Feb 132017
 

I made it though about half of the Tower of Frost on my first solo attempt, except maybe it was really only about one third? But I digress, already, and this is the first sentence!

We ran the Tower of Frost on Legendary on the first Friday of its existence – New Content Night – and I enjoyed it. A lot! Enough to want to try it again, except this time solo, on heroic.

Casting about, I have one character near level 14 who has self-healing and ought to be solo-capable: Bricki Lee, a dagger-wielding Druid/Rogue on her first life. She even has a hireling in her pack, a level 13 Favored Soul, let’s go!

Examining her gear is a bit of a setback. Level 7 weapons, level 7 armor (but pretty good armor even if only level 7) . I was quite pleased with her gear when I acquired it but still, level 7. I decide to avoid Elite and enter on Hard.

The hardest part of soloing, for me at least, is managing monster attention. Taking them out one or two at a time is safe and effective, if a little boring. More than that is exciting, but dangerous, and once you get to five or six it becomes really very difficult to stay alive. So you have to go slow. Figure out how to pull one or two. Repeat until the current group is defeated. Repeat again on the next group.

Spoiler Warning: the rest of this article contains details about the new dungeon. Only part of it, I didn’t make it very far, but still, if you are the sort that likes to find out about these things first-hand, stop reading now.

The first floor goes well. I accidentally draw too many monsters once but am able to recover with a handy doorway and an Ice Storm. So far, so good. There is a unique new monster in this quest, not a new model, it’s an ooze with a new skin, but it is a pretty creative skin.

 

When money attacks

When you slay them, they leave remains. valuable remains. Maybe I should say “slightly valuable” since gold is not really all that valuable. Nonetheless, piles of gold remain. Which is kind of cool.

 

The quest has a scheme: enter a new floor, figure out how to throw any switches it may contain, and figure out how to exit the floor and reach the next one. Each floor is different; it is a series of micro-dungeons, each with its own style and solution. Quite nice. I like it a lot. It is the kind of dungeon I might design myself, and a very welcome break from the endless-multitudes-of-identical-angry-mobs-style of dungeon that we’ve been seeing so often.

 

You have to find, and in some cases, enable, a door on each floor to reach the following floor

The first death happens when I encounter a pair of animated sword and shields. Both happen to be Champions. I don’t notice and try to fight them straight up. The fight is over instantly.

 

Soul Stoned

 

No worries, I’ve brought a raise cake for just such an eventuality. My hireling and I are soon back up, and armed with the knowledge of the opponent’s Champion state, I gingerly DOT-spell and run, one at a time, until they are defeated.

Three floors are rather quickly defeated, I’ve reached the fourth floor, the Garden Floor. It is a large room divided up into smaller blocks by living walls of hedge material. The hedges are quite lovely when examined up close:

Wallpaper-worthy

 

You can play games with the camera to see what is behind the hedges. I didn’t do this on purpose, but … hey what ya gonna do? It’s not like I can forget what I’ve seen.

 

Camera manipulation accidentally reveals what is behind the curtain

 

Noting the champion crown, I decide to maybe try a different hedge.

But there is a problem. The hedges hide the monsters, but do not stop them from noting you and gaining aggro on you. Note the two Satyrs above, already aggro’d even though the hedge is still in between.

By staying to the right, I am able to traverse the entire floor and find the door to the next level and fight only a small number of monsters. But I have aggro’d very many. And I haven’t found the switch I need to throw on this floor.

The switch ends up to be in the middle of the far wall, which apparently is an open path for many of the monsters I’ve bypassed. They come swarming all at once and I am quickly overwhelmed.

 

 

This death is fatal, or perhaps I should say “more fatal than most deaths” since they are all fatal by definition. Regardless, I’ve only brought the one raise cake, I am not buying one, I expected this to take more than one attempt. Next time I’ll try being more sneaky on the garden floor. Or maybe I’ll stop trying to bypass bad guys and just fight them while they are still in smaller groups.

Or something. That is how it goes when you are learning to solo something. Fail, fail, fail, succeed. Eventually.

It is so nice to have a quest that feels like it is worth learning to solo. A worthy adversary, intellectual as well as combative.

What a great quest.

Tower of Excellence.

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  One Response to “Tower of Excellence”

Comments (1)
  1. Just wait ’til you get to the [content redacted] floor, where you have to [content redacted] and [content redacted] and [content redacted].
    πŸ˜‰

    (PS: My L30 ranger was able to truly solo [no hire/summons] EH [LH? I didn’t notice…] ToF. Took a while to take out the red names, but if you plan your strategy correctly, you can perform a “Kaufman Retrograde” maneuver, which helps…though a non-ranged toon doesn’t really have that ability.)
    πŸ˜‰

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