Never Vorpal

 Posted by at 7:26 am  DDO, Game Play  Add comments
Jul 282014

This is the source of the word “Vorpal”.


By Lewis Carroll

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”


He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.


And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!


One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.


“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.


’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Now that we have context, let us contemplate the meaning of the following:

Never Vorpal

  • A greatclub can never go snicker-snack
  • A greatclub can never go through and through
  • A greatclub can never sever anything, let alone a Jabberwock head

And thus was removed any pretense of Vorpal being significant in this game. And Disrupting. And Banishing. And Smiting. But especially, Vorpal.

This is where I am supposed to rant about how a Vorpal club totally violates everything about D&D. But in this case, it is not just about Dungeons & Dragons, it is even bigger. The damage is worse. Allow me to explain:

  • It used to be that certain effects were only available on certain equipment slots
  • It used to be that certain weapon effects were only available on certain types of weapons
  • It used to be that some effects were more powerful than others, and also harder to get
  • It used to be that you might get lucky on any chest – any chest, anywhere in the game – and pull something that was the perfect combination of effects and item. Jackpot!

Now every effect is available on every item slot. Every weapon effect is available on every weapon. Some effects are just gone (when was the last time you pulled anything with a clicky?).

Nothing is special. Or rather, everything is. And when everything is special, nothing is.

You can still get the excitement of pulling something that is both rare and valuable, but to do that you have to be opening a specific chest and hoping for a specific named item. There is no thrill in random loot, only in named loot.

Maybe that is the design, and it is rewarding when you finally get that one item to drop. But it is a different kind of reward. Not a surprise, more of a relief. Finally. You’ve got it.

But it used to be that you could be surprised by the content of any chest. Not relieved, surprised.

Back in the day, I pulled a random loot short sword while running the Reaver that was so perfect, word spread that I had it, and I spent the rest of that session fielding tells from people trying to buy it from me. From all over the server.

That was amazing!

Maybe the game is now just too mature for that kind of thing. Something special eventually becomes something common, maybe even something duped, and then it overwhelms everything. No longer special, now just overpowered. And bad.

Okay. But this leads to a world where I don’t even bother to look at the stuff I loot unless I am at one of those chests.

And that is a shame.

I have ideas on how to fix this, naturally, you would expect no less. But that will have to wait for another day.* In the meanwhile, what would you do? Or do you believe that I am off base altogether, the loots system is fine the way it is?

What do you think?

🙂 😀 🙂

* Actually, now that I think about it, I listed most of them the last time I talked about loot.

  10 Responses to “Never Vorpal”

Comments (10)
  1. FWIW Old Bean, I tend to disagree to a large extent. I still get a buzz on opening a new chest..I still hope for good stuff, suspect it wont be great stuff, and occasionally find real treasure. most of my characters run around with kit that has been found in random chests and do quite nicely TY. I do agree however that vorpal on a greatclub is just WRONG. Going back to when I were a lad, vorpal was a blade (or rabbit) effect. Blame Phil Chappell , Mike Hill, and Neil Skene for that!

  2. +100 for including ‘Jabberwocky’ in a blog post!

    But yes, I’m kind of lacklustre about loot from chests nowadays, apart from some things in the high level raids/quests that I haven’t picked up. But that could be just because I’ve picked up decent equipment to use at various levels over the course of several TR’s…

  3. Yes, there is a loss to the role-play rules with Vorpalled everything now. Where Monks couldn’t vorpal unarmed, we now have Vorpal handwraps, Vorpalling piercing/slashing swords (proper) and shurikens (that’s a BIG shuriken) and an Epic feat to add Vorpal to unarmed attacks.

    I don’t mind it in the context of DDO but I’m sure it would get me annoyed when everybody has “superpowers”. Each class has a gift, but none should be equal to getting all the gifts. Vorpal, at its heart, should be reserved for the ultimate kill due to extreme power (STR) or extreme precision (Ninja/Assassin).

  4. I understand the frustration completely and tend to agree that random loot is no longer as exciting to pull as it was in the past. When MoTU was released, I had a blast pulling weapons and items with named enhancements at the time, such as Lacerating, but now those things are no longer dropping in the game. The changes to vorpal, stat damaging weapons, and other aspects have lowered the fun in pulling random generated loot. I’m hoping this will change sometime in the near future!!

  5. Personally, i think it’s just a bit of… lets say “simplified” programming instead of “lazy” – for example, keen is for things with an edge & impact is for bludgeoning, but they both have the same effect in game mechanic terms.. presumably “skullcaving” or “golf invention” should be the blunt version of the vorpal effect.

  6. Why cant you severe an arm or a head with a blunt object? ie, I’m going to knock your block off. Refers to knocking someone heads off the neck with a punch.

    That being said in the spirit of DDO vorpal was described as being super incredible magically shard that it would cut right through you and sever your head or arm from your shoulders.

    In that light you are spot on.

    In short, I agree random loot is boring, unimaginative and just down right UNspecial. Might as well just replace it with a huge stack of Plat or Astral shards.

    • Well it was better when MOTU was launched, and there were those “narrow end of the wedge” kind of combinations that would need level 25+ loot table to even have a chance of appearing… then, *most* of the random loot was boring, but you could still find a few gems if you found one with multi-effect properties on both the prefix AND the suffix.. i was lucky enough to find a couple myself & they’re probably still amongst the best loot i’ve ever found, including some named items.

  7. Vorpal used to mean something. Beheadings on a 20.

  8. Whatever Geoff said, I agree with.

    (Lazy day for Bob.)

What do you think?

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