From Tranquility to Serenity

There is a certain joy you feel in renewal, in repentance that makes you appreciate why you love what you love. This was a transforming time that, at the least, should make me a better person, not to mention a nicer player.

There is a certain joy you feel in renewal, in repentance that makes you appreciate why you love what you love. This was a transforming time that, at the least, should make me a better person, not to mention a nicer player.

I’m back.

Lent taught me that I did play DDO too often.

I wasn’t cold turkey throughout Lent, however, having revived my Diablo II interest.

But at least that game can be paused, and I found greater quality time with my family and faith.

I will likely adopt a new play time schedule so DDO, however fun, doesn’t get the better of me, while still allowing time to continue exploring and enjoying all the happiness. While Lent is now over and Eastertide is here, I loved the wave of comparative tranquility that, while problems didn’t go away with a wave of a wand or something, I was more attuned to respond to them and appreciate what I have.

Looks like a lot’s happened during my exodus. Update 25 is coming today. The Temple of Elemental Evil is near. All the Rogue trees are getting a refresh, especially the Assassins and Mechanics.

I logged in for the first time since February 18 yesterday. When I left, my guild had just hit level 99. Yesterday, my guild sat at level 103–four guild levels in a 5 week span. Holy cow. Something’s up with my guild, and that’s a great thing.

Getting My Ninja On

The first thing I did on login, once reorienting my eyes back to the visual richness of the game (playing a weaker resolution game like Diablo II is bound to make you appreciate even DDO’s slightly aged but superior graphics), I had a definitive urge to take the ninjas out on patrol.

First off the ship was Ryncletica the poison-master for a flagging run in “The Coalescence Chamber.” If there were any signs of rust in my gameplay, I whittled them out quickly as I eliminated the initial troglodyte and troll forces with Althea the fashion-model-turned-Favored Soul.

From there, with Althea parked most of the time except to refresh my Death Ward, I had a very smooth run by sneaking through as much as I could (when the damned bats didn’t show up every 2 seconds) using my shuriken as needed for some distant targets, and generally picking and choosing targets through the end. The only real challenge, bats notwithstanding, was the final key with the gelatinous cube, which is always one big Jello-bowl of HP. But after nailing it using some Ninjutsu, after 20 negative levels it finally melted.

With Ryn’s shadow-lust sated for a time, it was time for Kiricletica the solo-master in “Eyes of Stone” on Hard. Still following her self-imposed solo rules just because they’re still fun and force me to feel the ninja vibe, Kiri quickly restored guards, then used Freezing the Lifeblood finishers on every mage that guarded the Coin Lords for a very quick takedown. Each mage managed to summon their elementals–but then, that’s why the Pain Touch finisher is a godsend, which Nauseated each elemental to prevent them from attacking or casting.

Skipping the troll in the Bureau of Magical Vehicles, I entered the side entrance, restored the last guards and entered Hesstess’s lair. I summoned a fiend-blood troll as fodder and Blurred up the two guards before going to work, striking Hesstess with hit-and-run doses of Ninja Poison using Poisoned Soul Ninjutsu while using ninja speed to avoid her direct stunning magic and stoning gaze. Reinforcements that appeared only made it easier to keep my ki levels high enough to end Hesstess by poison in only 3 minutes or so.

To cap off the first day back, I also took Artemistika out into the epic High Road for some concentrated slayers. I want to pump the XP from 3,000 slayers straight into my Grandmaster of Flowers training so that I can build up another Fate point, unlock the Divine tree and get Unyielding Sentinel and perhaps Divine Crusader pumped up for more Fate points. I’d love to have the Elder Dryad accessible to me for later Epic play, so that means a bit more Destiny grinding, with a +2 Tome of Fate purchase still in reserve.

A New Direction, A New Guild, a New Server

I’m thinking of branching out from my only server, Ghallanda, to start a new guild where stealth is the name of the game. Bards, Rogues, Rangers and Monks would take a new darker tack in defeating the evils. Once Update 25 takes hold, it’s on my to-do list.

If you have a suggestion as to which server to set up camp, feel free to speak up.

I would not mind at all meeting many of you who have visited the blog. And starting up new characters to grow together sounds like a blast.

Perhaps we’ll have a server in common with almost everyone to get all shadowy and stuff. If enough interest appears here and we can coordinate, I’ll revisit it in a later post and set up a public plan.

Pacifist Play: Is That Possible?

Someone asked us on the Stormreach Shadows guide forum thread for a list of quests in DDO where no kills are required to complete a quest.

It got me to thinking. Are there any quests where killing is not an absolute requirement?

The Results

661054_pw_diplomacyTo answer this question, I needed some time to study every quest in DDO to note any game mechanic that confirmed if at least one kill was required.

Surprisingly, it took me a short time, simply scanning the quests by level list for any names that stood out by memory and then studying the few quests I haven’t done. Most quests are part of chains and it was easy to recall their objectives.

