Hark, The Herald Angels Fight

I'm captivated by the erinyes, red-winged and powerful. Why am I attracted to bad girls? You'd think one divorce would fix me of that.

I’m captivated by the erinyes, red-winged and powerful. Why am I attracted to bad girls? You’d think one divorce would fix me of that.

Real-life and work have definitely curbed my blogging efforts of late, leaving me little precious time to complete the substantial updates in The Book of Syncletica with builds and what-not, as well as general help here and there in the player-base. A crisis caused me to miss a scheduled appearance as podcast guest on DDOCast last week, which vexed me greatly. I can’t provide enough apologies to Shamgar and anyone who tuned in.

So I’m trying to make up for lost time and posts by going straight to a brief talk on the new release of Update 27: “Trials of the Archons.”

For past update, the most we’d seen of the Good-aligned celestial forces in the battlefields of Shavarath are skeletal remains of fallen archons on the battlefields and one living archon we are able to free and speak with briefly in “Wrath of the Flame.” Atop the floating fortress of Amrath, we can see one of the celestial cities floating far off. And that was it, until now.

Something (perhaps our collective ass-kicking adventurer lifestyle) has compelled the archons to call on the adventurers to assist them. But the trust of the archons is not given easily.

“Trials of the Archons” is broken down to three quests and one raid. The first, “The Archon’s Trial,” sends you through an increasingly difficult set of challenges. The archons initially say that they had a nice battery of canned tests but, since a force of devils and demons have decided to invade that day, why, say you adventurers go off and clean them up for us?

The archons are angelic beings, all appearing to be stunning, flying statuesque humanoid females, always flying and hovering. This holy appearance, however, doesn’t seem to preclude them from applying a certain kinder, gentler type of dickery. It’s understandable from their point of view as the archons have seen how the mortals are easily tricked (see “Wrath of the Flame”) or are corrupted from within (“The Lords of Dust”). Given that their war against the devils and demons (with the devils and demons in-fighting in a perpetual civil war to boot, as noted in “Bastion of Power”) is filled with endless strategy and counter-attack, the archons’ thoughts about who to trust border on insular considerations only.

Thankfully, through the three quests you can complete, you show that you can hold your own in a fight. “The Archon’s Trial” eventually pits you against archons in a duel, and they are hardly pushovers. Since they are Good-aligned (like the Eladrin in the Vale of Twilight) your Holy weapon has no effect, forcing you to change your game.

Quest #2 is “Demon Assault.” If the name rings a bell, it’s because you’re getting a sequel of sorts from the Marketplace quest, “Devil Assault.” Rather than being locked in a small room in arena-style combat, you’re placed in ruins and must navigate through them, slay wave after wave of demons that pour through portal gateways. It’s a trial. You have an optional rescue before your party gets the beatdown of your life from a boss fight.

The last quest, “The Devil’s Details,” requires your party to find out what the great pit fiend Arraetrikos is planning in a new offensive to win the endless war. You’re introduced to the erinyes: The dark, corrupted version of the archon, with red wings and a very nasty attitude.

Complete these three quests and you’re flagged for a new raid: “Defiler of the Just.” I have no more information on this one since it was just released except that it’s got a few serious bugs that may make it unplayable right now.

“Trials of the Archons” has both level 13 and level 30 quest modes to satisfy your tastes. The loot is absolutely incredible. While completing the first quest, I received an Epic quarterstaff that basically will kill anything unholy with great ease.

I first tried quest #1 with the ever-prepared Kiricletica, master of soloing. As I learned later with a party, completing this one took time and, likely, I would have failed my final fight one-on-one against a group of archons. Ninja prowess can only go so far, even with dark finishing moves and deceptive effects. I aborted my Heroic run to join guildmates for an Epic Hard attempt with Szyncletica the star-thrower.

Being what she is, Szyn was able to help beat back the hordes with spamming shuriken. In “The Archon’s Trial” there is a puzzle situation where you should be wary without a lot of electrical resistance and absorption.

