New content night! Yay, my favorite night of the DDO Calendar! Will I like the content? Will I love the content? No matter, it is all new! Something I’ve not already done dozens of times in the pursuit of gear or saga. All new.
And so off we go, but not haphazardly: everyone is on their best characters, using their best epic destiny, and brandishing their best weapons and gear. This is not just new content, it is level 30 new content. Even when on Normal. But we will be attempting Epic Hard.
What follows is very brief and very general, with nothing that is more spoilery than the splash screens and log in screen images that you’ve already seen. However, if you are the pure type who wants no content spoilers whatsoever, take off now, we’ll see you again tomorrow 🙂
The Archon’s Trial
The quest is posed as a challenge to the characters to determine if they are “worthy”. As if we haven’t been doing that since we first encountered Lotigath back at level one.
Nonetheless, one can be negative and look at the trope as over-used, or positive and consider it tried and true, but either way the real question is not the quest backstory but rather the quest itself.
And the quest itself is lovely. A fun romp through a variety of mini-quests, you even get a choice at one point between platforming or trapsmithing. Something for everyone, not just a slogfest, alternating between thinking and fighting. Very nice.
It was a little bit easy on Epic Hard; I never felt that we were in significant danger. On the other hand, we are a balanced and practiced team, with decently-built melee, caster, healer, and rogues.
I love this quest. Love it. Very pretty, sufficiently interesting, and such a nice break from the endless waves of identical bad guys we’ve been getting over the last few updates. All of my available thumbs point up.
Chelena and Brutus make a friend
One would assume, from the quest name, that this is another in the “assault” series like Kobold Assault or Devil Assault or what have you. And it is, in spirit, in that the only point of the quest is to defeat many, many waves of demonic attackers.
But it is different from the others in that one moves about the terrain during the quest; you have to go find the bad guys, they do not come at you of their own volition. A bigger difference is the way that the terrain provides so many convenient choke points; you will always be fighting from tactical advantage.
And that was my biggest and only complaint; too easy. In all of the other “Assault” quests, it can get pretty hairy. But in this one it never did, the bad guys always came in easily-manageable numbers, politely waiting until we were ready to engage them, and then allowing us the choice of terrain. Even the optional objective was no more difficult than the remainder of the quest.
So … three thumbs. Three thumbs is still good!
The Devil’s Details
Why is it that every evil stronghold has a sneaky back way in? If i was in charge of building strongholds, my very first priority would be to ensure that it was really a strong hold! No back doors! No secret entrances!
I mean, come on stronghold architect, you only had one job!
But I digress. As you may be guessing, in this quest your intrepid adventurers are asked to sneak into a devil stronghold and do … well, you know … intrepid adventuring stuffs. No spoilers!
The quest had a nice feel to it. The castle felt familiarly Shavarath-like, the enemies were familiarly devil-like, very nice. And the end fight boss is awesome! So lovely. One can clearly see that DDO is embracing D&D’s fifth edition, at least the art of it, as the end boss could have been printed directly from the fifth edition Monster Manual. A perfect 3-D rendering of the image.
The quest was a little bit shorter than I expected, and like the other two in the series, a little bit easier than we expected. Even the end boss did nothing challenging beyond possessing an enormous pile of hit points (OMG how many must there be on Elite?). But in spite of those drawbacks, the quest was fun! Very fun.
It was so nice to see so many players in one place again! Not just nice, there was the inevitable lag. I wonder what it is about DDO that simply cannot have more than about 15 players together without causing freezing lag?
My computer today is so much better than the one I had back when the original devil attack happened. But you couldn’t tell by watching my screen. Still the same loooooooong delay while zoning in. Still the need to immediately switch to another instance to be able to move at all.
But I considered the lag to be a good kind of problem because it was caused by so many players. And I like those words: “so many players”. I wish I got to use them more often.
So many players!
But back to the quests. Overall, it is clear that the developers have heard the people in that we are tired of the endless waves of identical bad guys that has been the primary design tenet ever since the Druid’s Deep pack was released. Hopefully, the Temple of Elemental Evil is the pinnacle of that approach and now we are on the downslope.
Because the new quests are not like that, not at all. In the new quests, groups are manageable. tactics matter. Hey for all I know, even stealth is usable in here. Of course Elite is likely to be another story, I’ve seen feedback on the chat channel that enemy DCs are through the roof and crowd control is not manageable at all.
But elite will have to wait for another day. Today was Epic Hard and I have to tell you, we had a great time. Great! So much fun.
One lore-based complaint: what is up with all the tieflings mixing in with the demons? Aren’t tieflings exclusively devilish and by nature enemies to the demons? Aren’t half-human demons called “cambions”? Or am I just hopelessly behind the times?
But that is a nit, not a real issue at all. The only thing that I would consider to maybe be a real issue is the difficulty. We zoomed all three quests in two hours. There was one time when we had multiple people dead at the same time, but only one. Maybe we were just playing that well. Maybe we have just become that good. Or maybe the quests are dialed down a little too much on the easy side.
But again, Epic Hard. Not Elite. So. I guess this is incomplete. I am not including the raid either.
Nonetheless, it was an evening well spent, and a great time was had by all.
And that is what I want out of new content. Something different, that is fun. I want to have a great time when first running it. And we did.
Time will tell if it will hold up to the inevitable grind of repeated completions. And there remains the Elite question. And of course, the raid. So we didn’t completely exhaust the new content on Night One.
But we did beat it. And we did have a great time doing it!
🙂 😀 🙂