Foundation of Discord: Unsafe at Any Level

Get used to seeing a LOT of these in one Gianthold EE quest.

Get used to seeing a LOT of these in one Gianthold EE quest.

Recently, I joined some guildies on Ryncletica the Ninja on an Epic Elite run of “Foundation of Discord,” a walk-up optional quest within Gianthold.

I’ve played this one before. I rank this quest with others like “Proof is in the Poison” and “Acid Wit” as quests that are far tougher running at-level than other adventures. I would assert that “Foundation” is the toughest quest in Gianthold. Here’s why.

I completed this quest on Ryncletica in solo mode (no hirelings) on Epic Hard, so I knew what to expect in EE. You have to slay three Concord guardians to reach Patrick, a very nasty boss in a very well guarded room with archers on platforms, several Aurum mages, fighters and clerics, and continually respawning fire, air and earth elementals. All the guardians and bosses are surrounded by Bards that love to use stunning spells, Clerics abound who are too good with Cometfall and Greater Command, Wizards appear that freeze and zap you silly, and shadowy Rogues amerge with brutal sneak attacks.

On my EH run, after using several turns of Shadow Manipulation (dominate) turns on two earth elementals that guard Patrick to whittle down his HP, I finally dove into the recess where he stood and pummeled him. Stealth and infiltration tactics (pulling individuals to kill and controlling the volume of attacks) helped a lot.

But EE was a different matter.

Ryncletica’s skills at stealth are partially negated with a party, naturally. Stunning things in EE is harder. It’s the versatile nature of “Foundation’s” mobs that’s the key to its difficulty. Some quests have fewer spellcasters and more fighter-types. This one is caster-rich and their AI is relentless in targeting. It’s as if the mobs are more coordinated than in previous updates. Remember that the dwarf-like Duergar that dominate this area are very resilient and resistant to paralyzing and stuns.

We were all getting sniped by Rogues but the real challenge involved taking down each Concord guardian. I don’t know how they were trained but it was clear that they had Ryncletica’s number: Monks are most vulnerable to slashing damage. My high Dodge and Reflex did little here to keep from getting eviscerated several times by the guardians. Others in the party fared no better. A few Shadow dominations put one enemy on our side for a time. I started to target the Bards and Rogues to give the mobs a taste of their own medicine.

Bloodied and dead more than a few times over, we make it to the large room. I was able to sneak in and enable all the sonic traps to bust Patrick out of his invulnerable forcefield while the rest of the party kept the elemental’s initial attention. Then the fun started as the elementals began to earthgrab everybody. Normally, earthgrab is a just a nuisance, releasing you before something serious happens. But in EE, earthgrab holds and then squeezes the life out of you with 100-point or greater damage. Further, other elementals often took advantage and walloped you to death if you weren’t there already.

After several attempts to lure and Dominate the spare elementals in an attempt to bum-rush the boss, as well as removing any Aurum guards (which, thankfully, don’t respawn) I came up on one idea, borne of desperation after looking at Patrick’s stats. Apparently my dojo characters really hate dwarves and duergar, as I’ve amassed quite the collective kill counts in my Monster Manual, allowing me to see the boss’s hit points.

Patrick had 118,000 HP. Between the elementals tagging us, there was no way we were going to survive for any length of time in direct melee. We were all running out of resources.

But one advantage came to mind. Patrick was effectively immobile in the center of that pit, Since we had access to pillars above him, I suggested we take the “death from above” strategy, smacking him with any ranged attacks we had.

The elementals still threw Fireballs and made long-range earthgrabs, while an irritated Patrick used ice spells to pull us off of our perches. I took advantage of Ninja Vorpals with my tiny throwing star and extra attacks to pull a few more HP off the boss. Some of us were still dying to elemental waves but not nearly as rapid as before. Thank goodness Patrick did not regenerate during this battle.

After nearly 1.5 hours, of which nearly 30 minutes was spent trying to kill the boss, it was over. Our repair bills were more epic than our rewards, that’s for sure.

If you’re feeling cocky about your build, take some friends into EE “Foundation.” You’ll be quickly humbled (certain paladins excluded, perhaps).

Practicing What You Preach (Or, Why Syncletica Sucks)

MinotaurAggro

Sometimes, Syncletica is a moron. In this not-so-related capture, we see Syncletica’s stone floating peacefully, surrounded by the WHOLE minotaur city that came to greet and beat her.

