild Empathy later and that Champion was my dominated bitch (pun intended). A use of Charm Animal and a second doggie turned to my side, wreaking havoc with the neighboring orc parties.

This Christmas weekend, I was so enamored with ‘Mistika that I played her all weekend. It will be a bit before her best summoned creature is available, but I summon it in a pinch when I need more aggro-magnets. I can charm or dominate as many animals as they are available and as fast as my cooldowns, spell points and Empathy turns allow.

Improved Wild Empathy is really a Domination spell, so for five minutes, I have an extra helper unless I have to climb or drop off somewhere; sadly, such creatures cannot follow. Adding a charmed animal adds to the confusion. The benefit to Empathy powers is that they aren’t dispellable or breakable. My charmed animals stay that way, even if damaged. And these special charms can’t be removed even if you had Bard levels and used a Disarm Charm ability.

With Stalker training, your Empathy powers give you the ability to halt elementals, vermin, and magical beasts in their tracks. I knew just the quests where I wanted to test this ability. In “Haywire’s Foundry,” I smacked Empathy on the two fire and sole earth elementals that appear at the start, locking them in place for 5 minutes to kill them without retaliation.

That’s an awesome stopping power I also used in “Spies in the House” (the fire elementals with a possible and deadly air elemental) and against air elementals in general–I hate their knockdown powers.

This special Fascinate isn’t broken by anything, including damage. I’m limited by the number of Empathy turns I have, but then, using rest shrines isn’t as problematic for Rangers as it is for young Monks.

The Style

Artemistika is an Elf to gain greater weapon damage training for longbows or her rapiers with racial training. Her Mark of Shadow dragonmark adds Invisibility and, eventually, Shadow Walk, Displacement and eventually a nasty neg-level attack for crunch fights.

While Bow Strength improves the STR modifier to give longbow damage for Rangers, the Elf can train the racial tier 5 ability, Aerenal Grace, which lets DEX become the damage modifier, overriding Bow Strength. So, all ability points go to DEX and nothing but DEX  for maximum to-hit, damage with a little AC and improved Reflex as a bonus. at least as much as maximum dexterity bonus allows.

I’ll add what I can to CON (HP) and WIS (Will save for Empathy and charming) with items, available enhancements and tomes.

Another racial ability, Skill, adds 3% untyped Doubleshot and much-needed Dodge while bypassing 3% of enemy Dodge.

The Stalker build emphasizes quick, powerful strikes with ranged Sneak Attack damage. The old prestige enhancements name was “Deepwood Sniper,” which still holds true in flavor in the succeeding tree.

Like Suki, Mistika shares the Killer enhancement, which adds a 5% Morale Bonus to “Extra Shots” (that’s the text; strange that it doesn’t say “Doubleshot”) for a few seconds after a successful sneak attack kill, stacking up to 4 times. That’s a 20% Morale Bonus doubleshot bonus I sorely desire, which will stack with any Enhancement bonus items I can find. Makes the “Mark of Death” raid more attractive, where the Epic Quiver of Alacrity rests.

artemistika4

The Stalker gains serious attack boosts when using Precise Shot’s Archer’s Focus, a stance which magnifies her attack the longer she stands still, especially with the final core ability that adds more stacks to this ability. Farther potency to very distant ranged attacks improves as well over other archers, where by level 20 I’ll always be considered in Point Blank Shot and Sneak Attack range.

But to keep the Archer Focus bonus, Artemistika has to keep control of the field. That’s why she’ll use her charm and summoning powers to keep her NPC charges up and attracting nasties.

To keep her animal army hardy, she can eventually apply elemental resists, Freedom of Movement, energy protection, and more. While Mistika’s hireling’s summons don’t gain the ability score boosts, the additional bodies in the crowd make for a formidable attack option.

Stalkers gain sizable positive energy spell power boosts as they grow. Combined with points in Heal as a class skill, her otherwise-weaker Cure Light and Moderate Wounds spells are very effective. I need it. My miss-chance effects are poor, with Dodge getting capped by the use of light armor, and no Blur or Incorporeality yet. Blur is my priority to ward off some melee and ranged damage. I’ll need to add in a Dusk (10% Incorporeality) item/augment somewhere, and do what I can in Dodge. Of all the things that worry me is generating enough AC and defenses. Having the light armor gives a small PRR bonus to ward off some damage.

Mistika does have a Shadow dragonmark, so she’s got a few but long-lasting Invisibility turns, and can train Shadow Walk, Displacement and even a special negative-leveling power if AP allows it.

Hide and Move Silently are naturally trained up, and she’s got great Spot bonuses. I’m going to boost that Search power up a bit more for finding those hidden doors, or look to Elven skills that might work if I have the AP to train them.

The Strategy

Artemistika first worked on her House Deneith favor for sturdy arrows. These have greater enhancements to them and drain far slower than standard arrows, so its a matter of having a couple of wide quivers of a 1000 each. I also carry Adamantine and Cold Iron ones for special needs. Sure, getting Conjured Arrows from the Ranger AA tree is possible but that’s AP I can use for something else.

I also zoomed her through some Cannith challenges for a Frozen Tunic, the first time I’ve ever spent time in such challenges outright with a new character. Not using it as much right now but I will before it’s freezing DCs start to be less effective.

At first glance, the special ranged attacks don’t look like much. And then I discovered the joy of Sniper Shot. This, like the Monk’s Unbalancing Strike, is a Bluffing/Deception shot. It’s got a relatively fast 6-second cooldown, making it great for me to spin about enemies and add in some extra Sneak Attack damage while they are bluffed.