In conclusion, these new quests, at least, are a refreshing new addition after the welcome but highly time-intensive “Haunted Halls of Eveningstar” and “Thunderholme” content.

I tried to keep this review spoiler-free, so keep your comments that way, too and let me know how you’ve enjoyed this new stuff.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. FuzzyDuck81
    Jul 28, 2015 @ 17:58:33

    I found the quests a lot of fun, and the loot ranges from “that’s nice” to “holy crap I MUST HAVE THAT” – i’ve pulled the shield of tireless aid so far which is essentially wall of wood meets old-school levik’s defender, and am hoping for the divine artillry greatcrossbow (aka the BOOM HEADSHOT) & the hide of the fallen cloak, which will almost by itself make pure (or near-pure) animal form druids far more viable. Oh, there’s the handwraps too, very tasty.. and the shuriken! sovereign vorpal (3k threshold & 300 damage) AND bloodletter (plus a couple other nice things)? holy moly that’s going to be insane.

    Non-spoilery piece of advice – DR breakers will be…if not completely required on EN/EH depending on your character’s capabilities, definitely advantageous – soloing EH on 1 quest the boss was rocking about 111ish DR & i’ve been seeing people in the forums saying that in EE, it can be in the 300-400 range for some enemies, which is probably necessary considering the power creep since the older days but still a “oh…wow yeah we really need the right tools for the job” thing again, which is good IMO.

    • teachersyn
      Jul 28, 2015 @ 20:42:38

      I just saw they posted the available loot. HOLY CRAP they have EVERYTHING IN THERE. A nasty star, trinket, necklace. Wow. I found that first quest boss just soaking up my Shuricannon hits, on EH, too. Nasty. There’s going to be a LOT of runs in that place over and over.

      • geoffhanna
        Jul 29, 2015 @ 09:53:40

        Not everything. There is no finesse weapon.

        • teachersyn
          Jul 29, 2015 @ 10:05:06

          Given that 3BC added a few of those in past updates, that might be why. The list of loot in terms of volume is still way above average for a new quest chain, do you think?

          • geoffhanna
            Jul 29, 2015 @ 10:20:18

            Can’t tell, I am overwhelmed by the bitterness of all my finesse builds staring at the list, as slack-jawed as they are empty-handed.

            But there remains hope: my dwarven axe and maul users are not finesse builds! Oh wait.

            I think the game has had an overabundance of named great axes and khopeshes and shurikens since forever. And now it continues into the end game.

            But no I am not bitter. Much. 🙂

    • teachersyn
      Jul 28, 2015 @ 20:43:54

      I’m hoping my Zen Archer’s better DR and fortification bypass will help there, but the legions of enemies there are terrifying.

  2. DDOCentral
    Jul 29, 2015 @ 03:42:38

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  3. greeem
    Jul 29, 2015 @ 22:38:26

    The loot is good, but………..They are all level 28 loot, so kind of useless til they up the max level to 30

    • teachersyn
      Jul 29, 2015 @ 23:11:13

      Most, if not all, also comes in Heroic level 13 versions and is pretty superior in itself.

      • FuzzyDuck81
        Jul 30, 2015 @ 04:09:28

        yep, the heroic level stuff is pretty much greensteel/VoD & HoX level (ML not level you pull it at) good & will keep you going nicely until epics.

  4. InTheHouse
    Aug 06, 2015 @ 10:57:42

    Demon Assault evokes both Devil Assault and Shroud Phase 1 for me. You don’t actually beat on the portals to close them as in Shroud, but you do close them by defeating the waves of demons which pour through them, and you have to run to the next portal to repeat the process just like in Shroud.

    • teachersyn
      Aug 07, 2015 @ 07:08:27

      Yep. The challenge, ultimately, is surviving the 3 waves per portal. I just did this one on EE and it was just as daunting as Heroic Elite, mostly due to Shavarath blades and the dungeon scaling.

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