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.
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.
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.
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.
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.