Manyshot stays reserved for times where my aggro-partners are becoming overwhelmed and I need to clear out a powerful mob. I also use it against HP-heavy red-named enemies, of course. I miss the faster cooldown of Ten Thousand Stars on Pyn, but I’m getting by nicely.

As a first-life, Mistika is leveling crazy-fast, already at level 13 with a banked level as you read this. I’m prioritizing quests with high XP, specific favor rewards or gear and will shortly rev down the XP to complete favor and gain gear on low level quests I’ve skipped. Quests like “The Pit”, “Stormcleave Outpost” and “Spies in the House” were easily done. Had more problems with “Tear of Dhakaan” and couldn’t complete when I hit the respawning town room and I left my hireling active with fatal results.

The Serpentbranch bow I had on Pynthetica (bound to account) is still her go-to bow for most attacks, although I just crafted up a nice Aligned of Greater Construct Bane bow with an empty red slot for Maruts and other robots. Any bow that I can augment helps a lot with general DPS.

Same goes for finding items that add bonuses to Sneak Attack damage. A Halfling’s racial bonuses, in hindsight, would make an improved sniper, but the elven DEX-to-damage power might be offsetting this. A kindly guildmate (you know who you are) donated the Bracers of the Hunter to me that help with a bit more Sneak Attack damage.

I think a Ring of the Stalker is also in my immediate future, especially one for level 20. That Manslayer effect would be awesome and the exceptional Sneak Attack bonus damage welcome, not to mention some miss-chance effects.

Black Dragonscale Armor seems also in the future. I’ll have to farm for scales in Tor with the nearly implacable Szyncletica.

I’m wearing Deadly/Accuracy gear and a Seeker VI item with Improved Critical: Piercing trained. It’s making the critical hits quite potent.

So, to sum up, Mistika plays a little more like an Assassin. She brings her melee/aggro team in to lure a mob. This requires stealth; you get your summoned team close enough to auto-attack while keeping yourself from being seen.

This team is buffed up to stay alive, generating aggro just as I reveal myself and begin picking off the enemies that my team damages, minimizing the risk of hitting something that turns away from the pack and towards me. The sneak attack damage is key here. I’ll have special shots that outright kill weaker enemies, and if I can add points to Killer and other critical threat/hit effects, the damage stacks.

You just don’t go all pew-pew with a Stalker. This is a hunter. You have to deliberately arrange and pick a target for best effect.

Again, all of this ties to the stillness of the archer. Unlike my other ranged attackers like Szyncletica the thrower and Pynthetica the Zen Archer, Artemistika avoids movement while shooting. She’s gained Improved Precise Shot as a Ranger, but she’ll rarely use it since Stalkers can gain bonuses to Archer’s Focus with Precise Shot. The longer she stands still, the greater the damage.

The Sights

artemistika2The coolest thing about Mistika is her appearance. She looks angry and all Action-Girly powerful.

I invested in a new cosmetic armor to seal in the look. I don’t normally go for blondes, but for Mistika, I’ll make a happy exception.

I’ll talk more on her Epic future as she quickly comes to it. Shiradi Champion and Fury of the Wild are natural fits, but so is Primal Avatar, especially with the summoned/hireling buffs there that might be sorely needed if soloing an Epic quest. Shadowdancer looks great, too, for better defenses and more Sneak Attack die.

Tranquility

winter monastery exterior winterI’ve been pretty stressed of late, so this week is quiet in the dojo as I try to emphasize the holy in this Christmas holiday weekend.

Outside the dojo, an elven figure studies the snowy structure, filled with the monastics and their acolytes in prayer and meditation.

More on this new adventurer later.

For now, to all of you real-folk, may the new Light of the World that comes this night shine out to warm you all, to illuminate both mind and soul. May the Light of the Christ Child help you to learn that the world and its ways are not all that there is, that truth is as much a constant as the speed of light and the formula of general relativity, for it is He who is Constant of Constants.

May you and your friends and family find joy and peace this Christmas, throughout the Twelve Days after and into the New Year, all of you on this good, good Earth.

And while you’re in the game, away to tend to the needs of the worlds of Eberron and Faerun and the lands about Xen’drik…

May your characters always have buffs, may your enemies retreat at your greatness, may the giant stumble and the dragon be deprived of snacks, and may your chests be always filled with shards and seals and scrolls and great prizes!

Better Gaming Through Anime

Exactly what you'd expect to hear on a vulnerable raid, right?

Exactly what you’d expect to hear when a boss is vulnerable during a raid, right?

Plenty of you have read of my recent character builds, many inspired in part through two anime programs: Sword Art Online (SAO) and Log Horizon (LH). Both shows are now airing a second season.

These two programs, based on light novels, aren’t quite like the usual fantasy, supernatural, mecha or other anime plot themes. Both are heavily influenced by MMO gaming design and concepts, including monsters, character classes, terminology, strategy and relationships to current technology.

Both second seasons have illustrated gameplay in ways that, I think, would be a great primer to people who are new to the multi-multiplayer online format, and new to Dungeons & Dragons game design in particular.

How these characters play is critical if DDO ever implements the concept of the mythic raid/quest. We can talk about the idea, but these game-inspired anime series already live the idea–and show how desperately they fight despite cohesive teamwork.

What makes both shows interesting is that the players aren’t sitting behind a computer screen while at play. Either they are connected into the game by a special brain wave interface that makes the Oculus Rift seem like a 1970’s Atari console joystick (SAO), or for reasons unknown, the game has turned life inside out, and they live as their avatars (LH) within this alternative reality.