Some time ago I mentioned an Epic Elite run with my guildmates into “The Portal Opens” where Syncletica felt all “Hey–I know kung fu” confident–right up to when she was killed like a gnat in the first 20 seconds of the adventure.

I’ve been playing and enjoying the game too much using other toons, dealing with real-life, updating the Monk guide and enduring many new and planned game updates to get around to giving Syncletica a decent post-mortem–until now.

Syncletica is my very first DDO character. Her other students, Lynncletica and Ryncletica, have an advantage in that they are built from the harsh lessons of Syncletica’s gameplay. For some reason, I didn’t meld much of Lynn and Ryn’s experience into Syn’s second life, and it gravely shows. I must’ve been sleeping on the day that I True Reincarnated her.

Poor Miss Chance

Syncletica’s Dodge bonus at level 23 was a puny 8%. Nope, that’s not a typo. Lynn, an Earth Stancer, has a respectable 18%, while Ryncletica runs at 21% at Level 17 and will have it perpetually maxed when back in Shadowdancer destiny.

That’s pretty lame. Syncletica plays fine in Heroic adventures but a mere 8% chance to save against an attack is a mortal flaw.

While Syncletica is a fan of the Dance of Clouds 20% concealment buff she can generate herself, she has no incorporeality bonus.

Summing it up, Syncletica needs some gear and a retool of her feats for better Dodge. She’s a Wind Stancer with very high Doublestrike (16% to 22%) but she won’t survive to use it until I add in some feats and a bit of gear to raise her Dodge to at least 16%. An Epic Gianthold Ring of Shadows would be useful here.

As with Ryncletica, it would be logical to adjust feats to add Whirlwind Attack. The prerequisite feats for it (Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack) would add in an instant 7% Dodge bonus but also Combat Expertise to boost AC by 10%.  A Monk with Doublestrike and Whirlwind Attack should have crazy procs on off-hand attacks, helping to clear a room faster. I’ve long since required that all Monks have at least Cleave in their build, so this will eat three, not four, effective slots.

If time allows, Shadowdancer training to get Shadow Form for 25% incorporeality and better Dodge would also make Syn a longer lasting fighter.

Poor Epic Fortification

Syncletica was slaughtered in EE Portal Opens because she entered with only 100% fortification. The enemies in a typical EE are CR 40 or more. That means Syn needs at least 140% fortification to survive a direct critical hit at least once. Without that, Syn was instantly killed by a critical hit.

She’ll need to train a bit in Unyielding Sentinel for its tier 1 “Brace for Impact” which gives 40% stacking fortification and +2 to Reflex saves (handy for Evasion).

She owns a Fabricator’s Ingenuity set to add in additional 25% stacking fortification if needed, and she should own a 20% or higher exceptional fortification item to add to this.

Poor Saves

Syncletica’s saves are average. Her Wind Stance reduces her Fortitude saves. Her high DEX should help her Reflex saves, but something is missing. As I note in the Monk guide, based on DDO forum discussions and Lynncletica’s experience, a 40 save is minimal for Epic Elite, 50 is good, 60 is godly.

Syn should train more in Ocean Stance. She’s loved the use of Void Strike IV in the past. However, it’s now a liability since it’s not as reliable as a kill strike before Epic levels, as well as the massive AP drain in training other stances to qualify for it. Further, the Grandmaster of Flowers tier 6 ability, Everything is Nothing, is effectively a Void Strike IV, Mass, with a certain kill success, that requires destiny points, not action points. Syn needs the saves (and Dodge bonuses) that Grandmaster of Oceans can provide. The downside is that I might not be able to improve her Earth Stance beyond Adept level…there won’t be enough APs for more than two Master or greater stances, I suspect.

Speed is Not Enough

Wind Stance is a joy to play. It’s certainly more kung-fu than the other stances. But EE is an endurance game and Syn was far too spongy to succeed in her current level.

A thought came to me to consider training her more in the Legendary Dreadnought destiny. Aside from working to get Improved Combat Expertise (for more PRR; Syn currently hasn’t any), she can certainly take advantage of the action boosts. Syn can already seem a blur when fighting, but a haste action boost would make her essentially ethereal to her foes.

