Mar 192014

Dwarven Skeletons
Two of many – very many – dwarven skeletons

And so our brave heroes, defying death and item damage, bravely they set forth into the daunting and dreaded Ruins of Thunderholme. Buttressed only by their wits, and will, and mana, and … well let’s just say they are well-buttressed … off they tread, fearlessly facing wave after wave of undead defenders, searching ever upwards and then later, ever downwards, seeking Dwarven Ingots with which to forge weapons of fell puissance.

Or in other words, I finally got to try out part of the new content. Specifically, the new adventure area, Ruins of Thunderholme.

Once with my Gamer Girl, once with my Gamer Girl and a guildie who had already traversed the place a couple of times, and once solo, I’ve cleared the area, fought so many skeletons (so many!) and am just about ready to make one of the new weapons.

I love new content!

My first thought was appreciation for the new artwork. It looks very dwarven-dungeony in here. Very. Especially as one leaves the first level and starts to move around, there are some breathtaking views to be seen.

My second thought: “Wow that is a lot of dwarven skeletons”. That was also my third thought, fourth, fifth, and so on up to about thought 47. There are just a whole lot of undead dwarves. They team up on you; you’ll be fighting one clot of them while another just happens to be patrolling by and joins. They seem to have a wide sound detection range and will run an unexpectedly long distance to join in fights. And many of them are archers, retreating when confronted, often retreating into a zone that is within agro distance of another group.

All of these factors together mean that it can be difficult to contain a battle within a single herd of skeletons; it is very common to be fighting several groups at once, and when this happens it can be quite overwhelming.

Thunderholme encounters definitely follow the new design paradigm of “more monsters is always better”.

There are other monsters inside too, I don’t want to be too detailed in here, some of you may want to figure this out by yourselves. For everyone else, there is always the wiki. One thing I will share though, monsters in here are always in large numbers. If you are fighting one thing, be careful, there are five or six or twelve more of them that you cannot yet see but are on their way to join in.

But mainly, there are the seemingly endless streams of dwarven skeletons. Being undead, my Tim-the-Enchanter CC archmage had severe crowd control issues; they are all immune to her best stuff. Web helped; they break through it quickly but it does give you a (very) short break. And surprisingly, so was the old-as-the-hills tactic of throwing up a Firewall and shield-blocking.

I don’t know why this surprises me, turtling up in a Firewall is a time-tested tactic, if a bit old-school. Nonetheless, it works pretty well in here. As a plus, a Firewall on a remote group of archers will toast them up without triggering their retreating tactics.

Burning Skeletons
Old-school tactics for the win

Also, Firewall does not seem to be burning up Webs the way they are supposed to this release. Funny how that changes every DDO release, sometimes fiery casting burns up Webs, sometimes only Fireball and other specific flame spells have the effect, and sometimes Webs are fireproof. It’s like potions and whether you can cast them on other people and/or drink them while raged; someone at DDO accidentally changes this every time they release code.

It’s really quite funny.

But I digress. This isn’t about the quirky weirdness of DDO development. This is about the Ruins of Thunderholme.

Later I found a whole new type of puzzle involving mirrors and light beams. I loved it! Loved! Awesome. I don’t think that I am spoiling anything by providing a couple of hard-earned tips:

  • It is definitely not okay to stand in the beam when aiming the light source
  • It is definitely not okay to stand in the beam at a puzzle end point when the beam reaches there
  • It seems to be okay to walk through the light beam, as long as you are in the middle somewhere, avoiding the starting and ending points (although I always do it very fast and jump at the same time)

I’ve been in here with a fighter and a wizard and both were effective (fortunately the skeletons DO respond to intimidation). Decent loot too, though it looks like one will have to make a few trips to accumulate enough Dwarven Ingots to make anything.

Frankly, that is not a problem. Quite the opposite, it just means I am going to have even more good times in the new content.

I so love new content!

🙂 😀 🙂

  4 Responses to “The Ruins of Thunderholme”

Comments (4)
  1. We (guild) had the same thoughts about the artwork – very nice 😀

  2. I took my seasoned L25 Shintao tanker in the ruins. Wow. She’s built to handle undead but being lower level, it took me slightly longer to take out the hordes. Healing amplification helped greatly there; anyone that’s too buff-dependent is going to get creamed. Notice what’s “hair” on top of the undead dwarve’s heads? Mushrooms! Combined with the dynamic level mapping (few zones) and the huge honking size of the place, it was great to explore. I had to take on Dagan myself but our group stopped short at taking on who I would read later as the Master of the One Shot Kill, the Emissary.

    I can’t wait to drop in the Haunted Halls quest and explore about. The Ruins was VERY “Dwarrowdelf,” right? You definitely can relate how the Fellowship of the Ring felt when they were surrounded by, well, EVERYTHING.

  3. And what IS it with dwarves digging so deep as to make an expressway to the hells? Shouldn’t these guys send out memos to each other? “Uh…don’t dig too deeply, greedy ones.”

    • We had the same thought: what is it with these guys? Are they incapable of learning? Have they never read Tolkien?

      I blame Gandalf oops I mean Elminster.

What do you think?

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