Please DON’T Stand By

frownycat

This lag causes me to be uncentered.

UPDATE 4/14/2016: With a recent maintenance hotfix, Cordovan has asked us to suspend any trace and ping information but to use the usual bug or ticket reports or this new thread to report your experiences.

The talk on DDO is not of the 10th anniversary or the free loot, but the relentless lag spikes that have become so bad that even low level quests (for me) have been hard, if not impossible to play.

You are not alone.

There is a very long central DDO forums thread where you could rage at the machine. But I’m an I.T. guy, by real-life trade, so I ask you not to vent there. That doesn’t help.

Rather, to help DDO’s team gather as much information about the likely bottleneck(s) in the data jumps between your computer, cable/DSL modem, ISP, the internet and the DDO game servers, you need to send the developers real-time data on your connection. Preferably, you’ll do this while in a lagging quest, after you’ve placed your character in a safe position where it can wait.

  1. To start, please visit this forum post by clicking this link. It will open up your normally-used (default) web browser.
  2. Click “Log in” at the upper right corner of your browser window. Type in the same login and password as you’d use to log in to the game, if you’ve never used the forums before (or lately).
  3. Click on your Start button for Windows 7/XP users and type cmd in the search field at the bottom of the menu and press Enter. A command line window (remember DOS?) will appear. Just keep that window open so you can report lag on the spot.
  4. Start the DDO game client, log in as usual, and start playing.

Now, step 3 above will be different for Windows 8 or 10 users. For Windows 8: Open the search field and type in cmd or command prompt. For Windows 10, you can press Win+X keys and type in command prompt.

I’ll show you as well what data to provide to the devs in what seems to be the popular format.

  1. When lagging of any kind persists (rubberbanding, freezing, etc.), first safe your character/party–get any enemies killed off and then find a safe spot.
  2. Press ALT-ENTER to bring DDO to a windowed mode (if you normally play in full-screen mode). This will allow you to access the Windows command prompt you opened earlier.
  3. At the command prompt, first type in ping gls.ddo.com and press Enter. This will show the results of how long it takes for data to reach the DDO game servers and return to you. The lower the milliseconds (ms) the better.
  4. Next, type in tracert gls.ddo.com. This will show the specific network resources (your cable modem or local network, your ISP, other backbone servers and finally to the network near DDO).
  5. Open up Notepad or WordPad or a suitable simple text editor or word processing program.
  6. In the Command Prompt window, look for “C:\>” symbol on the far upper corner of the window. Click it; it’s a menu. Choose “Mark”. Now you can select all text from the tracert results.
  7. Once you have that info selected, choose Copy from that command line menu, and then use the Paste command in the word processor/text editor. Or you can leave it on your clipboard (computer memory)
  8. Read your ping results and type in the average ping number under “Average round trip times in milli-seconds.”

OK. You’re ready to post some data to the forums. Please do this only once or twice since it’s very likely that you’ll not give them any really different information in terms of the backbone or your ISP from any given day (unless you move or are travelling a lot).

Format your post as this.

  • Quest: Type in the quest or raid you were playing at the time of the lag event
  • Time: Enter your local time, adding in your time zone, such as EDT, CDT, GMT, whatever.
  • Server: Type in the server name you’re logged into at the time of the event.
  • ISP: Type in your internet server provider. Also, you might want to mention if this is a cable or DSL connection.
  • Issue: Type in a very brief description of the issue (freezing, rubberbanding, etc.) and if it affected only you or others in party if applicable.
  • Ping: Type in your “Average round trip times in milli-seconds.”
  • Tracert results: Copy from the text editor/word processor window and paste it into the thread.

IMPORTANT note: You don’t want to entirely copy the first two lines of your tracert, which contains your computer’s specific IP. No need to get real-life trolls trying to hack your computer. Don’t copy lines 1 and 2 of tracert. You can simply redact (fill in with nonsense characters or “redacted”) there.

Here’s an example.