The damage and attack boosts would certainly not hurt, either. Training the destiny to maximum for the epic moment of Master’s Blitz would make Syn a powerfully fast fighter. The question remaining involves Syn’s ability stats, specifically, STR. I’ve learned from Lynn how important STR really can be in determining damage (I’ve not played other melees so forgive my Captain Obvious epiphany), yet I’ve often put STR on the lesser track. Syn has high DEX…maybe too high. Two or more points need to go from DEX to STR, if not a bit more. The change will affect Reflex saves but give far greater damage per second. On a Wind Stancer, that means you’re aren’t shooting faster, necessarily, but your bullets will be much larger.

Down on the Farm

Looks like Lynncletica will have to spend a bit more time in “Devil Assault”  to build up some Tokens of the Twelve so that I can reincarnate Syncletica once more. As it seems, Syn should become an interesting fusion from Lynn’s Earth schooling and Ryn’s shadowy Ocean schooling to make her a powerhouse fighter once more.

I guess I should prepare for the new enhancements, too, and how that will affect all of my characters. I’ll have to apply GamerGeoff’s workaround for the broken updated TurbineInvoker code to get my Lammania client started again.

The Merciless Tempest and the Little Mountain

The moment arrived this week.

To fight the unbeatable foes.

Everything I have learned to-date in designing a Monk to withstand an Epic Elite quest was first tested recently as my guildmates and I entered “Trial by Fury.”

For those not in the know, Dungeons & Dragons Online has difficulty levels for every adventure. When you’re a character of level 20 or higher, you can enter “Epic” difficulty, which breaks down to four levels. Casual (enemies are far weaker than you), Normal (enemies are typically on-par with your level), Hard (enemies are somewhat higher than you) and Elite (enemies are dramatically powerful than you, sometimes twice as powerful). The highest character level you can get at the moment is 25. In Epic Elite, enemies show up often between Level 29 and 45, and boss enemies can be much stronger.

Despite your gear and power, a Level 25 can get swatted dead immediately in “EE” like a Level 1 character in a Level 20 raid without proper preparation.

Lynncletica, as you may know already, has the nickname of “The Little Mountain,” an Grandmaster of Mountain Stancer designed to withstand or avoid damage, to yield as much as a mountain would move against a storm.

While I’ve made some wrong calculations on a few defensive means such as PRR (augment gems are enhancement bonuses, so having more than one PRR gem will not stack with other effects), my other calculations have been spot-on, if not more so.

Thanks to many insightful forum threads on surviving Epic Elite difficulty (this one is among my favorite), Lynn entered her first EE with three most important statistics:

  • 150% fortification. This is the most serious protection that many don’t realize they require.

Back when you leveled up from 1 to 20, you were told by other experienced players to wear Light, Moderate and Heavy Fortification items as soon as you can. When you reached Level 9 and got that Heavy Fortification item, you didn’t think much about what it did for you as long as you had that item property equipped. Fortification protects you from critical hits and sneak attack damage. It’s based roughly on the enemy’s level. So, if you encounter a CR25 enemy and have Heavy Fortification plus a 25% Exceptional Fortification item, great. You’ll avoid 99% of critical hits and sneak attacks. But if you have only 125% versus a CR 40 enemy, you’re in for a very painful and probably fatal surprise. You’ll 140% fortification there.

The challenge for most is that you can’t get Exceptional Fortification items higher than 25% except on a few armors such as the Warforged’s Livewood Core or the light armor Leaves of the Forest. You can also look for the Fabricator’s Gauntlets and Fabricator’s Bracers in House Cannith Manufactury and “Blown to Bits,” and unlock them for a stacking 25% fortification that adds to Exceptional Fortification items. The downside there is having to unequip useful bracers and gloves such as the set item Bracers of the Sun Soul and the heal amplifying Purple Dragon Gauntlets. So, to best add more fortification for melee while keeping your better gear equipped, you’ll likely need to use Epic Destiny abilities to add more fortification.

That means you, the player, have to think outside of the box–that is, to train in more than only one Epic Destiny for needed protections. For Lynncletica and most melees, the easy way to do this is to train up in the Unyielding Sentinel destiny, pick the tier 1 ability “Brace for Impact” and take both ranks. This adds 40% stacking fortification as well as a tidy +2 to your Reflex saves.

But to use Brace for Impact, you need to either (1) keep Unyielding Sentinel as your active destiny or (2)  use the Twists of Fate slots, gain enough fate points to unlock a slot and put this ability inside the slot. In the case of Lynncletica, this allows her to use her completed Grandmaster of Flowers training while having that fortification equipped. (Lynn “cheated” by buying a Tome of Fate +2 to get two slots unlocked, a tier 1 and a tier 2, so that Improved Combat Expertise can also be twisted.)