There were some caveats in determining this list.

  1. If a quest has any spiders, bats or oozes, it can’t be considered. No amount of stealth or invisibility or speed will keep these monsters from honing in on you with their special senses. Invis-zerg too much in quests filled with these and you’re inevitably slaying something, thanks to Dungeon Alerts.
  2. Raids and character-creation quests such as “Hall of the Mark” or “The Voyage” are excluded here. In case you think “The Grotto”, quest #1 can be done this way, you must kill the first sahuagin to pull the lever, even if you left your NPC trio to kill everything else.
  3. If a required quest objective has the word “slay” or “kill” in it, it’s also disqualified.
  4. Any rescue or escort quest is disqualified for obvious reasons.
  5. Any progression-only quest is disqualified (such as “Free Delera'”, speaking with Archbishop Dryden in “The Catacombs” chain)

I’m going to note very low kill quests to contrast and compare, especially those I’ve done myself.

And you can’t just leave pets to fight even if you aren’t. Summoned and hired creatures are your agents and represent you.

Here’s what I found.

  • Harbor Toll: A (new?) quest for level 4 and below only where you use non-combat skills to win. No fighting. And if you go to level 5, you can’t pick this quest up.
  • Stealthy Repossession: Absolutely no kills required.
  • Stop Hazadil’s Shipment: I jest here because there are no enemies to slay, only boxes, unless you go all out to find the one and only optional kobold to kill.
  • Home Sweet Sewer: Another aversion as your mission is to pull the dogs to the entrance. Slay one and you fail.
  • The Deadly Package: Agent of the Darguul (Splinterskull #6): I confirmed with Kiricletica that you can do this short quest with absolutely no kills, despite a moderate force of hobgoblins between you and the NPC you must contact to complete. I added the “Insidious Cunning” info to this quest’s DDO Wiki page.
  • Transitions to the last Splinterskull quests: To complete the last 3 quests, you have to get to the inner stronghold gate. This requires no kills if you are clever enough to do it, unless you encounter some spiders in your path in one of these quests.
  • Doom of the Witch-doctor: Zulkash, Herald of Woe: This isn’t a no-kill quest. But I note it here because, despite the army of hobgoblins surrounding the puzzle wheels, it is very possible to make precisely two required kills to complete this one: Zulkash himself, and his totem, rather than up to 75 kills possible. You’ll just have to get the guards around each puzzle wheel to move away from it for a time.
  • Maraud the Mines: Technically, yes, you aren’t required to kill anything. The challenge is that most of the required gems you must collect are in breakables that you must destroy to obtain them, of which the sounds attract attention. Often the monsters are also camping on your objectives, and a few are on your path. I’ve done this one solo several times with a Devious bonus, so I had a few kills. It may be possible to go without kills with a Rogue with invisibility options, fog scrolls and a lot of noisemakers. Or, use a partner that pulls the aggro away and then uses Dimension Door to escape.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: It is possible to slay only the Droaam captain to complete the quest. On Kiricletica I managed to get to the final battle without a single kill, slaying only 3 others aside from the target. (How you escape from the mobs left over inside the fortress or loot the chests afterward is another matter.) (Update: It’s completely doable.)
  • Frame Work: It was possible to slay only the red-named minotaur chieftain to complete this quest. Update 22 had bugs that made enemies practically teleport into the fortress on trying this, but perhaps Update 23 has fixed that craziness.
  • Blockade Buster: Another quest where no kills are possible but very difficult for melees to do. A mage with Flesh-to-Stone could stop the kobolds in the mine bay (your goal on all three ships, nine kobolds total). A very fast Ninja Spy could use a finisher to paralyze all three kobolds for up to a minute, enough time to set the mine controls and escape the mine bay. You can’t use the mine controls without a sound; doing so awakens any kobolds nearby.
  • The Claw of Vulkoor: You must kill Sobrien the Wizard at the game’s start. From there, no kills are required.

And that’s it. That’s all I could find.

Quests like “Eyes of Stone” can be easily stealthed but you must slay the four mages and elementals spawned that hold each Coin Lord, then slay Hesstess herself, while trying to avoid getting killed.

Many quests may have levers and switches that must be pulled to proceed. However, often these levers and switches are “wired” to the mobs nearby, just as chests are often locked until you clear enemies nearby (“Irestone Inlet”). Kiricletica discovered this mechanic a lot in her no-kill days.

Since this is DDO and not “Splinter Cell World,” it’s logical that they’re aren’t many quests where slaying is unnecessary. Eberron and the Forgotten Realms are dangerous places where enemies shoot first.

You can get low-kills, but most of the quests simply require you to get your hands dirty…er…bloody.

Got a quest that you’ve think I’ve missed? Tell me about it and I’ll challenge your recollection of it.