Mar 072014

the Spire of Validus
Scary tower full of bad memories

And the Dead Shall Rise is not a quest that shipped with the game originally, it was added in one of the earlier updates (which were called “modules” back then). Sort of an odd duck, a new dungeon plopped in the middle of older content that was not otherwise getting any sort of revamp.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it just doesn’t fit Turbine’s usual M.O.

The quest itself is not a popular one now, and never really was except possibly when first released, for a few reasons:

  • It is mid-heroic (levels 11-13) while the game has moved onto epics
  • It is a longer quest with a low XP/minute ratio
  • It is full of undead
  • It has a reputation of being difficult

None of the undead quests are well-liked, unless they are stuffed full of so many experience points that they are bursting outwards through the quest entrance. Undead quests have extra difficulties inherent in their nature: no critical hits, no sneak attacks, lots of spell and effect immunities, and they deliver lasting debuffs.

A lot of people would rather just go beat on some sneak-attackable/critical-hittable hobgoblins or whatever.

I too remember this quest as being very difficult to run on Elite at level. I vaguely recall actual failures in here too: entire party wipes. Long grinding ones where we try and try and are beat down to the very last spell point before admitting defeat and recalling out with loss of XP (that used to be a thing) and severe equipment damage.

But my Gamer Girl wanted it for renown-based reasons, and she generally gets what she wants. Grabbing my eeeevil melee-focused Favored Soul Diabola, off we went. Level 13 characters to run it on Elite at CR13.

And it was a breeze, really, no worries or issues, we didn’t even need to shrine.

Did Turbine make an easy-mode pass through the quest? I mean, enhancing “accessibility”? Is this power creep in action? Are our characters that much better today than they were in 2007?

<shrug>I think the characters are a lot better now, but just as much credit goes to our approach and the things we brought with us.

Bone Art
The art in the quest is unique and quite striking

Not to spoil this for anyone that hasn’t run it yet, but here are the things we brought that seemed to be the most useful:

  • A good rogue. Traps were no issue
  • A hireling wizard. Persistent AoE damage spells are very helpful
  • Top-shelf weapons. Diabola has a slashing Disruptor AND a bludgeoning Disruptor
  • Wands. The ability to remove debuffs without using mana is a big plus

And that was pretty much that. The end fight has a novel twist to it, but we killed the boss before it had a chance to effect the outcome.

Actually, reading that last sentence, it does sound like power creep, doesn’t it?

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  10 Responses to “And the Dead Shall Rise … or Not”

Comments (10)
  1. I actually kind of like that quest….

  2. Yes, it does sound like power creep. Try 2manning it with a fire-savant and a plain fighter with basic gear and it does give you a challenge (been there, done that a couple of months ago – party wipe πŸ™‚ )

  3. Geewizz Grandma Turbine what pervasive power creep you have. Ominous silence. All the better to solo with you young hero. Why have one party of six individuals run one quest when you can have six individuals runsix questssssessss. πŸ˜‰

  4. One of the few quests that we actually had to have everyone participating in that I got to experience in my early leveling days. Loved it.

  5. I don’t mind undead quests, not even on my pure rogue. Of course, these days they are a lot more fun since she’s two-weilding Sun Blades, but even before then…

    And I agree with Grim – I like this quest. Tons o’ fun. I’ve run it solo, but being premium, I can’t just jump into it at elite, so I don’t recall if I was running elite at level or not.

    My guess is “not”, though.

  6. I just think it is the power creep as well as knowing the quest. I remember when this quest was quite difficult, as well as From Beyond the Grave. Our characters are just better geared and the players just know what to expect. The only problems I tend to have in this quest is the end fight, if I can’t get the lich down before he drops the floor..

  7. Yep its power creep. To be expected though, things are balanced based on the expectations of what’s available at a given level at the time the quest was created. I think to come closer to those old-timey experiences, you’d probably need to run the quests with a character that’s 2 or 3 levels below the normal difficulty quest level πŸ™‚

  8. The party-wipe part typically came at the boss, who unkindly removes the floor you’re standing on. The experienced bum-rushes him at his throne before the rest of the floor goes or he starts doing his standing-on-mist thing where only ranged attacks can get him. The smartest ones have Death Ward on before they charge him. And yes, power creep helps, but this one still is nasty for the unprepared, and I’m a fan of it, too, provided I have a decent weapon. It’s the change-up of enemies (some incorporeal, some need fire, some need bludgeoning) that throw off a lot of people.

  9. Keep in mind too that when the quest first came out, players would have been trying to do it on elite at level 10, which iirc was the cap at the time…and would do so even after the level cap was increased because of the xp bonus back then for running a quest under level. Bravery Bonus has shifted the thinking of what level we run quests at now, and THAT is the true power creep in this case.

What do you think?

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