She wears an Fortifying 10% of Natural Armor +6 necklace to give her at least 150% fortification at all times. If there’s a seriously nasty enemy that’s higher than CR 50, on go the Fabricator’s Set for 175% maximum fortification.

I can’t stress how important it is to get this fortification. It’s why most of us die far too quickly in there.

  • Higher Reflex saves. This helps my Dodge, Evasion, Concealment and Incorporeality effects work. You could have all of these effects maxed out but a low Reflex means that they’ll rarely protect you. I sat on a +40 to all saves, unbuffed. That number gave me enough protection, but 45 or higher would be better.
  • Dodge, Concealment and Incorporeality effects at all times. I lucked out on getting a high-end Ring of Shadows, which has 20% concealment and 10% incorporeality all on one item. As a Light Monk, I can blur myself for a minute at a time, and did so for party members without it. For crunch times, I had crafted a 2-charge Displacement throwing start clicky (50% concealment for 1 min 30 secs) and had the GMoF “Scattering of Petals” 25% emergency Dodge on hand as well to go with my standing 12% Dodge bonus.

In Epic Elite, the best tactic for many is to concentrate on damage avoidance rather than damage absorption, the common tactic for melees using Armor Class numbers and Physical Resistance Rating (PRR).

Lynncletica didn’t go in too shy on those numbers, either, in case any of her avoidance tricks failed. She owned a minimum 100 AC unbuffed and 62 PRR. That PRR was hard to get but, thanks to training up Legendary Dreadnought‘s Improved Combat Expertise for 20 PRR while in Combat Expertise stance, as well as 15 PRR from Ultimate Mountain Stance, 15 PRR from Standing with Stone (GMoF ability) and another 12 PRR from a gem, I absorb 30% damage.

Part of my damage absorption strategy is the Way of the Sun Soul effect in Mountain Stance where a Radiant Forcefield-like bubble protects me from 25% of most damage on a vorpal roll. Strangely, I didn’t see this appear at all during my fight. Either I was silly and didn’t have all my Sun Soul items equipped throughout the run, or there is a glitch in that quest where vorpal rolls didn’t activate that effect.

  • Stunning Fist DC of 50 to 52, using Yugoloth and DDO Store potions as required, especially after the first death that removed ship buffs.

Contrary to my earlier experiences with Syncletica, you really need 50 DC or more to reliably stun. The Grave Wrappings help a lot to increase the chances, provided you can level drain your enemy once or twice to make them more vulnerable to stunning. The level drains were what threw me off, thinking in error that a 36 (which was likely 46 with Stunning +10s on) was enough to pull that off more or less consistently. If I needed, I can twist in Legendary Tactics and not Improved Combat Expertise for +6 to the DC for a 56 to 62, at the expense of PRR absorption.

So how did it go?

I was as durable as I hoped to be. As many players will tell you, death was inevitable. However, not being the first to die, as well as the cause of death was what I was trying to achieve.

I was never slain by critical or sneak attack damage as others in my party. Rather, I was simply overwhelmed by mobs when most others in the party were incapacitated or dead, leaving me the sole target. That’s a good thing, and something I can plan more for later.

Tactics played out well here. On open territory against the hordes of spiders, it was a harder fight for the party. Against other mobs, we fared better. At one point I fell off a ledge and had to run back to the party, which had encountered two enemy Yugoloth mages that nearly wiped the party. Getting back, I had to remember something: Yugoloth are Outsiders. My guild leader, also a Light Monk, snuck in and Jaded each target for a very quick takedown. Problem solved.

The end fight was expectedly challenging, but our party’s veteran players settled into a rhythm and roles we’ve used before. Our bard, no stranger to healing, assisted our Cleric/Monk while myself, the guild leader’s Monk, and a Paladin took turns whomping on Grulemith the Goristro. While spamming Healing Ki as I fought, I had switched to some lightweight crafted +1 Icy Burst handwraps of Vampirism to supplement my HP when I should have used my +5 Vicious handwraps of Vampirism for more damage. Still, the party got the job done and the minotaur-on-steroids took a powder.

Lynncletica and the party survived in far less scruffy condition than in that terrible EE “The Portal Opens” slaughter. I think, on average, there was 4 deaths per party member total in our run.

