Here’s Your Shrine: Bad Moments in Gaming

It's a clear sign. Let's see if others can read it.

It’s a clear sign.
Let’s see if
others can read it.

I’m a big fan of comedian Bill Engvall. He’s closer to to my own age, so I relate quite well to his jokes about family life and observations of people in general.

His signature joke is called, “Here’s your sign.” When people say or do remarkably stupid things, Bill imagines up a witty, often sarcastic answer to their obliviousness, on the premise that some people should have to wear a sign announcing to all that they have just been stupid.

Gaming has these great moments, too. In the case of DDO, the stupid illustrate their incompetence during the course of adventures in a myriad of blunders into traps, bad choices in fighting, bragging before they die, and other creative ways to kill themselves.

You’ve been there. You might be in a party in part 4 of the “Delera’s Tomb” quest chain. Experienced players know that the starting hallway is trapped. But we’ll sit back, grab our popcorn and wait for somebody to forget.

Ding.

“Did I just find a trap?” the hapless player asks.

“No, you just transformed yourself into a more invulnerable character,” another player says.

In these cases, other party members pick up their soulstone and carry it to a place of safe haven for the temporarily insane, mis-prepared and distracted.

“Here’s your shrine,” the rescuer says.

So I’ll recap a few great moments where great gaming is interrupted by great stupidity, often to other party members delight, by compiling some of them from the web and past DDO forum posts.

And once I put on my +5 Moronic Hat of Great Shaming, I shall relate a time or twenty-two where I, too, threw my own brain under the Stupid Bus.

Nominations from the OurDDO Contributors

I’d thought I’d start where the soil is fertile.  Members of OurDDO and the late MyDDO have already documented and archived their Moments of Shame.

So out comes the clothesline, friends. I’m airing your own dirty laundry.

Newlywed. Former DDOCast host. Experienced gamer. We could use these titles to describe our own GamerGeoff. Today, however, we shall note his own recollections of when he and fellow party members rolled a 1 in gaming.

Of greatest note, read on about how Geoff made several critically bad assumptions about a “Group of Wrongness” he had joined in a run in “Taming the Flames.” Personally, it’s one of my favorite quests. But then, I play Monks. I have great saves, love freezing weapons and rarely have problems in that quest, even when soloing. But for the non-evasive, fire-prone players among us, life is always stimulating there. Geoff began writing and carrying his own signs of shame throughout that one. He got lots and lots of assists from the zerging, inexperienced party members.

And Geoff recollects how his guild, the Halfling Commandos, redefined the word “chaos” in a “Tower of Despair” run when their tanker for Sulommades discovered that having no fortification gear can make his job harder.

Our lovely BonnieBew shared with us some selfies of silly last September in the form of a series of YouTube videos. I like the titles more than anything. “Tomb of the Gynecologist” just sounded like a disaster in the making. For Bonnie, that seemed to be true.

OurDDO administrator and Filker Extraordinaire Evennote has humbly shared many moments of involuntary shrineage on her blog. There are good moments in tough gaming where, eventually, everyone’s resorted to gaming in the buff. She recants, in song, how hirelings are often the cause of many moments where they hand you your own soulstone, thanks to their recklessness. She’s a great player but has been saddled with a few party members who stretch her good gaming abilities to the limit to where something breaks. Often, it’s the player that tried to exceed Even’s infinite frikkin’ patience. I’ll say it for Even: She can’t fix stupid.

And as for me…

I’ll just make a short list of my shame.

  • I can’t recall how many times that I’ve killed one of my Monks, returning to the guild ship to repair, replenish and rebuff. I can, however, recall with regretful clarity how, while still with less than 10 HP, switched myself from Earth Stance to Fire Stance to improve my Wholeness of Body healing. I killed myself as my HP changed from 10 to -1o HP so many times that some guildies think my floating soulstone on the ship is a new ship buff item.
  • There was the time where Syncletica was using the training dummy, smacking it hither and yon. I gave it a solid Void Strike hit and…the training dummy disappeared. “What did you do!?” the guild leader asked, trying to figure out what happened to the poor thing and checking the anchor point for the dummy in disbelief. Turns out that I wasn’t alone and the game had to make an update because the Monks were sending dummies into the afterlife all over the place. (My guild leader suggests that I and other Monks had punched our dummies back in time, to the old Marketplace bazaar. Look around the grounds of the end-fight to “The Chronoscope.” It’s filled with training dummies.)
  • And there’s the recent blog post on how the devs seem to hate giving healing amplification to half-elves. I ranted and raved until a few forum posters handed me my sign. I was a victim of Turbine Doublespeak. Players were trying to gain Improved Recovery from the Half-Elf racial tree not only through the normal racial enhancements but by taking the Half-Elf Monk dilettante that has the same thing.
  • Any time I enter “Irestone Inlet” without any Lesser Restoration potions.
  • Hell, any time I enter the Inlet with a party. There’s just something about that quest that brings out the idiot in all of us.
    • Party member A and C go this way
    • Party member B and D go another way
    • Both realize they’ve died too far away to reach the shrine
    • Scartongue holds up a sign saying, “You’ve just been schooled by a kobold.”

Here’s Your Shrine: The Board Game

There are quite a few forum threads where players recount great moments in game fail. Surely you have some tales of your own.

For the holiday season, feel free to recount your moments of shame or, better, someone else’s great fail, in the comments section. It’s fun for levels 1 to 100–join us!

Not-So-Off-Topic: Rusty and Co.

"Eat post?"

