Outro’s foot landed in a puddle of… something, and she withdrew her it with a grunt of disgust. In front of her, Rabbit Master did not pause, but behind her Dirt House stopped walking and turned to check for pursuers. The Half Elf moved so silently, that Outro only knew because she looked.
“Hurry Up!” Rabbit’s voice hissed from in front of her. Turning to give her a hateful glance, she found the dwarf had already turned to continue scouting the sewer tunnel. Deciding that nobody was going to care that her nice new boots she had just purchased in the Phiarlain Enclave that week were now covered in unidentified sewage, Outro huffed out loud and continued on.
The sewer passage took a sharp right ahead, and Rabbit had already disappeared around it. When Outro caught up, Rabbit had already opened a steam powered door, to reveal a room full of rubble and boulders. However, the dwarf had not moved inside yet, and even Outro could sense the tension in her. She knelt beside the door frame, underneath the valve she had turned.
Always alert, Dirt took up a position on the other side of the door, keeping her longbow trained and readied. Not seeing anything, Outro stood beside the kneeling dwarf, and asked the obvious. “What are we doing?” Something must have been on Rabbit’s mind, because for once Outro’s question and tone didn’t seem to instantly annoy the dwarf. “Something is wrong with that room,” she replied.
Waiting, Outro briefly concerned herself with her slender elven fingers and neatly painted nails. When a moment had passed and they were still kneeling there, she decided it was time to take matters into her neatly manicured hands. She drew her rapier, and walked through the door.
Grinning to herself about the pair of foolish rangers behind her, she strolled to the center of the room before turning to look at her companions. She saw them still in the doorway, glaring at her. She was just about to start a nice long gloat when a sound like falling stone came from behind her. When her companions glared turned to looks of horror, she decided it would be better to sprint rather than look. She made it back through the door just as a huge rock the size of her head crashed into the wall to the right of it.
She turned to look at the room, expecting to see it caved in, but she was struck dumb for a moment while her brain took in what she saw. Instead of more falling from the ceiling, the rubble on the ground had STOOD UP! Now, in the center of the room looking as displeased as stone could, was a huge earth elemental. Rabbit and Dirt wasted no time, and they entered the room to fight. Rabbits axes flew like they were carried by a breeze, and arrows bounced from the stone of the elemental, but their weapons were quickly shown to have little effect.
Seeing this, Outro stepped just inside the doorway, closed her eyes, and started humming. She then summoned the Mandolin she kept in a small portable hole in her bracelet and started walking forward. Moving slowly into the room towards the center she opened her eyes, and began to sing a song with a soft, up tempo beat, strumming the mandolin in time. Continuing forward, she focused her voice on the monster, imagining the music wrapping around it like twisting vines. To her companions surprise, the monster first began to slow its attacks, then it stopped. It turned towards Outro, raised its stone arms in the air, and slowly began to dance. It swayed in slow rhythm to her song.
Rabbit and Dirt wasted no time in crossing the room to the exit door and opening it. Once Outro had crossed the threshold, taking her time so she wouldn’t trip while singing, they promptly closed the door. They didn’t stick around to see if the Earth Elemental had any requests for an encore.
I surprised myself with how much I wanted to say as I started writing this time. So, let’s get started.
If you haven’t heard it yet, I recommend you give DDO Cast episode 296 a listen. I linked the MP3 above. Fwelcyr of Orien gives us a tale of his character running Purge the Heretics. It’s exactly the kind of thing I like to listen to, and I really hope to hear more. I don’t think my characters would ever want to work with his WF, since they tend to be more neutral good, but it was still a great story. If you don’t mind reading a bit, there is also a story available on the Wizards web site written by Keith Baker. It’s the story of Shadow and her adventures in the Harbor. Shadows of Stormreach is six chapters (pages) long. You move to the next chapter at the bottom left.
DDO is in Open Beta! Huzzah! It seems to have only been for while the events were going on, but there might be another open period on the way. Producer Rowan mentioned they had completed their final build for U19, and they had begun working on the U19.1 patch. That follows pretty closely what they did in MotU, where there was a first patch within a few weeks. You’ve gotta love those production deadlines. My guess would be that sometime this week they will release that final build for everyone to play with, and then on Monday the 19th you can plan on not playing while they push out the update. Luckily, I will be piking from work, and its pretty rare for DDO to go down for more than 12 hours. Hopefully the new client release a few weeks back included much of the U19 game files, and there wont be much to do on the 19th.