Both series (their 2013 first seasons and their 2014 current second seasons) are available to watch, free, at the Crunchyroll web site, with a slower release on Hulu Plus. Mind you, the LH season 2 English subtitles are atrociously poor on Hulu, wrought with typos and gross mis-translation, so I’d recommend Crunchyroll for your viewing.

Character Classes

Sword Art Online character classes, in the original death game story arc, were generally based on your preferred weapon training. The original game world, Aincrad, was a magic-less world where weapon skills formed your character. There were no archers or mages or magic in general; you could use daggers, spears, axes, and swords of all kinds. Save for the protagonist, Kirito, no one could dual-wield swords (and the protagonist received that ability through no action of his own). Character levels were less D&D based and were more exponential as seen in games such as World of Warcraft.

By the second arc, “Fairy Dance,” a new game world based on the SAO game engine introduced flight as well as magic. Characters could choose a fairy-like elven race, each with specific specialties, such as elemental, healing, shadow arts, summoning, gadgeteering, beast taming and the like. Unlike the first SAO, character levels mattered less; rather, mastery of magic and weapon skills as levels were emphasized.

As the SAO engine became a de facto open-sourced game engine, many games developed, even overlapping and allowing import or transfer of character data with in-common information between games. Imagine being able to move a WoW character to DDO or Lord of the Rings Online and back. Game items would not transfer, but your basic stats and skills would move with your core character.

Shiroe, the main character in LH, is a master strategist, watching ahead while watching all player stats. Wish DDO has a closer analogue.

Shiroe, the main character in LH, is a master strategist, watching ahead while watching all player stats. Wish DDO has a closer analogue.

Log Horizon, in contrast, is much more heavy throughout its program on character classes. In fact, the game that’s become a new reality, the fictitious Elder Tale, is a DnD-like game world, set in a post-apocalyptic Earth, half the size of the actual one.

The players, pulled into this reality as living avatars after a major game update, still interact with the world’s game mechanics (levels, spells, weapons) through a diegetic interface (as do the digital avatars in SAO). The light novel’s author has acknowledged the book’s inspiration from DnD and other games.

LH has four class-type categories with 90 subclasses that can supplement fighting or non-combat or tactical prowess.

  • Warrior:
    • Guardian: A high HP Fighter-style shield-and-sword tank with Intimidate aggro-controlling and damage-mitigation
    • Samurai: A high HP shield-less fighter that sacrifices some defenses for greater attack combinations.
    • Monk: A high HP unarmed fighter that works remarkably similar to the DDO version, with many attacks with very short cooldowns.
  • Weapon-type:
    • Assassin: Abilities very similar to the Rogue Assassin with high sneak-attack and very high weapon damage at the expense of defense and a required element of surprise. Depending on the subclass training, can use stealth tactics to move and travel and teleport short distances soundlessly.
    • Swashbuckler: A dual-wielding fighter, with average defenses. Their swift attacks can damage enemy stats and saves to weaken them. Can use light weapons or swords with many variations.
    • Bard: Very comparable to the DDO Bard. Uses song magic to buff and augment allies and weaken and charm enemies. Can use a limited weapon set or no weapons at all. Types almost match the pre-Update 19 prestige enhancements.
  • Healer:
    • Cleric: Very similar to the current DDO implementations. Highly regarded in the LH world as healing options appear strictly limited to this and other healing classes. All other classes have to focus on evading or mitigating damage and cannot battle-heal.
    • Druid: Very similar to DDO versions. Has (destructive) animal companions, rooting and dismissal spells and is a strong healing class.
    • Kannagi/Shrine Priest: Less comparable to the Favored Soul, this class is designed to block damage to allies before it happens, including buffs, with some weak attack spells and some healing options.
  • Mage:
    • Enchanter: A wizard-type class that specializes in magic to greatly augment allied attacks, root or bind enemies and debuff them, with a few weak direct attacks. The central protagonist, Shiroe, is this class. Combined with his knowledge of the game and mastery of calculating enemy and allied combat data ahead of time, he is highly-regarded by his friends as a master strategist that can take a small force and wield it as if it were a raiding party against a superior force.
    • Summoner: Creates summoned beasts or spirits creatures to battle for them.
    • Sorcerer: Highest offensive magic user, at the natural sacrifice to HP and defense. Combined with a Bard, a Sorcerer’s attacks can be augmented substantially.

Combat

Both programs show elements found in many MMOs.

Safe-zones

In both universes, player-versus-player combat has restrictions. In the original SAO, you can’t be killed in towns but combat creates a terrifying knockdown and fatigue effect. SAO variations with territorial/racial boundaries would allow races of a territory to kill those of other races who are present in their towns, with the foreign race unable to defend or fight.

In LH, player combat is expressly prohibited, where NPC town guardians will appear and kill even the strongest adventurers for infractions. LH players exploit this in many ways without violating the combat rule, including handholds, kidnapping and limb locks, as well as even sexual assault (in the light novels anyway; the anime tones this element down for broadcast concerns).

Wilderness areas

Respawns occurred slowly in the SAO worlds. A single boss commanded access to the next floor of the castle-like world, each with unique environments and skies. In the original arc, the game’s creator trapped nearly 10,000 players in the game, unable to log out or be removed from the game from the outside. You had one life, and if you died in the game, you died in the real world. Save the towns, death was possible anywhere.

Later story arcs in the SAO series removed the death-game premise but cleverly adds a real-world consequence of some sort from game objectives that promotes a compelling story line in each arc.

In LH, respawns are part of the natural game mechanic and explained as a magical and natural function that makes enemies essentially immortal. That’s counterbalanced by the player as the Adventurer, who also are immortal and resurrect on death (though not without a price).