“Eat post?”

A few weeks ago, a little bored while waiting for some work at work, I started to browse through one of my web pleasures: TV Tropes.

As I was pursuing something D&D related that I’ve long forgotten, a stray link kidnapped me as always, pointing me towards a webcomic called Rusty and Co.

If you play DDO or D&D, this is a must-read with only one downside.

Rusty and Co. is (mostly) the story of three adventurers. What makes them different is that they are themselves monsters that jumped sides to work as Good or Neutral mercenaries.

There’s Rusty, an adorable little rust monster with a simple vocabulary to resolve many plot issues. (“Eat sword?”)

There’s Mimic. He’s a Mimic. He shapeshifts, finds work for the trio and is the most (only) competent spokesman. Good Diplomacy skills, for a box.

Lastly, there’s Cube. He’s a gelatinous cube, the team’s muscle, the very silent type and a complete badass.

None of them have hands. That might make an adventure hard to start when you can’t open the door to it. But that doesn’t slow them down.

Over the course of their adventures, they find human and humanoid allies. All of them have their appeal.

There’s the Princess. She is a powerhouse unarmed fighter that is anything but a damsel in distress and is barely Lawful Neutral. Sound familiar?

We have Madeline, the Paladin. Cute, severely brave, a bit of a ditz (low WIS), and relentless. Has the most awesome fighting style and smites evil with mere gardening tools (you’ll have to read to figure out why).

There’s Roxanne, an elven Bard with incredible cunning. Can weaponize sticks of wood but not in the way you think.

We also have Prestige, a young wizard and a bit of a detective. She gets involved in the Mob–run by a bunch of illitids.

And there’s Stabs, a halfling Rogue that totally lives up to their reputation.

Through the trio’s adventures, you are assaulted with incredible bits of D&D and fantasy lore, puns from the hells, other monsters and tons and tons of laughter, not to mention wonderfully drawn panels by the web artist, Mike R.

To give you a sample, I present this panel. Here, our paladin and cube are fighting an elder god that stopped by Reality for a cup of coffee, maybe, while threatening to destroy all life as we know it…

Madeline the Paladin + a Ninja Gelatinous Cube = Sheer Badassery.

Madeline the Paladin + a Ninja Gelatinous Cube = Sheer Badassery.

The downside to the laughter and drama and D&D kitsch? It’s a weekly webcomic.

So start from the beginning from the Archives, read it slowly and digest it well.

By the time you’ve caught up, you’ll be dying from anticipation. And don’t forget reading the comments below each panel–they’re just as funny as the comic.

Theatricality and Deception, Part 2

Ninja_crouchBefore Update 19, I spoke of the gameplay skills and tools of the trade to make ninjas emulate as much of the tactical and gadget prowess as illustrated by non-powered superheroes and master spies.

With the new Ninja Spy enhancements and general changes in the game, I wanted to touch on some important changes that really add to the Ninja Spy lifestyle.

  • Rather than debuffing with elemental damage, ninjas gained a trademark ability from their lore: poison. This stuff is bad going in and going out if you use skills that magnify the damage. It’s not an instant kill effect but a great way to add damage-over-time to tougher bosses.
  • The Ninjitsu effects (which replaced the elemental debuffs that are now part of the Henshin Mystic tree) can inflict or withdraw poison, boost your HP and ki temporarily, or give negative levels to enemies en masse. These effects are toggled at will, individually, and activated when you let loose a Touch of Despair finisher. Happily, Update 19.2 has fixed the Wave of Despair negative-level finisher from giving negative levels to your allies.
  • Flash Bang. My favorite new toy will stun and/or blind a group for 6 seconds if they fail one or both saves. Compare it to Batman’s smoke bombs that can be used in a similar way. Great for ninja escapes and first strikes.
  • Jumping and tumbling while in stealth adds loads to mobility, allowing you to circumvent mobs more effectively than simply walking between them.
  • Faster sneaking makes sense for a good ninja.
  • Escaping a mob that detects you, using stealth or invisibility, is a bonus. One new tactic I use against small to medium-sized mobs in a wide or long dungeon with some nooks and crannies and turns is to purposefully attract the whole mob against me, then go emergency stealth, let the mob pass by, and continue ahead.
  • Ninja Master. As noted in a recent post, any centered weapon that gives piercing or slashing damage will also slice a head clean off (or give 100 damage) by a fully trained ninja.
  • Shuriken. Holy moley. Do you know how deadly even the weakest of these are now when thrown by a full ninja?
  • Flash stepping: A quick move every Monk gains with Abundant Step to quickly bypass a mob or trap as if you’ve teleported around them (unchanged, but thought I’d remind you of it)

One humorous addition in the Ninja Spy tree is Deception–an emergency escape trick. Use a turn of Meditation to bring a training dummy into existence with a huge hate-magnet signature, simultaneously making yourself invisible. From there, a Ninja should go immediately to stealth, using Abundant Step to escape the mob that came close to overwhelming you.

The funny part of Deception comes from the dummy’s appearance.

Overbearing swagger. Pompous hat. Yep, looks like a pirate to me.

Overbearing swagger. Pompous hat. Yep, looks like a pirate to me.

Somebody on the developer team knows of the enmity between ninjas and pirates, so it was logical to make enemies go after a fake pirate (is that an oxymoron?) and not an actual ninja.

These three kobolds just outside of the entrance to the Searing Heights from the Marketplace were itching for a fight anyway.

They still hate us.

They apparently hate rogue wooden pirates more. Yay, kobolds!