Quest: The Kobold's New Ringleader
Time: 10:oo AM April 1
Server: Ghallanda
ISP: Comcast
Ping: 44ms
Tracing route to gls.ddo.com [198.252.160.23]
over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 10.0.0.1
 2 12 ms 14 ms 9 ms (redacted)
 3 11 ms 21 ms 14 ms Te0-2-0-8-sur01.beechgrove.in.indiana.comcast.ne
t [68.87.228.225]
 4 13 ms 14 ms 14 ms te-1-9-0-0-ar01.indianapolis.in.indiana.comcast.
net [68.86.184.41]
 5 16 ms 19 ms 21 ms hu-1-15-0-0-ar01.area4.il.chicago.comcast.net [6
8.87.230.9]
 6 34 ms 26 ms 26 ms hu-1-15-0-0-ar01.area4.il.chicago.comcast.net [6
8.87.230.9]
 7 36 ms 21 ms 25 ms be-33491-cr02.350ecermak.il.ibone.comcast.net [6
8.86.91.165]
 8 23 ms 24 ms 24 ms chp-edge-01.inet.qwest.net [216.207.8.189]
 9 55 ms 44 ms 34 ms chp-edge-01.inet.qwest.net [216.207.8.189]
 10 43 ms 44 ms 44 ms 206.103.215.50
 11 48 ms 41 ms 46 ms 206.103.215.50
 12 45 ms 44 ms 49 ms 63.236.3.130
 13 55 ms 44 ms 44 ms 198.252.160.23
 14 50 ms 41 ms 46 ms 198.252.160.23
Trace complete.

Check to make sure that lines 1 and 2 of the tracert items are anonymous, and then post your entry.

Send this information to DDO when you’re able. It will help the game’s guardians so very much. The more information they have to find the weakest link, the better.

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And Yet More Presents for You

giftmonsterWith the Lenten season and other distractions in and outside the game, I’ve been a bit too busy for even my 2-4 posts per month goal.

The happy and sad problems of Update 30 (lootz!), lots of regular raiding (more lootz!) and the plaguing lag created from the datacenter move has taken its toll.

But after been reminded by one of my raid-mates, I’m finally getting some dust off a special project I’ve thought about for a while but never had the resources to muster. It’s something that might complete what I think is a currently incomplete circle between the Monk guide and this blog. And you can become involved in its delivery and mission.

But then there’s Batman v Superman coming out. My own inner ninja and inner Lawful Good superhero have been totally at odds with mental slapfights in my head over the foregone conclusion of the film but still wanting to watch it happen.

More on this project (and how you might participate) in the coming days.

Ascetic Guardian, Revisited

portrait-lynncletica1Some time ago, I wrote up my desire to build my Shintao Monk as a true tank, aggroing the bulk of enemies to ease party defense and increase total party offense.

That was way back in Update 23. With seven updates later and a lot more experience in raids, it’s time for me to revisit how Shintao Monks can be very relevant at their current design.

Lynncletica is active again. I will play her dominantly except when the capped and proven Zen Archer and Poison Master builds of Pynthetica and Ryncletica have high-level raids available. My goal is simply to get Lynn available to help in those same raids. I will also add the build to the Monk guide once completed.

It’s all too uncommon to find the raid leaders searching about for tanks in both “Temple of the Deathwyrm” and “Fire on Thunder Peak.” Other raids like “The Fall of Truth” also need a hand. I’ve seen Bards and Warlocks tank. I’ve done it once with Szyncletica as well.

But a tank should be able to create lots of Threat as well as survive and endure against bosses.

The key for Lynn’s success or failure involves several key abilities:

Very high Concentration. Thanks to the Ki Shout enhancement, this skill substitutes for Intimidate. Combined with high Threat-inducing items and Earth Stance, nothing should ignore the Epic Lynncletica on the battlefield. I can easily see 70 on my other characters, so an 80 or better should work.

High CON. More importantly than STR (critical for unarmed damage), a tank needs high HP. Monks only have 75% return on CON points to HP in relation to Fighters or Paladins. So it’s more important to survive than to cause damage. I want at least 1000 HP for Lynn, more if available. I envy the Fighters and Barbarians and Paladins that see 1200, 1500, and over 2000 HP. I would have to add a prohibitive amount of CON to come close to 1500, so using epic destinies with CON as an option, including as Twists, will help. Also helpful are items with Insightful Constitution, Profane, Exceptional and other bonuses. If I can reach a 40-50 CON, that should do it.

High fortification. Very easy to do now with Update 29’s gear. I should wear at least 250%.

High PRR. With a Sheltering 38 item (the Archon armors in the Legendary Tempest’s Spine/Hound of Xoriat offer this) and with some Twisted abilities like Improved Combat Expertise and other gear, I may see 150 PRR using the most defense-oriented epic destiny, Unyielding Sentinel.

Good, though not great miss-chance: At least 20 Dodge, 10 Incorporeality and 20 Concealment. I might be able to sacrifice AP for Ninja Spy’s Shadow Veil, but Ghostly is better than none.

Strong Reflex and Fortitude saves. I can’t add as much DEX as I’d like to see a 70 Reflex like Pynthetica holds, but getting close to 60 can help. High CON will help for a higher Fortitude.