Character attack

SAO sword attacks had cooldowns where players had to defend or escape before attacking again. LH attacks, spells or weapons, also had cooldowns that varied based on class. As you might expect, the more powerful or useful the attack or defensive action, the slower the cooldown.

The original SAO story arc had less emphasis on tanks, with no healers available. As the story arcs and new worlds evolved, the general tanker/damage/healer teams became more prevalent and helpful.

LH has always stuck to roles in combat. Teamwork is critical, no matter how small. Episode 2 of season 1 illustrates how good teamwork needn’t have a full party–just a smart one.

Raids

Here is where both shows could really teach a few DDO players on how things are done.

In the original SAO, a raiding party consisted of 49 people, seven groups into seven teams. LH raiding parties were four teams of 6 people for 24 players–twice that in a DDO raid.

While SAO episodes would only generalize the raid functions as front-line fighter and healer/mage support (if any existed), LH made exacting differentiated group roles: tanks, DPS, healers and support.

Where Sword Art Online’s writing emphasizes the character story at the expense of explaining game mechanics except for critical plot points, Log Horizon is superior at turning game mechanics into high drama. The show illustrates specific actions, such as attacks by name, cooldown limits, common MMO issues such as limited ammo, magic points, or weapon wear-and-tear, combined with enemy and boss attacks, their patterns, timing and ramifications for the Adventurers fighting them. Never has a party wipe seemed so realistically portrayed on-screen than in Log Horizon 2.

The episodes say and show what characters know and act, reach their highs and limits, with their communication to others virtually identical to what we’d see in party chat.

Three raid bosses, no escape, total surprise. Party wipe.

Three raid bosses, no escape, total surprise. Party wipe.

It’s the scope of organization that’s interesting to watch in LH season 2. The protagonist, Shiroe, is well-known for his strategist planning for battles large and small.

But even he finds a dreadful surprise when something very unexpected occurs in one raid battle that, in DDO, could only be classified as a game admin taking over a boss NPC and wielding it’s powers manually. In short, the boss goes off-script and adapts to the party attack. He calls in fellow raid bosses from other locations to kill the party. Imagine Aaretreikos from “The Shroud” calling in the Truthful One and the Stormreaver during part 5 of that raid, without notice.

The closest actual problem like this in DDO would be if a GM began to control the boss manually.

Both shows would be boring as hell if they portrayed their gaming as DDO does. We shouldn’t expect our raid bosses to throw something totally new at us each time we entered. But good drama allows these shows to work that premise into story with more than thrilling results.

Teamwork is the Key

Both game-based anime shows do a fine job of bringing a game world to life and keeping true to the MMO vocabularies and monsters such as kobolds or demons.

While SAO is ultimately a story about a male protagonist and a growing base of female players he has helped and who adore him, LH is a story about gaming, since the Adventurer’s lives are literally and fully immersed in the new game reality.

As one might expect, some LH and original SAO players decide never to fight,  since it’s still a very scary experience to battle in first-person. In SAO story arc 1, the death-game, some opt never to play, and others go literally insane, forming a murder guild, one that player-kills for sport in a game where death is real.

But both shows emphasize teamwork and communication. Unlike DDO, tackling a raid boss alone is completely impossible (although SAO’s Kirito managed it a couple of times , once by overleveling and once with a special skill and sheer luck).

There are plenty of threads on the DDO forums where players complain that the game is “too easy.” To resolve that, I’d propose that the game difficulty be able as a “impossible” setting. No matter what the enemy is, they will be 5 times the level of the party’s strongest character. They’d have weapons that could slay you in a handful of hits, or even a single hit if you are not wary. No matter what weapons and gear you have, no matter your level, no matter your magic, only strategy and a full party give you a chance, period.

Your party can’t simply hack and slash at it. It might have a series of party-deadly attacks, even one-hit kills. Your team will have to watch the boss and his minions very carefully.

And, to make things interesting, the quests would have randomized weapon powers, effects, immunities and number of bosses. Some may intentionally target and prioritize killing your healers or tanks. Your team can’t simply stand out in the open.

And raid parties become much larger, say 24. And some might say that’s not enough.

Zergs would be impossible. Soloing would be impossible. Winning would be improbable.

The idea isn’t new, of course. Talk of “mythic” raids and quests are bandied about of late.

The players would be forced to see why Dungeons & Dragons is the most popular game design. It’s not the gear, or the class, or the levels or the versatility. It’s teamwork. It’s always been about teamwork.

As the anime shows illustrate well, solid MMO play is ultimately in perfecting a team. Not everyone can or should be the “ultimate fighter.”

Want an illustrated example? Go to Crunchyroll and see LH season 2, episode 3, “The Abysmal Shaft,” to see how a raid party has to deal with a very, very complex raid boss–the first of many for them.

Stealth Ops: Spies in the House

There's ALWAYS a ninja somewhere. Can you find her?

It’s Spy Vs. Spies in this quest. Or, if you’re me, ninja vs. pirates.

I’m continuing my series of posts where I give detailed analysis of quests that benefit players that use stealth tactics and deliver a larger XP or resource-savings reward for doing that.

Often, these quests will likely be ones that are rather reviled by the usual zerging slasher forces or those players that don’t “read the manual.” That is, they log in, select a quest and enter, often unprepared and armed to the teeth–and fated for a long day. Or, the quest is an unusual design: multiple levels, required keys or levers, or more ambush points where your party is more vulnerable than necessary.

The details in these guides will be more detailed than what information you’ll find in the DDO Wiki articles in terms of navigation and way-points, but aren’t meant as a substitute.

