There is no new content in Update 30, only Gnomes. And a new challenge. This is kind of like new content, except it is a temporary challenge in the way that … for instance … the Crystal Cove is temporary. Here one month, gone the next.
But this is not just any challenge. This is the special 10th anniversary challenge. Meaning it has to be chock-full of special 10th anniversary content. And it is. If you haven’t run the challenge yet, put away your browser and go run it. Right now. Don’t worry about succeeding. Just get inside and wander around.
So many inside jokes. So many references to players and non-players and events from DDO’s past. So many. Fan service from top to bottom.
I’m going to do what I can to avoid spoilers, but look, I’m only human and the whole thing is one giant spoiler. So again, if you haven’t been inside, get inside!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Like all challenges, one may earn rewards, in this case Party Favors, with more rewards available for those who do the challenge more thoroughly, and even more for those who do it at least five levels under the challenge level.
Unlike any of the other challenges, this one scales completely, from level 1 to level 35. I am not aware of any other challenge that can be run at level 1. I am certain that there are no others that go up to 35.
The challenge takes place inside the House Phiarlan chapter house, which is instantly recognizable as the insides of the quest Partycrashers. Except it’s been done up in banners and fancy wall hangings for a party. Our party, it quickly becomes obvious, from the moment you enter and recognize your first NPC. A familiar kobold.* And the whole thing is like that. One blast from the past after another.
* The challenge does not in any way scrimp on kobolds. I am hoping the next ten years of DDO will be about something other than kobolds. Goblins? Something, anything, I think we have done up the kobolds about as much as they can be done up. But it makes sense, the challenge is celebrating the first ten years and there is no question that they were the decade of the kobold.
But I digress. The quest has three main parts: the party room, the optional fights, and the main quest.
The Party Room
Part one is the main party room itself, jammed with dozens of in jokes and historical DDO references. The “thing” that caused Cordovan to ask us for newbie tips is in here. So are several guests from DDO’s past. Several. It may take a moment to recognize all of them and why they are here, but it is totally worth it to do so.
Do not let your first time in here be a zerg-fest as someone drags you through for a minimum-time completion. Do not. Insist on ample wandering time. You will want to click on everyone and read everything. It took awhile.
Or at least, I did. I wanted to click on everyone and read everything.
The Optional Fights
There are four mini-bosses, each one taking up one of the large rooms off of the main party room. To minimize the spoileriness, I’m obfuscating this section – you will have to highlight the black box to see what the mini-bosses are.
|They are the current Dev team. Or at least those with the most public faces.
But this is not the total list of Turbine people you will see. There are probably two dozen Turbine employees in here somewhere, from Tolero out front collecting Party Favors to a fallen troll No Worries to … well you get it. Lots of Turbine employees. Most of which you can fight.
The mini-bosses are optional: you do not need to fight them. Unless you want stars and rewards. Because without them, you can only earn one star, which translates to one Party Favor, which translates to 80 runs through the challenge to earn a Broccoli Basher.
In other words, you do need to fight the mini-bosses.
The Main Quest
The rest of the Party Crasher instance is in here too, a series of many halls filled with many clumps of kobolds. This is the longest part of the quest, just getting through all the hallways and kobolds until one eventually reaches the end fight.
I’m not going to spoiler the end fight, not even in a black-on-black text box. You are going to have to see it for yourself.
You can skip most of the kobolds in the hallways with invisibility or with sneak, but there are three places where you need to activate doors to advance. You do not have to clear the bad guys near the doors, and clever sneakery avoids even these three fights. But they are just kobolds, and it is – in my opinion – faster to straight-up fight the monsters near the doors than it is to mess with noisemakers or whatnot to activate the doors in sneak mode.
If you are in a competent group it is quite inviting to split up and have everyone take a mini-boss. The fights are painless when you are running at level, but when you are trying for maximum party favors you aren’t at level. You are at level +5, and the mini-bosses get significantly tougher. Also, it is harder to sneak by the kobolds when you have a group, although a competent group can probably smash them about as quickly as a soloist can sneak by.
You have to made a trade-off decision: do you go for the easy and fast at-level completion for five Party Favors? Or go in at level +5 for eight Party Favors? If you want to build any of the challenge rewards, you will have to look at this trade-off in terms of Party Favors per minute. For my characters, soloing, I seem to get a better rate going in at level.
But then I am not a particularly good player.
Evangelyne, my level 2 Gnome Assassin, seems to be about as fast a Party Favor accumulator as I have. She can knock out the challenge at level in less than ten minutes: I timed a completion this morning for this article at 9:24. She is bad-ass enough to handle the mini-bosses with ease yet can sneak-jump through the kobolds as quickly as anyone I have.
At level 2, my best challenge runner.
Happy Anniversary Party Evangelyne! I hope you grow into those hammers soon.
🙂 😀 🙂