Very high healing amplification. Between her Human Amplification and Shintao core enhancements, Lynn is a solid self-healer. But any Enhancement and Insight bonuses to this status will ensure that Healing Ki will be maximized to return 200+ HP per return. In most raids, Lynn shouldn’t require constant healing support. She will need Death Ward but can resolve most other issues through Elemental Curatives, Rise of the Phoenix and Unyielding Sentinel’s Resurrection power for supporting allies.

Threat generation. Earth Stance, Lynn’s preferred stance, generates higher Threat to keep things attracted to me. I’ll wear items or use enhancements or destinies to aid in this as well.

Special gear. There’s lots of it. But one’s caught my attention during the 10th anniversary of the game: Severlin’s Leaden Boots. They give high Stunning and Insightful STR for more damage. I’m building as many as I can, including the level 30 versions with Insightful STR +6 and Stunning +15.

From here, it’s a matter of conditioning my play style. The damage dealers should be those in my party, not me. If my hirelings or party members die, I blame myself. I should keep Ki Shout in use to keep enemies focused on me so enemies simply can’t reach my friends.

At level 10, the results are promising. My clerics are doing well enough that I may go to playing with a fighter-type or spell caster-type hireling since I can battle-heal them.

I have to remember that some enemies can’t be aggroed, such as undead and vermin such as spiders. Keeping a party safe against those kinds requires a different plan that I’m not as familiar with as I’d like to be.

Happy Birthday, DDO!

It’s been pretty busy of late so posting’s been a bit slower. Got lots to write about regarding the characters, but let me take a quick moment in appreciation to Dungeons & Dragons Online on its 10th Anniversary.

I joined the game formally around August, 2010, simply because “THERE ARE MONKS IN THIS GAME!” Without playing one second, I bought the class weeks before diving in.

While I missed the game’s first 4 years, the small posts by Cordovan that mark the module/update milestones help fill in those gaps. I got into the game shortly before The Red Fens modules arrived, I believe.

Despite the recent unpleasantness on Sunday, when the login server took an unexpected coffee break for a few hours, DDO has blitzed players with simultaneous events (Risia, Festivult, Crystal Cove) before Monday, when they launched a special challenge event, naturally named “Anniversary Party.” It’s held inside the House Phiarlan ballroom (home of “Partycrashers”) but is far more decked out for the occasion.

I won’t spoil the details of the challenge except that the devs chose a kind way to commemorate not only the many NPC characters and bosses (who’ve all reconstituted themselves from the goo we’ve made of them from thrashing them over and over) but also, I’m sure, every developer and staff member that’s worked on DDO. There was one area, inside the theatre, under the stage, where I noticed one rather solemn dedication.

In any case, the Party’s is very funny (even kinky), and it hasn’t escaped me that, for their 10th year, and coincidentally after a long server crash, the devs created NPCs of themselves for us to kill, over and over again.

House P’s was laggardly as dozens of players entered, not just for the Party but the “favors”, special ingredients obtained from the party, to purchase special event gear. For a Monk, there’s only Severlin’s Leaden Boots and Fists, which might be useful for Lynncietica, my Shintao tanker (more on her in the next post).

I personally chuckled at the sight of Tolero, once part of the community reps but now bumped up to a product rep, who has a human character as the Party Favor exchange NPC–complete with her trademark blue hair.

There’s also a special token all characters receive (even new characters before the event ends) that gives them a free bound-to-character on acquire item. It could be a raid item like a Celestia, or a commonly popular item that may or may not be easy to get for some, like a Voice of the Master.

For Pynthetica and Paracleta, my archers, the choice was clear. At first I liked the no-minimum level Quiver of Alacrity, but then another item caught my eye. I’ve never, in all my years of gameplay, completed all of the Necropolis quests, nor flagged for the “Accursed Ascension” raid. So I would have never had a chance for the Quiver or the most powerful non-epic longbow I’ve ever seen–until now. Both characters now have Unwavering Ardency, a 2(1d12) Flaming Burst bow that just might encourage me to get them upgraded. Pretty, too.

But don’t go charging in with your token just yet. There may be a few special additions to the list in a few days, such as the Sword of Shadow for your fighter-types.

So much going on, all at once! Enjoy the event! DDO has had many one-time-only events like this, and you don’t want to miss out. Besides, when you’re running around with a special event item on the game’s 15th anniversary and a new player sees it, they may wonder when they’ll get to have something unique and special–like now.

Happy birthday, DDO, and may we have many more.