Also, these posts will eventually cross-link to the Stormreach Shadows guide, where formatting limits are a bit restrictive for images and the occasional video.

Let’s start with one of my personal favorites: “Spies in the House.”

Preparation


Note: Update 23 has a bug where, if you start “Spies” while you have the “Sentinels of Stormreach” quest chain in-progress, the quest chain giver will not offer you the chain end-reward loot list on completion. Run “Spies” before starting “Sentinels” as a workaround, or run “Spies” after you complete the chain. While related in the storyline, “Spies” isn’t part of the Sentinels quest chain so you needn’t speak to Taggart d’Deneith, the Sentinels quest chain-giver.


“Spies” is one of a handful of quests where the exit is straight up, over a harrowing series of climbs. Not coincidentally, several of the quests I’ll review in this series have climbing and multiple levels.

I’d argue that “Spies” earns the title for the most challenging of these climbing quests. Unlike other climbing quests, Completing “Spies” requires agility way beyond that needed in quests such as “The Coalescence Chamber.” You need at least at least +10 Jump in this place–and that’s optimally your number while you’re in Sneak, which gives a -20 penalty to that and Tumble.

Thus, medium and heavy Armored Fighters, Clerics and Paladins have a harder time in quests like “Spies” because their Armor Check Penalty works against their Jump skill. These classes as well as Wizards, Artificers and Sorcerers also have Jump as a cross-class skill where it’s cost-prohibitive to add many, if any skill points. Potions, items and spells to give stacking Competence and Enhancement bonuses that raise Jump to a useful level can help a lot for such characters.

Stealth will also be problematic for all classes who aren’t Bards, Monks, Rangers or Rogues since Hide and Move Silently as also cross-class skills. Rangers, Druids and strong-UMD Rogue can help here, too, in addition to items. (For suggestions to fix that, see this chapter and this chapter in the Stormreach Shadows stealth guide.)

A Feather Falling item or long-lasting spells is also required here throughout the quest. Falling here means falling a long way that will likely leave you very vulnerable, feeling very lost, and unable to catch up easily. Striding speed is also very important in the final levels; buy some Haste potions.

“Spies” makes every attempt to keep you from going upward using simple barriers that must be activated or bypassed before your party proceeds. In “Coal Chamber,” it’s a matter of running up and up, with no requirements to jump except down with a Feather Fall item to a shrine. In “Spies,” if you have low Jump, you’re going to have a harder time. A few places require you to leap up swiftly to grab onto something should you fall out of alignment as you make your way.

Don’t bother using your in-quest map here. Like “The Pit” and “Chains of Flame,” the multiple layers of the quest map do not reveal any information of use to navigation.

The Entry Level: “Ninja, Please!” (Or, “Why Clerics Can’t Jump“)

You start the quest next to a very high sewer shaft that drops to an underwater point. Even with Feather Falling off, it seems that it’ll take about 10 seconds for you to hit the water below. That’s a portent of your long climb back up, elsewhere. Stealth teams should buff up here and activate Sneak before dropping down since the underwater point below will prohibit you from activating Sneak.

Once you’re down, ahead is a small alcove guarded by ice mephits and water elementals. Your fastest stealth party member can move to the lever to pull it, opening a gate to swim down the sewer tunnel while others rush by the enraged elementals. You don’t have to fight these guys; simply pulling that lever and leaping into the water ahead avoids them.

The wide underwater pit ahead is filled with sonic and spike traps with fences to force your path. High reflex/evasive characters can avoid them. A Rogue can disable all the traps for bonuses. Non-evasive characters should carefully swim forward and, on returning to solid ground, stop and stay in Sneak to stay a bit hidden. In the water lies one of three valves that control an air jet that teams should use.

Out of the water and in Sneak, you’re surrounded enter a vast complex with catwalks and scaffolding above. To your relative left (northwest and southwest) in the wide-open area are many skeleton archers and a few Blood Tide fighters and mages. East and ahead from the water is a small dead-end tunnel with another couple of traps and a second valve for the first air jet.

The third and last valve of this first jet is in the northwest corner, guarded by a few humans and their skeleton charges, next to the air jet itself.

A non-stealthy team would have to make their way along catwalks from the northwest, pelted by skeletal snipers not only above but way above you, shooting where you cannot shoot back. It’s a killing field.

And even then, a non-stealthy team must make a couple of careful climbs to a valve that lowers a drawbridge for the team to climb up a series of fixed boxes to another scaffold level. Miss your mark, and you’ll fall down and back to the water entry.

For stealth teams, there’s a better way.

Lower Level: Jet-Setter

After activating the first two valves, carefully make your way to the last valve, dispatch the skeletons and mages there and activate the last valve, located next to the jet itself. If your team stays in that corner, you shouldn’t be detected by the skeleton archers to the far left, watching the catwalks and scaffolding.

With the three valves activated on the lowest level, two air jets activate. One lifts you up to a catwalk just above you, where a second diagonal jet hurls you up and to a wide catwalk across the way, above the center of the bottom level.

What you do here depends on your party composition.

Teams with strong Jump skills can simply use your Jump prowess and Feather Fall for controlled guiding, using the two jets to make your way up to the center catwalk, and then jump down or across a bit to the lower scaffolding with the closed drawbridge to climb up fixed boxes that lead up through holes in the scaffolding for a couple of levels to higher piping. Traversing this way in Sneak avoids any detection by the skeletal archers very close by. There is likely one lonely human guard here in hiding at the drawbridge scaffolding. If anyone’s stealth skills are poor, he will find you.

