Nov 122015
 

Reviewing the Night Revels

The first run of the Night Revels is in the history books;Β  all of the apples have been blackened, the cinnamon sinistered, and the almonds spookified. Thousands of undead have been (temporarily) laid to rest across hundreds of instances. The Night has been Reveled in full and Delera’s Graveyard has returned to its normal, less atmospheric state.

As the afterimage of a lovely mauve-and-black sky fades from our collective retinas, time to ask the hard question: did you have fun?

Why, yes. Yes I did.

A simple answer to a simple question. But the topic deserves more; more detail, more specifics. Maybe even a suggestion or two.

Let’s dive in.

On the Killing Fields

A Night Revels Lich, with a pocket full of chocolate

I can’t wait to eat whatever chocolates this guy might have in his pockets!

I felt that the developers got the public instance difficulty just about right. Harvesting Delera’s Graveyard is not about nail-biting, razor-edge, maybe-I-can-just-barely-win combat. It is about having fun. Easy to kill monsters may be easy, but I applaud this, its a festival. One could still get killed if one was careless.

Or forgot Deathblock.

I enjoy seeing all of the other players. It makes the event seem more alive. Of course it is also annoying, apparently we are always going to have that guy who wants to steal your kills and derail your chocolates. But so it goes. Inviting the public is necessary, even with all that inviting the public entails. One can find a remote location in a less-populous instance if one prefers a bit more solitude.

The chocolate-to-key ratio was all over the place. One session, I’d get four keys right away. The next, it would take most of the night and leave me insufficient ability to run the quests. I think it is a mistake to have the keys be managed by the random number generator; the keys literally enable most of the festival. A key-less (or key-shy) session is unsatisfactory.

I understand that Turbine wants us to grind for the keys, otherwise they will never sell any in the store. But I wish it was a dependable drop rate. Something like one every twenty monsters. Something you can plan, where you can budget your time and effort accordingly.

One other minor annoyance: activating the monsters. With most area-of-effect attacks disabled, the need to activate the bad guys gives too much advantage to characters that still have enabled AoE attacks, or those that have dogs/wolves.

Summary and Suggestions
  • Fun!
  • Suggestion: Key drop rate needs to be less random
  • Suggestion: Monsters should start out activated

 

On The Quests

 

A shaman from The Kobold's Newest Ringleader

Undead Kobolds are no less jumpy than regular ones

 

When I first read that the festival quests were retreads of existing quests I admit to feeling a bit let down: old content is old. But it didn’t work out like that, at least not for the most part, due to the high rate of repetition. Even brand-new quests were going to quickly lose that new car smell when one is grinding them over and over. Some can be completed in just a couple of minutes. Now that I understand, I think re-using existing content was just fine, especially since it probably saved time. I never felt the let-down I was expecting.

Quite the contrary, I found most of the questlets (questettes? miniquests?) to be quite enjoyable. Sometimes the challenge is just finishing, but these are more about how fast you can finish. And three of the questettes met the latter challenge perfectly.

Roderic Nettle seems to have had a very bad week

Roderic Nettles looks to have had a very bad week

Double huzzahs to Under New Ravagement, The Snitch and the Lich, and especially Haverdashed. All had appropriate difficulty, especially the end fight in Ravagement, and the turreted skeleton archers backing up the charging skeletal warriors in a long tube in Snitch.

Fun. All three of them. And suitable for the many repetitive visits that the festival requires.

But less huzzahs for The Kobold’s Newest Ringleader. Maybe it was less fun because the original version of the quest is on the XP-per-minute trail and I have already run it so many, many times. Maybe it was less fun because it is so big; lots of running. Lots of time. Also, giving Kobold Shamans undead traits does not make them less annoying.

Meh. Becoming even less meh and more annoying with each of the many re-runs.

Summary and Suggestions
  • Mostly fun!
  • Suggestion: Replace Newest Ringleader with something smaller and less worn, please.

 

On The Atmosphere

 

The jack-o-lanterns are everywhere during Night Revels; all over Delera’s graveyard, on your beholders, even on champions. And it was delightful.

I will let the images speak for themselves.