I have one more EE run this week and hope to get more data to refine Lynncletica’s durability and pass on that information to others. If you haven’t taken a gander at my Monk guide’s chapters on Epic Elite preparation, as well as Armor and PRR and improving your Dodge and related avoidance buffs, you might find it helpful to consider for your toons, Monks or otherwise.

 

Update 17: Game Changer for a Tanking Monk

I don’t know about you, but Update 17 was a game-changing breath of fresh air.

First, we get Epic Gianthold. The wilderness area is a bit more, um, interesting, when you occasionally get a dragon that pounces on you and your party like a cat on a mouse. The quest refreshes are welcome, but what I loved, just LOVED was the quest chain reward for completing the flagging quests for the new “The Fall of Truth” raid. You didn’t have to step in the raid door at all to gain some Extremely Nice Phat Loot from the end-chain rewards. Run that one again and again and again, folks.

One of our guild’s trips to “Return to Madstone Crater” did run into a little glitch after slaying a named giant there. Our reward chest decided to be too high for our level–literally.

It was suspended above a shrine about 30 feet in the air.

Look! In the air! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's our BLEEPING loot chest!

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s our BLEEPING loot chest!

Thankfully, the gamemaster corrected this for us in less than 5 minutes after reporting it. Way to go, Turbine! It made for some laughs, that’s for sure.

Next, the devs refresh much of the gear from Level 1 to 20 throughout, oh, about every damn quest. Very few raid loot changes except “Tempest’s Spine” (which I think needed a little love).

Of course, aside from mostly positive updates to the gear’s stats, one addition: Augment slots, just made my day. (In fact, it’s making me a sandwich and getting me a beer right now, and teases that I’ll get a “dinner and a movie” later.)

For those not in the know, augment slots are similar to the (phased out) epic augment slotting system and the (legacy) Guild augment crystal idea. The biggest difference comes not just from finding slots on lots and lots of named and unnamed loot from level 1 and up, including Epic gear, but what you can add to it.

At first I was “meh” about it because I knew that my tanker Monk’s White Dragonscale Robe is nice enough as it is, and I won’t wear a lesser robe just to get a Blue Augment slot for more Physical Resistance. Then I looked at what it means to have a specific slot color.

It’s the primary colors game when adding gems to slots. A Colorless augment gem can go in any slot since it’s without color. A Blue gem can only go in a blue slot. But a Blue gem or Yellow gem works with a Green slot since Yellow and Blue make Green.

Further, there is an Epic White Dragonscale Robe–with a Blue slot and more AC.

And then I had a nerdgasm over what that meant for my tanker Monk, Lynncletica.

At first I thought that I’d have to Twist and Shout like crazy for Epic Destiny abilities to raise PRR and HP since I wouldn’t likely find Blue slots needed for PRR. But Green slots are found in many places. You can run the “Delera’s Tomb” chain, get an updated Hellfire Cloak with a built-in gem in it’s Green slot, pry it out with a Jeweler’s Kit from the DDO Store (which lets you keep that pried gem) and pop in your Blue gem.

Ta-da! I just got +10 to PRR, and still have an empty Yellow slot for perhaps a Deathblock gem.

Mind you, the Hellfire Cloak was maybe a ML5 item, but adding the +10 PRR gem (bought for 150 TP on the Store) raised it’s ML to about 16. I am still happy. More so than grinding for that Iron Cloak of the Bear that had only 3 PRR (although the Exceptional Combat Mastery is very good for stuns and the like).

My euphoria continued through this weekend by several Crystal Cove runs with guildmates to generate all I needed to build a Greater Bold Trinket and upgrade my Ring of the Buccaneer to its maximum (creating a Green slot) that will get a PRR +14 gem once I hit Level 20.

Further: All that gnashing of teeth and lamentations of my women in keeping essential protections like Deathblock and Heavy Fortification while trying to keep my set items equipped can be solved with any loot with a Green slot to put the needed gem in place.

My eye now looks to the epic Treads of Falling Shadow, which has Ghostly for Lynncletica, or the improved Ring of Shadows, and so much more. I’m purposefully gearing her for Epic Elite power now so that she’ll be more than ready for it later. A PRR of 90 to 100 is now so possible it brings tears to my mind’s eye.

All I need to do once I confirm all the new slotted gear is working as intended is to review whether to respec to add Dodge, Mobility and Spring Attack to add better “stick and move” attacking required for melee in Epic Elite as well as dodge bonuses to get Lynn to at least 12%-15% consistent Dodge.