If your party is a mix of low-Jump characters that aren’t as agile, a lone stealthy character can make the jet leaps, then head southward and up and over some pipes to reach the valve over dead-end scaffolding to the far south, above the watery entry, that lowers the drawbridge. Unfortunately this means that your party’s walk to the bridge will likely fight the lower archers and a couple of human fighters along the catwalk and platforms to the now-lowered drawbridge as even your stealth skills will be compromised at such close proximity. Your fighting might also alert the archers much higher up. This is problematic since you’ll be fired at, but cannot target back because of your attack angle.

Once your team has climbed up at the highest scaffold via the fixed boxes, jumping is required to a pipe that’s close enough to stand on. Your team must stay in stealth here; above are more skeletal archers that will rain down arrows on you at an angle where you cannot counter-attack. The path north on the pipe leads to a puzzle wheel that controls an air jet behind and above you in the southwest corner. It’s the only way up for everyone.

One party member can sneak to the wheel and turn it twice to activate it’s second light to the right, which activates the proper southwest jet that will launch your party members to yet another scaffold above. Left of the puzzle wheel is a constantly-blowing jet that catapults your team to that larger southwest jet. Everyone’s got to traverse the northern pipe: watch out for the break in the pipe on the way or you’re going to fall. A Bard in your party that can give Invisibility to your team helps a lot here in avoiding detecting from the now-closer archers above you.

Keep in stealth throughout this entire progression, even if your Hide/Move Silently scores are poor. A stealth posture keeps you slowed and in better control while traveling on the thin pipes. You may need to stand up for the jets to launch you.

On using the southwest jet, you should land by some fixed boxes on a scaffold just below a large mob of skeleton archers, human necromancers and a couple of gargoyles. You’re going to leave stealth to attack them by making your way up the boxes to a small landing just south of the group and then charging ahead to a scaffold and up to their location. Note how high you are; if you slip without Feather Fall, you’re in for some serious damage.

Eliminate the entire guarding force ahead–specifically, 10 skeletons whose undeaths control lighted locks above a prisoner gate and a valve to the path onward. A valve set precariously on a corner edge of the area of the archers along the stone wall, near a locked gate, activates a small jet that launches you back to the center scaffolding to a level you couldn’t climb to reach. Here, another set of boxes sit below a second valve, guarded by a couple of gargoyles. This valve opens that locked gate near the first valve, where you rescue the first of four Deneith prisoners. Just inside this gate is another valve that opens the larger gate to the east entry and forward.

Depending on difficulty, there may be a trap just inside, as well as air mephits. Your second prisoner is just to your left from within this entry; a lever opens his cage.

Ahead, at the apex of this short hall, several skeletons will spawn that you should eliminate. At the end of the hallway is an electrified shaft and a ladder with more mephits. Evasive characters in stealth can likely just go up the ladder and evade the electricity trap and mephits, who won’t follow. But a Rogue in party should find a control box above to disable the trap for more vulnerable party members. Eliminate the mephits if they are a hassle.

At the top of this shaft, opposite the ladder, is a treasure chest across the shaft’s wide chasm. It’s locked, so if your team hasn’t the means to unlock it, you should skip it and continue on through the last of the skeletal guards. A hidden door near the ladder reveals a lever; it’s purpose wasn’t clear to me, even after several runs before, until now. Flip it, and it activates air jets to push your team to that locked chest. It appears to be a semi-random pulse that turns off, requiring you to flip the switch again.

At least two skeletal mages, skeletons and several skeleton archers await you ahead: eliminate them to unlock a lever in the T-intersection to the end. A third Deneith prisoner awaits rescue here, and there is a treasure chest as reward for coming this far.

That lever opened steel doors to your next adventure. The good news is that you’re done with undead guards. If you thought your trip was tough so far, just you wait.

Grid Level 1: Rowan and Friends

Just beyond the steel doors are rest and resurrection shrines, guarded likely by a one or two Blood Tide fighters. Your team should use this shrine as you’ll be unable to return to it once you proceed.

At the end of this path you’ll see several Blood Tide archers on catwalks lining a wide, very electrified grid floor. This is the first of several grid floors you’ll find that can’t be disabled and will pelt you with 30-60 damage per second, easily killing party members that stand on it for too long. If you’re missing Resist Electricity or Protection against Electricity buffs, use them now.

With a mixed party, your best tactic is to go into Sneak and drop down to the northern wall and to a path on along the electrified floor, sneaking in below the archers and to a lower catwalk. A single guard along the last part of  the path could alert others if he spots you; a quick kill or good stealth bypassing is recommended. Strong archers or throwing characters might opt to remove the archer guards. Monks with Abundant Step or classes with a long-jump, instead, might leap directly from the shrine level over to the upper level catwalk–better if you’re invisible if you do this unless going immediately on the offensive.

Northward is a watery fortress sealed by a steel gate that you must bypass. Guards are all about here. Your team can go left (westward) and around, up a watery fall, where a skeletal mage awaits you to return it to inanimate bone. Left (east) of here is the base of Rowan Watzun, a red-named necromancer that loves death spells: Have at least Deathblock items equipped as you attack him and his guards.

Once Rowan is down, a lever in his lair, by a chest, opens the path ahead to the upper catwalk. You’re assaulted by backup fighters immediately after Rowan dies. Resistance here is comparatively slight; you may want to eliminate all the archers along the catwalks if your party is of weaker stealth skill. A stronger stealth team can lure any standing guards by Rowan’s lair to remove them without alerting the catwalk archers, leaving them unaware of your presence throughout this next segment.