 

Night Revels pumpkinhead

During the Night Revels, a Potion of Wonder may do this to you. Which, by the way, is completely awesome

 

Adding a jack-o-lantern head to a giant spider does not make it less creepy

Adding a jack-o-lantern head to a giant spider does not make it less creepy

 

The charming Night Revels atmosphere

The best part of the festival is the atmosphere. You want to click this to see the full-sized wallpaper version!

Summary and Suggestions
  • Completely awesome!
  • Suggestion: More! MOAR!

On the Loot

I like the idea that most of the loot is easy to get, but either temporary or low power.

I like the idea of combining the old Mabar loot to ensure it doesn’t just fade away.

The cosmetic gear is very Night Revely. I love it. The brooms are inspired; I look forward to making a skin of the two-handed version for my stick fighter. Sweeping up the bad guys!

I wish they’d spent more time making the Mabar loot fit more seamlessly. I think the Mabar potions were too expensive; I’d rather it be more like 10 chocolates each. It used to be possible to loot about a year’s worth of Oil of Incandescence in one festival, if you worked at it. That is no longer the case. Were gloomy potions over-performing?

56 Quests Worth of Ingredients

56 Quests worth of ingredients. Assuming maximum rate for ingredients

I wish they’d have added level 28 versions of the Mabar gear. Some of it is end-game worthy if only it had been updated.

Mostly, I wish they’d change the way that Mabar gear is earned. Having to craft each level of the gear adds up to a crazy amount of necessary ingredients. Crazy. Check out the chart on the right. One level 24 cloak requires 56 quest runs, assuming that you run each quest at maximum ingredient efficiency. I think it would make more sense to have a separate cost for each version. It can be an expensive cost. But it ought to be possible to earn one during one Night Revels festival and I don’t think that is the case today.

Summary and Suggestions
  • A nice list of loot, something for everyone, nicely done
  • Suggestion: Provide level 28 versions of the Mabar gear
  • Suggestion: Rework the Mabar gear purchasing to be a flat rate, not a series of upgrades

 

Overall

I miss the old Ethereal Dragon quest and the 24-character instances it enabled, but I don’t miss the lag. Not at all. The Night Revels is a worthy replacement for Mabar, and for that matter, one that is good enough to stand on its own.

Forget Mabar. This is better.

Well done, DDO developers, two thumbs way up.

I assume that the Night Revels will enter the regular festival rotation now, and it should, it is completely worthy.

I look forward to seeing it again.

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

Win the last copy of this book!

  11 Responses to “Reviewing the Night Revels”

Comments (11)
  1. “Also, giving Kobold Shamans undead traits does not make them less annoying” so true πŸ˜€

  2. My “sweet spot” for ingredients was actually 3 levels over, because you got 20 of whatever you were running for. Twenty, a nice round number. This led to less odd number leftovers, which- while getting you an additional 12 every 4 runs- made things a bit weird, in my book. Best thing about Night Revels was that it was fun, and people could run it how they liked. This was my first time running anything like it. I’d never run Mabar before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it made for fun run memories that I shall cherish for years to come. πŸ™‚

  3. I posted this here: https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/467499-Let-s-make-Night-Revels-even-better-next-year?p=5722281&viewfull=1#post5722281 but here is my key issue:

    In Crystal Cove, even if you solo the whole thing incl. wilderness stuff, you are working with other players to turn in map pieces to open the Cove (however indirect the cooperation, it is there).

    The old Mabar had two distinct cooperative elements as well–opening the summoning chamber and defeating the dragon. For this reason you could hit the tavern and high level arcanes would be there buffing Everyone!

    There is 0 cooperation in Night Revels, even worse: the problem of ING stealing and hence anti-cooperation. I got more keys solo. At best, a large group caused more spawns, but you were better off near each other and not grouped. THIS is the main problem with The Night Revels.

  4. I had they add content that is not like the 4 re-imagined mini quests next year. A 12 man Spectral Dragon Raid or the darkened Haunted House idea that was tossed around on the forums.

  5. I enjoyed it. I didn’t make much of value, but I only ran it for a few hours 2 day it was open. I liked the Kobolds Newest Ringleader but I also like the original quest. Maybe I haven’t run it enough yet?