Tokens of the Twelve
I only have 6 of the 12 tokens I needed to get my True Heart from last time (so 14/20 for those of you playing the home game). On the plus side I did accomplish two things. First I got myself the Seal of the Phiarlain Spy Dagger. I am hoping The Big Top will drop a shard before I get all of the seals, but we shall see. Second I managed to get my cleric, Otsegoundead, through A Small Problem. She was having problems with the air elemental part. I would get all the way up to the altar, then I would jump over and get the spawns. At some point she would draw the wrath of the air ele, and it would fling her off. Then I would have to walk my happy self at full cleric speed all the way back up there, kill the remaining baddies, and jump to the altar again. That makes the spawns happen again, and the fight starts over. I managed to keep out of the wrath of the ele by making my hirelings draw agro. That’s what I pay them for.
So that gives me one more weekend to come up with about 600 fragments. I don’t think I will make it, but its fun to try. I only have a lvl 22 rogue and a lvl 21 cleric, so Geoff’s idea of a CR 25 Cannith Challenge is right out. It did give me an idea though, since I am running out of XP on the carnival chain. You can trade Epic Cannith ingredients for a fragment, at the horrible rate of 5:1. I think I will send in my Rogue, who is pretty much not getting xp anymore in the LoD or Big Top quests. The Cleric only just got to The Big Top, so she still has some farming to do there. I don’t need the ingredients for anything else, so I might as well.
Come Back to Neverwinter!
I have gotten two things from Neverwinter/Perfect World in the last two weeks. One was a Survey Monkey survey that asked me why I had stopped playing. I had to pick from a list of multi choice questions. Some were accurate, but the most meaningful question did not have an option for me. When asked why I stopped playing, I picked “I don’t like the active combat system”, but that is only half true. While I find the mouse look interface annoying, the truth is that the FR is a little to vanilla for me. I also felt like NWO rushed me through good stories, and didn’t let me enjoy myself. Every time I ended a story chain, I felt like I had only just started to get to know it.
Then a week later I got an email with a code. It was called a “Welcome Back” package. I presume it was in response to me completing the survey. In addition to promotions for their upcoming expansion pack, it also contained a code that I could put on my account (much like we do with the expansion pack or Swag codes in DDO). Then in game I could go to a specific vendor who dispensed these types of items. (I had been wondering how I could get my pirate hat from when I participated in the beta stress test.) The package contained an XP token (like the ones being offered in U19 from the Daily Dice) some gear (both cosmetic and functional), and something that functioned like an XP elixir. While that dosent really make me want to play NWO very much (it does a little) it did get me thinking. Why dosent Turbine do something like that? I seem to remember a post about a year ago where someone mentioned a free incentive to come back to DDO, but it seems to me this would be a valuable tool for Turbine to use on a regular basis. I mean, the swag bag did make me come back to NWO and look around for a bit…
Hopes for U19 and Beyond
I think U19 will be great for DDO. There has been a trend since before U14 with the Spell Power changes to make the game simpler for new players. That’s good. The enhancement pass is another step in that direction. It cleans up that nasty, unfriendly UI and makes it much easier to plan out your character at a glance. I love how it allows me to really see everything at the same time. No more toggling. No more scrolling in a list. No more searching for each fragment of a pre requisite to see what that requires. I have to disagree with some of the assessment on the forums. I think the new enhancement system allows for even more customization than before, while not making such customization result in “gimp” or “flavor” builds.
I hope that some other area’s of the game will see some love, Post U19. I know it’s a tall order, but I would like to see:
Hireling Pass. They get some of the new cosmetic armors in U19, and they got some great, long asked for gear recently, but they still need love. It would be great if after U19 they got an AI pass, for those times they stand there staring at an enemy. It would also be great if they got some PRE love. I cant think of a hireling that actually makes use of their class PRE. They do make use of their epic destinies, but that is late in the game. Now that we have lvls 26-28, we will need more hirelings too!
Art. The visuals in the FR are amazing. They really are smooth and immersive. It would be great if the art dept could go back to the old area’s and modernize them a bit. The pass that added the swaying underbrush and the newer water effects was great. However, some area’s of the game are a bit… vintage. They would find a good home among some of the older titles on GoG.com.
Eberron. I am ok with the FR content. I can understand why Turbine and WB would want to spend their development dollars there. However, I am dying for new Eberron content. I don’t think I am alone in saying I would be all in for an expansion pack that took us to Khorvair or the Mournlands.
Well, that’s all for now! I’m off to grind out more token fragments while I wait for U19. Hopefully the new Daily Dice system will favor me more than the old one has. If you see Otsegolation and Otsegoundead around Khyber, feel free to help me out. Until next time, Don’t Starve!