To the south are additional pipes and valves. On a ladder above is your fourth and final Deneith prisoner and a chest, both caged. Two valves here are at ground level open the prisoner’s cell and part of the way forward; one is guarded by mephits. A stealthy character can activate that lever without waking the mephits at all. As with all stealth quests, resist the temptation of breaking boxes: the best bonus you can get is Vandal, and only with luck and a few deaths.

At the southwest corner on a ladder is another shrine; make this rest count: Your last shrine is near the end of the quest, a long way up.

At the last prisoner’s level is a pipe to the east where the third lever awaits. All party members must climb up to this pipe (via the prisoner’s ladder) and west to yet another platform and air jet to move forward. Without a Rogue to disarm it, your team will have to brave some blades that slash about around this jet. Historically, the blades don’t hit often–and the blades are the last of your worries.

Grid Levels 2 and 3: This is Where It Begins to Suck

Before your team uses the jet, buff up again with any and all electrical resists and absorption or Protection from Electricity buffs. You’ll be very glad you did. Your Feather Fall is essential here, as well. A CON and/or False Life item or spell is extremely helpful for low HP players. You’re going to have to soak up a lot of voltage.

This jet is one of two in this area that are hard to navigate as you’re catapulted upward a little blindly. You’ll be sent high up and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a pipe to a small platform near a valve. Whoever reaches that valve should turn it immediately.

If you’re unlucky, you’ll hit your head and bounce back down and must climb back up to the jet.

If you’re very unlucky, you’ll overshoot and land on yet another electrified grid floor. If you do, run left (north) to your only safe-haven, some fixed boxes that lead up to a cross of pipes.

Once your party is up, you’ll find fire elementals and, if you’ve been unluckier, an air elemental. You must kill all the elementals that spawn here (four total) to proceed. This won’t be easy for melee teams; the elementals are often floating about, away from the pipes you’re standing on, and inaccessible.

If an air elemental spawns, your luck is terrible. It will likely blow party members hither and yon. Your best bet is to congregate by the sole group of fixed boxes to the north to avoid getting electrocuted, standing on the lowest box.

Ranged icy weaponry (Snowstar, Chill Shard and the like) or spells that hurt fire elementals are required. Melee teams will be lucky if the elementals come close enough to attack.

The fire elementals throw fireball after fireball, often floating over the grid and out of melee range. If you can hit them by direct attack, do so. Your non-Evasion party members should seek cover; they will not survive against the fireball pelting for long. An air elemental complicates your attack. Evasion characters should separate, giving the party a chance to move the aggro around as you make your attacks.

This area is where I imply how hirelings and summoned creatures are less than useful since they’ll be extra things you’d have to look after or will draw unwanted attention and jeopardize your safety. If they die on the grid, leave their soulstone. One exception for summons: if you can summon a water elemental or other thing that can float to attack the elementals, it’s worth a go.

Once the elementals are down, turn the remaining valves in this area and, carefully timing the blowing air vents that threaten to make you run the dangerous grids again, head around to another air jet. If you don’t clear the elementals, the steel door above this jet remains closed.

This jet blows you up to a marginally safe start point, but no safe destination. You must run across yet another electrical grid. High-evasive characters have a very low chance to save against the damage, but everyone should rebuff with Protection from Energy and, if needed, Electric resistance. There is a small group of fixed boxes ahead as your only sanctuary. Don’t worry about stealth here to the boxes: Run! Speed is life.

More valves above on the pipes, and this time, guarded by mephits. Just to be nasty, a valve that reduces some of the damaging steam leaks have jets that will push you off and onto the grid if you don’t time them right when using them. Unlike the level below, however, killing the mephits just makes your life easier. Once the valves are done, you’re clear to jump and run carefully to a ladder up.

The Last Floors: Daylight

Stay in stealth as you traverse this floor and to a ladder nearby some water run-offs. Else, you’ll awaken water elementals that will fire on you. A rest shrine is here on this next to last floor for those who need this final oasis.

The serious stuff is behind you. You need only to reach the last floor where two gargoyles start trolling you but end up only annoying each other.

The gargoyles guard two final valves. (Any other valves you see at this level are decoration only.) One closes steel doors ahead to form a floor as well as open steel doors just ahead to the quest’s end. The second activates a lightning trap that’s not disarmable.

Let the high-reflex member of your party turn a valve. I don’t believe you have to wait for the gargoyle chat to complete to do this. A couple of Blood Tide fighters will assault you by the last door but they are nothing compared to what you just endured.

Put on your Voice of the Master for a big XP payout before you approach the first chest you see, no matter what your difficulty. On Epic difficulties, an epic chest spawns to your right on a gridded scaffold cubby hole.

Use your Finish button rather than using the provided tunnel. Otherwise, you’ll spawn in Stormreach Harbor, rather than next to the quest giver in House Deneith.

Video

This is a long quest that can get longer without better descriptions. So I’ve taken time to record this quest to give you a better visualization. Good hunting!

Zen Mastery, or, How Not to Die

My wife and I failed in our saving throws against disease last week. I caught the flu and she found the norovirus that’s so hot right now. So this is a quick and dirty post without a lot of fanciness while I recover.

Pynthetica the Zen Archer is level 19. With a bow for any occasion, she’s multi-shotting 30 seconds every minute as she makes her way through various places.

The Devil Battlefield was a low hanging fruit for Favor bonus where a guildmate joined me to conquer the four flagging quests for Yugoloth stat potions. Going at these quests at-level is something I’ve not done before. Kiricletica and others were on early Epic levels to give them an edge.

