Up until last week, I’d never completed the quest What Goes Up, the capstone quest of the Storm Horn adventure series. I can cite several reasons, but mainly I’ve been focused on my TR completionist Mawry and she doesn’t usually need to run level 19 content to finish whatever life she is trying to complete.
Spoiler alert: this is a beautiful quest with several “phases” that require figuring out unique mechanics. I’m going to try and avoid specifics, but if you are the type that prefers to figure out everything on your own from scratch, you might want to stop reading now. Here, have a nice discussion about the Return of the Dex Build.
For everyone else, let’s get to it.
My Gamer Girl and I tried this quest once right when it came out, gotta give the new content a try, right? We ran it on Epic Hard, at which point it is a level 28 quest, on our level 23 characters. As you might expect, it was brutal, and we wiped long before reaching the end fight. Or anything like an end fight, the quest was soooo looooong to figure out and fight through that we ran out of time that night as much as we ran out of hit points.
The quest can be described in chapters. The first chapter is a puzzle with fighting. Tough fighting, very, some of which can be avoided (although learning how is part of the puzzle solving). Then there are several chapters of just fighting; difficult, slogging, swarming fighting against very large groups of enemies that come at you from the front and sides at the same time. Then the end fight, which is fighting while figuring out a convoluted game mechanic.
If it sounds long and involved, it is, it could really be two quests. Or three. I am fairly positive that it was intended to be the Shadowfell raid. It certainly has a raid-level grandiosity and difficulty. Why it failed to qualify as raid material in the end is beyond me, it seems quite raid-like.
I am forgetting one key part of the quest in my efforts to describe how difficult it is: it is also quite beautiful. There is a vista in the quest that I think is the single loveliest view in the entire game. I’m enclosing a screenshot but it looks better in-game.
You will note that I am describing the quest in detail, as if I have finished it, and I have. For a change of pace, my Gamer Girl and I decided to finish Mawry’s last three levels this life by running the heroic Sagas in Eveningstar, and that included this quest. We ran it on Heroic Elite, level 21, while our characters were level 18. Still under-level, but not so bad as last attempt. Plus, we are on our Freezer Burn druids, which punch over their weight. Of particular import for this quest, the Freezer Burns have immensely useful but inexpensive crowd control options; the swarming fights were just not as devastating as the first attempt when we used different characters.
The end fight was still ridiculously hard, partly because we had to figure out the aforementioned convoluted game mechanic, and partly just because it was full of many, many level 21 bad guys.
But I like that. We were fully engaged in this quest for several hours, always on the brink of failing, playing our asses off. It was never guaranteed that we would win; quite the contrary, things looked very grim, very grim indeed, several times. And in the end, we won! No victory is so glorious as one that was nearly impossible to attain. What a feeling!
This is how the game is supposed to be.
There are aspects to the figuring-out-things part of the quest that appear to run counter to normal DDO game mechanics and meta-behavior. So I’m going to provide two hints, hopefully too cryptic to be spoilers. If you want to see them, and like I say they are hopefully quite cryptic, select the empty space in the following text box:
|There are more sockets than crests|
The fact that numbers are floating off the end boss doesn’t mean he’s actually taking damage
I asked my Gamer Girl what she thought about the quest. She just laughed “it was brutal”. But, I asked, what did you feel when we finally finished? “Relief that we could finally go to bed”. She also thinks there are things we still did not figure out that made the end fight much more difficult than it needed to be.
Yes it was that hard. And that challenging. And that fun.
What Goes Up? Not your number of mnemonic potions. Not your number of heal and raise scrolls. But your fun level goes up. Way up.
You do too, but I’ll let you find out the meaning behind that last bit of cryptic wordplay on your own.
🙂 😀 🙂