So there’s this quest, where you ride a flying pirate ship through the skies, carrying a vast treasure, defending it from attacking ships – yes, actual ship-to-ship combat – with flaming ballistae and blasting broadsides.
Really. We have that quest now. You actually shoot cannons and stuff. It’s really quite different and really quite fun.
It’s called Precious Cargo and it’s also quite confusing and very dangerous. Those other pirate ships have ballistae and cannon as well and they are capable of one-shotting any character at harder difficulties. You have multiple areas of your ship to defend, multiple non-player crew members that you can assign to various defensive actions or positions, and eventually, multiple attacks coming in multiple waves.
There is a ton of action going on, a lot of variables to manage, and it quickly becomes so confusing that it takes awhile even to just realize that you have lost. But we did. Lose, that is, and we eventually realized it when the game booted us out of the instance.
So we tried again. It is such a fun quest! And perfect for a large group. We flagged people in the guild (it is a capstone quest – you have to have run the other Three Barrel Cove quests first) so they could join us. And they did. And it was fun. And it was confusing. And we lost. Again.
This time it was obvious we’d lost as we all died.
There is just so much going on. It seems like every few seconds the DM is yelling in a cheesy pirate voice about some other attack going on some other place. Meanwhile, enemy pirates are running all over the place. We even managed to sink two of the opposing pirate ships, but still we were nowhere ready for the third and largest and it killed us all.
So we came up with a three-part plan
- Hide out in the engine room until there is a specific emergency to deal with
- Go deal with that specific emergency and then return to the engine room until the next one
- Oh and run it on Epic Normal once so we could figure out what the quest was doing and only then go back in on Epic Elite
When the hiding began to seem embarrassing, we renamed it. We decided we weren’t “hiding” after all, we were “laying in ambush”. Which sounded much better.
Thus buttressed by the powers of our English Language Synonym skills (a skill at which we all have a lot of ranks), the quest seemed to be going much smoother. When the enemy destroyed ballistae we didn’t care; we didn’t even know. When the enemy destroyed the helm we all burst out, cleared to the ship bridge, mopped up the bad guys, healed the Captain and repaired the helm. All at once, coordinated. The power of six made it easy. Or maybe it was the power of Epic Normal.
As planned, once we’d answered the emergency we ran back into our “ambush” position. Where we were definitely not hiding.
And so went the quest. Grappling hooks? We sally forth and destroy them. Enemy ships locked into boarding position? My Gamer Girl’s Freezer Burn druid was our designated enemy ship killer. We’d dispatch her to storm the engine room, drop a DoT on the enemy Fire Elemental, and return just before the other ship exploded.
The enemy had no weapon that could reach us in our ambush position, and staying in a full group (as opposed to splitting up into different jobs as we had tried before) meant we could bring overwhelming force to anywhere it was needed.
Eventually the boss ship arrived and we had to storm it en masse. No worries though, the power of a full party (or again maybe the power of Epic Normal) allowed us fairly easy entry to the enemy ship, and to it’s boss. By the end the hardest part was just figuring out what we had to do (there is a specific order in which you have to attack things on the boss ship). But this was why we were there on Normal in the first place. One Normal run to figure things out, future runs at higher difficulties.
And so we win. The last couple of minutes of our travel were spent repairing whatever ship accoutrement had been destroyed. By the time the ship reached Stormreach we had everything back to 100%.
Except for our rogue, Colwyn. He and I were working together on the aft ballistae. It was badly damaged and needed multiple repair sessions: I just kept double-clicking it as fast as the timer bar would allow me. On one of those double clicks I failed to notice that we had already repaired the thing completely; I wasn’t repairing it anymore, I was firing it.
[Ding] Your party member, Colwyn, has died.
“Geoff, did you kill me?” There was confusion in the voice, realizing it was dead, not knowing why. “Did you? Did you fire that thing?”
Well, maybe. Slightly.
The only blemish in an otherwise perfect run and it was friendly fire. On the plus side, it was also hilarious fire, although Colwyn didn’t seem to enjoy the humor quite as much as the rest of us.
Silly Colwyn. The only thing funnier than being ballista’d by a party member is being ballista’d by yourself. But that is a whole other story.
An evening well spent, and fun for nearly all involved. Precious cargo indeed.
🙂 😀 🙂