Pyn’s a consistent hitter, all Monk, all archer. As I noted before, there’s not a lot of flash to her. She has a few tricks from the Arcane Archer training to add elemental damage and break DR, sure. Her trick is the high passive ki regeneration (she starts at 58 and gets to 120 or so in a few minutes, even standing) that allows use of Ten Thousand Stars anytime she’d like. Manyshot may give more 4-arrow hits, but TTS has only a 1 minute cooldown and lasts 10 seconds longer.

With level 19 came a +5 WIS tome to bring her to 39, so close. If I could grab a Shadowsight for a rare WIS +7 Heroic item, great. She was armed with House Deneith potions for overdriving her TTS a little bit before this run.

Her miss-chance defenses are decent but not yet superior, with 19% Dodge but great Incorporeality thanks to a little Ninja Spy training. While she has some Shiradi training awaiting her as an Epic character, I suspect her Grandmaster of Flowers and Shadowdancer training might help more in different ways. I’m still studying.

Sins of Attrition

We started with “Sins of Attrition,” Elite difficulty. The quest is primarily a series of narrow, sometimes trapped halls. Many ominous statues of bearded devils and orthons line the halls.

My guildmate, a level 24 Epic Swashbuckler, had excellent DPS against our initial resistance. She had only two problems.

The first one was Heystack, the level 18 Cleric hireling that’s now dumber than ever before with Update 23. I like him only as a walking Death Ward mass clicky. Often, even in Defend mode, the hireling just stands there, letting himself get pelted or chopped to bits by a trap or enemy.

Pyn was the second problem. After we chose a banquet item from the first feast hall and eliminated the upset table guests there, the statues lining the halls animate and attack us. I had problems in best targeting enemies with Improved Precise Shot active. If I targeted too far down a hall, I generated too much aggro. Target too few, and my guildmate and I were left exposed for too long. The low cooldown of Ten Thousand Stars, combined with the crit power of a Bow of Sinew, helped to dispatch the mobs fast once I had a shooting solution that didn’t wreck aggro.

Archers just aren’t the best in narrow spaces. I should’ve switched to Archer’s Focus to limit striking too many enemies at once and maximizing damage to the tanking character’s target.

We finished well enough on Elite and moved on to the next quest.

Bastion of Power

More narrow halls greeted us in this Elite difficulty attempt. This looping, multi-level fortress isn’t too bad with a stealth option. On the first level you need to find and use two switches that lead you on to a level where you must find an exit.

The switches are randomly placed. Without stealth, one alarm will alert the entire fortress, and devils, demons and orthons come streaming out of halls and portal gateways, with Dungeon Alert a high probability. There are no shrines nearby. I parked ol’ Haystack by the entrance.

We were detected and had to fight our way to the switches. The adjoining level wasn’t much easier as they were already aggroed by the general alarm and added to an early Dungeon Alert that cascaded perilously from Orange to Yellow to Green.

Once at the first outside point and near a shrine, we refreshed our Death Ward and moved ahead to find the rampart entrance. This section required careful searching for a path to the upper floors and the next entrance, meeting more resistance with a new twist; a couple of orange-named lieutenants and cannonballing gelatinous cubes.

We finally made it to the ramparts and prepped for a horned devil boss. The fight started off well, with my guildmate’s high DPS carving holes in the boss while I targeted trash. The boss switches gravity where I was able to reach one of three upper tiers and switches there. I lit two, leaped for a third and was killed by some trap or a Disintegrate spell before I could touch the last switch, which would have unlocked a third of three chests and instantly kill the horned devil.

Haystack was predictably unable to multi-task and died before he could resurrect me, so it was up to my guildmate to survive the marilith that appeared. She slayed with with lots of action boosts, killing it with only a sliver of her own HP remaining.

On to quest three.

Genesis Point

This quest is complicated and lots easier with a guildmate. The DDO Wiki article for this quest is critical as it’s easy to pull the wrong switch or lever and make the quest impossible to complete.

Fighting here on Elite wasn’t as bad since there were fewer narrow halls. After clearing the control rooms, we put some weaponized, infected wildman hostages out of their misery, freed the hostages on one area, disrupted a pep rally in another. and deactivated a device within a maze, earning some loot as we moved on.

We picked the mephit-filled energy conduits as our final battle, always the preferred fight of the four available by most parties, to complete the quest. There, you activate force fields to find three red-named mephits, gather them up and slay them at the same time. The Swashbucker and I made short work of them.

One more to go.

A New Invasion

Thankfully, we didn’t require Elite difficulty for this one to gain our needed Favor. This one’s the three-level maze you must carefully search to find holes that drop you below to the next level. Enemies are everywhere and fighting is inevitable in most locations.

Entering on Hard difficulty, we hung to the left wall to make our search and made it to the boss’s cubby hole in about 35 minutes. After discussing the battle plan, we parked the hirelings permanently for this part. They’d get us killed easily.

The pit fiend’s lair is round with trapped platforms all about. You have to stick and move, avoiding the trapped platform as it charges up and detonates with inescapable Force damage. A team has to stick-and-move, timing their movement so they stay on a platform briefly, swatting at the devil before moving and avoiding the trap going off in our faces. If anything rests on those platforms: character or soulstone, it continually goes off, which is very bad.

For a change, I felt useful. Ranged attackers do great here because they can shoot and spin, kiting the boss around the lair, never staying still against the traps. I just needed to avoid kiting too fast so that the better DPS of my guildmate would dispatch the boss more quickly and so we stayed in sync with the platforms to avoid having two go off in our faces.

In a short time, the boss was dead and our new-mail indicators lit up; the Yugoloth had our Favor presents waiting. I passed a Shintao Cord to my guildmate for a later incarnation as a light Monk.

So now Pyn can use three potion types to overdrive her WIS from 39 to 46 for greater attack in crunch times.