Method 1: Solo or Duo Necropolis quests on Elite (You can add in the Desert undead quests as well if you like)
Most of my Sublime characters have died this way… more than all of the other ways c0mbined. The details vary, but the recipe is the same. Elite streaks have made this method of death even more enticing…dangling silly crazy XP bonuses out in front if you can git ‘er done… But that’s the big IF. Curse you, Turbine Devs, for enticing even more of my characters to their doom in the vain hope of keeping that elite bravery streak going.
Why are Necropolis quests SO dangerous on elite? Let me count the ways…
***SPOILER ALERT*** the following information could be considered spoiler material about what your characters may face in the Necropolis quests chains. I’ll try not to be too quest specific, but rather keep it general. I am sad to say that I could list too many specific ways to die when short group in the necropolis than this article can fit.
At level 5, how many characters are immune to fear? (All you level 3+ paladins/splashes out there raise your hands…) Being immobilized by a mummy that can one or two shot you is a recipe for disaster, at least when solo or Duo (even with hires). It sounds kinda like this over microphone “Im feared!…Uh, nope..I’m dead.” In the span of time it took you to read that, you are done. Kaput. Start over. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, figure out what your heirloom will be (if your guild so allows) and pack your bags for frosty Korthos. Add in casters spamming scorching rays and searing lights at the cyclic rate, and many (elite) traps that can one-shot all but the best geared TRs and you’ve got yourself a spicy adrenaline cocktail that needs a balnced party or a very versatile solo-specialized character to navigate.
But I’m past Necro 1! I have a fear immunity item (or really good saves) and a handy dandy cleric hireling who can raise me if I make a mistake. My buddy here can use scrolls. Or a rez cake. (Yes, Sublime allows resurrection cakes given by devs in things like the annual birthday gift, but not store bought cakes. Most permadeath guilds do not allow cake use of any kind.) No sweat! This’ll be a breeze.
Raise your hand if your character is immune to ability damage…Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Beuller?!? I didn’t think so. Neither is your cleric hireling. The shadow series quests have massive swarming spawns and respawns of mobs that debuff, level drain and do ability damage at an alarming rate compared to other quests at these levels. If they all don’t die quickly, you are likely to be unable to keep up with the incoming damage from non-physical attacks. Oh, yeah, the mobs are undead, so rogue sneak attack is close to useless, and you probably cannot use your preferred DPS weapon because you need one with Ghost touch or your DPS gets cut in half. Sorcs fare best in here, but they have to go BOOM! very quickly, and if they slip up once and get behind they will be very dead, very quickly, given the amount of aggro their AOE generates. And running around to prevent getting hit (a common tactic) will often spawn even more mobs, hastening your demise.
There are SO many ways to die in the Necro series quests on elite, because there is so little margin for error. One miscalculation and it’s party wipe, especially for small parties. Your best defense against the inevitable mistakes we humans make is to bring a balanced party of 4-6 and watch the casters and the ranged folks mow everything down in front of you. The hjealers may have to toss out an occasional restore. The whole thing will have you wondering why you were so afraid of this ridiculously easy quest chain on elite. And so you’ll go in to another one later with your cleric hireling..and..DING! DING! See you on Korthos…
Don’t get me wrong, normal and hard difficulties can be deadly and the Abbot and his minions have many other ingenious ways to welcome adventurers to the afterlife. It’s just that, on elite there is so little margin for error. When a month or two (or more) of hard work is on the line…I say stack the deck in your favor. Bring a few more friends. DDO is supposed to be an MMORPG, right?
Feel free to add your own necropolis party wipe story here in the comments section if you like.
Till next time… IXOYE –Wyld