I’ll still train her in Legendary Dreadnaught for a super-HP path but I believe now that Twisting what I can from that into Grandmaster of Flowers (keeping the 15 PRR and Dodge bonuses there, not to mention Everything is Nothing) will lead Lynncletica to a new level of enlightenment.

There’s still the matter of a better Reflex save to make this work best. I need 45 or more.

And finding a slotted returning shuriken would make my day complete–again.

UPDATE (3/8/13): It’s the fine print that always gets me.

While PRR normally stacks, augment gems are marked as an enhancement bonus. That means only one gem works at a time and lesser ones are ignored.

I was sad at this just as Lynncletica reached Level 20 last night and put her epic gear on to see her new numbers. I wasn’t too sad about the PRR for long. While only the +12 PPR appeared, I showed a 42 PRR, 87 AC and a +38 Reflex with all Grandmaster of Flowers effects and Way of Sun Soul gear active. I’ve started on Legendary Dreadnought to get that extra 15 PRR as a twist but realize that more Reflex should greatly help with tanking as well. Surprisingly I don’t own a pair of Grave Wrappings or Drow Smoke Goggles…

Sadly, the Heavy Fortification or Deathblock gems out there are going for maliciously high prices on the Auction House, so here’s hoping one can buy them on the Store.

Going to have to  grind more than an army of Starbucks baristas by a coffee mill.

Monk AC and Update 14: Oh, Boy

So, I’m all excited and enjoying the changes of Update 14 and the Menace of the Underdark. As a Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 player, old things were made new again.

What first amazed me was how Armor Class was revised–specifically, how Monks fared from it.

I’ve always said that a Monk’s defenses come primarily from their saves. With this update, I stand more justified by that notion.

While the traditional numbers for AC and its related kinds haven’t changed, how your AC benefits you as a direct consequence of specific attacks is made more clear. Dodge becomes a percentage of evading attack. Your AC calculates into a percentage of avoiding any attack. I’m still trying to make sense of all this, but my guildies and I experienced how incredibly significant these changes have become with one of the new quests in Eveningstar: “The Riddle.

I completed this level 19 quest on Hard with Lynncletica (the Little Mountain Monk) and Klin the hireling cleric without much difficulty (surely due to dungeon scaling in part) before I joined my Tyrs Paladium guildmates to a run there recently, and to an entirely different experience.

I volunteered as guide, having done it so recently that I still had the quest mapped out in my client. Our full party included a Favored Soul, a couple of Fighters, a Cleric, a Bard as well as Yours Truly. Two of us were level 16 or so, the rest were level 20s with no small experience in handling difficult quests. We lacked a spellcaster, which we’d regret later.

This quest began auspiciously. Will-o-Wisps and a nastier version of the Red Fens’s Vine trolls whittled nastily on the team throughout. While the Wisps through chain lightning and zapped most of the party, the Vine Terrors threw Spike Growth, eating away at the party’s health rapidly.

Everyone except me. The new calculations of Dodge and AC had increased my unbuffed AC from 53 or so to 63. With normal ship and party buffs, Lynncletica sat at 75 until our buffs began to fade. It took much time for me to whittle down the Vine monsters but my Thaarak Wraps delivered deadly Force damage to take down the Wisps. My Improved Evasion saved me from almost all of the damage from these attacks. Earth Stance got an adjustment in calculating damage reduction, which surely helped my survival.

Not that I was the savior of the party or anything. We had to think and move carefully, especially as we encountered hags that spawned Animated Armor minions endlessly until we killed the crones. The multitude of Shrines (awesome new look for Forgotten Realms!) barely kept us going. Things went from bad to worse for everyone after our buffs faded. The end-fight was nasty as destroying the last hag would cause us to nearly wipe twice. I finally took one hit too many and died a couple of times but our party gathered what little we had left to finish off the bad guys. We did complete, with very respectable XP, but the quest reward was incredibly bad–I think we experienced a nasty loot bug that today’s hotfix hopefully repaired.

But, wow, Lynncletica waded through lightning bolts and spikes like it weren’t no thang. I get the feeling that Dodge items will become a new ticket item. The Epic Destinies that add Evasion abilities may also be quite popular.

I’m generally very impressed with the new content, but I’m very interested in how Lynncletica has become that much more durable. More on this as the game mechanics become clear.