    • I think the only time I farmed quests was back when f2p first came out, and those choosing free/premium “had” to do normal, then hard, then elite … that was more than enough farming for me πŸ™‚

      (Oh, I’m that guy who smashes the crates at the start to stop the zergs… ‘Cept those with jump potions πŸ˜› )

  6. A few comments:

    1) “Stealing kills/chocolate”. Can’t stop ‘kill stealing’. HOWEVER, it should be pointed out that just hitting the mob gives you a chance for drops, so “stealing chocolate” is at least somewhat inaccurate (they came up with a formula so drops were not solely based on “killing” the mob to prevent [or at least “minimize”] just such occurrences).

    2) It is possible to get a L24 cloak of night, starting from scratch, in one festival (I know because I did it) – provided it lasts longer than just one weekend (I think at least a week is needed; two would be better). I think I ran closer to 70 quest runs, based on a 20-ingredient per run (3 levels over) gathering rate. Of course, that also depends on getting enough keys…

    3) I somewhat disagree about the randomness of key drops, though I think maybe there could be an increasing chance upon failure (sort of like what they did for spawning mimics during the mimic hunt – with each non-mimic spawned, the next had a higher chance of spawning). Making it a hard kill-count would be too predictable. And then there’s always that one guy who’ll count and complain if he didn’t get one, even if he miscounted. But, yeah, the key drop was completely hit-or-miss. On one toon, I spend 4-hours and got 4 keys; on another, 1.5 hours and got 6 keys.

    4) Spawning active mobs could cause other problems, but maybe possible for them to be hard-targetable upon spawning? I know my ranged toons would like that.

    5) Atmosphere: I think you forgot that beholds are pumpkins, too. At least, you didn’t include a screen shot of one.

    6) I found “Ravagement ” and “Snitch and Lich” the hardest to run, solo-ish. Even though there is a lich in “Ringleader”, he’s easier than the other. My biggest complaint on “Snitch and Lich” is the disappearing rest shrine. It disappeared when the other end of the tunnel was opened, even if it wasn’t used!

    7) I do believe they are planning on making L28 Mabar gear. It was my understanding that they just didn’t have time, with the revampment. So maybe next time?

    We hope.
    πŸ˜‰

  7. I was ok with keys. I dual-box soloed the event(I was on holidays and missed it all until the final Thursday) Luedwig stood around to help spawn rates and mooch(leech) chocolates and keys off my secondary account’s Warlock.
    The Friday was my first full, solid day of Revels and I think my key tally was 47 for the actively farming Warlock and somewhere near 23 for the leachy-nut Luedwig. On Sunday I quested until the keys were gone then farmed a few more and burned them off as well. No rhyme or reason to what I crafted really. I did get a level 20 and a level 16 cloak for the warlock and clickies all around…

    The xp was a tidy bonus. I think I took the Warlock from final rank of ten, well into 13.

  8. First time 6* XP was worth getting. We two manned it on level 21’s and the level 35 instance was doable if beating down mobs with my lvl 20 gear wasn’t ideal. I stopped after getting one Spooky INT augment, couldn’t really face the idea that I’d need to keep running it and either keep going until I got another augment, since my ingredients would expire at the end of the year – with the choice of all or nothing, i went for nothing after one augment πŸ™‚

  9. Nice summary πŸ™‚

    I’m glad the keys were unbound, it made grouping a lot more enjoyable, even if you were blamed for getting 10 times the number of keys than the rest of the party… +key loot flag FTW!

    On another note, with the current agg mechanics, the corridor full of skeletons is easy to solo as you can summon one skeleton at a time, with a ranged weapon (spell, etc?), and then engaging a few skele archers seemed a lot easier. Using that in a group would make it far too easy, so the “Rwar, me charge, Hulk smash” tactic keeps things interesting, and probably the healers on their toes, sorry healers.
    (Turn Undead helped too, oh, that gives me another “point”.)

    Turn Undead is VERY amusing! Especially as you can turn orange-named monsters, which all the bosses were, mwahhahaahahhahahahahahahhahaha *cough* *gasp* aahhahaahahhaahahahahahahhahh!!!
    (There are an awful lot of colourblind[sic] people playing this game, they’re not red-named!)

    • Hmmm, now I really do regret not running Witchway, my level 24 sun elf (aberrant mark of the flumph)through there but still, she is on my main account. This event was all about spreading the butter on the second slice of bread…

      Next time I get to Mwahhah…. What he said.

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