The Noob Things We Do

Inspired by a conversation at work about some of the embarrassing things we’ve done while raiding, here is a story where I displayed more than my fair share of noobishness.

It’s been a while, so I may have some details messed up, but our small guild was working on the quest Capturing Day and Night, after one of our members had finally, after endless farming, gotten the Gold Dragon Scale needed to change Barakah into her dragon form.  When the call went out to the guild that we were going to kill the two dragons in Maj’Dul, we all headed up there to assemble.

Of course, some take longer than others, so while we were waiting for everyone to arrive, some of us started dueling, or killing random mobs that happened to be around us.  We were a very laid-back, casual guild, so this sort of tomfoolery was just fine.  When it was time to get serious, we always did so, but for the moment we were just joking around, passing the time.  Ventrilo, as always, was full of laughs and dirty talk.  Then, just as the last people were arriving to the courtyard, things changed.

Fighting Sha\'irThe call to settle down and focus came from the raid leader who was about to inform the guild on how the encounter was going to go.  This came, of course, just as I had fired an arrow off towards a Sha’ir (61 Heroic), floating so innocently above us on his magic carpet.  He flew down towards me and I finished him off easily enough, just in time to focus on our upcoming raid.  Except, what I didn’t know at the time, was that if you kill one Sha’ir, another comes immediately after.  If you kill that next one, then more will come, and keep coming.  And come they did.

Taken off guard, a few of us who were in the immediate vicinity did our best to fight off the never-ending wave.  It quickly became more than we could handle and the Sha’irs started making their way through the rest of the raid force.  Vent went completely silent, except for the raid leader’s voice, “What the hell?  Who the fuck pulled the Sha’ir?”

Silence.

“That would have been our fearless Berzerker,” said someone who had obviously scrolled up through the combat log, looking to lay some blame.  “Everyone zone out, quick.”  Those in the raid force not yet dead sprinted towards the nearest zone line.  My head sunk.

When we came back and reassembled, there was no joviality, the entire atmosphere had changed.  I felt like such a tool.  The orders over vent were clear and simple, “everyone pay attention, and don’t pull shit”.  We got through the dragons easily enough, but I certainly wasn’t having fun doing it.  The rest of the guild (hopefully) forgot about my attempt to wipe out our raid force, but I never did, and never fooled around before a raid ever again.

Sometimes, Things Just Go Your Way

New GearLast night our guild had scheduled a run through Lyceum of Abhorrence, and just as everybody was on their way to the zone, a fellow guildy discovered that Hurricanus the Patriarch was up on the Breeding Grounds.  We had never attempted her before so we eagerly put off Lyceum and headed over to kill us some dragon.  We didn’t know a whole lot about the encounter, we just had a general idea.  My job was to watch out for some adds that spawn every once in a while and grab them before they could get to Hurricanus and the rest of our raid force.  Because of that, myself and the rest of my group didn’t get to see much of the actual Hurricanus fight, but it sure sounded impressive.  Our first pull was okay until she got to about 40% health when most of the raid force got smoked in an instant.  Having seen how the encounter worked, our second pull went like clockwork, and Hurricanus went down without a problem. 

Inside her Exquisite Chest was a great looking tanking breastplate, called the Hurricane Forged Cuirass.  There was only myself and our main tank in our raid who would roll on it.  Anyone who has grouped with me before would no doubt know that I have the absolute worst luck with the dice in the history of dice… ever.  Just the other day my wife and I were duoing in Pillars of Flame for Harpy lore and legend stuff, and I lost every single loot roll.  If my wife rolled a 10, I’d roll a 4.  It’s just something I’ve come to expect over my time playing this game.  So, when our main tank rolled a twenty-something, I figured I’d roll a twelve.  As luck would have it, I got a magical fifty-two.  Of course, I immediately told the guild through vent that if the main tank wanted it, it was his to have.  Lucky me again, he passed it on to me.  You can see the spiffy new breastplate on me in the picture above, and the stats for it in the picture below.

New Gear StatsMy luck wasn’t done there however, as we headed into Lyceum.  I was acting as the main assist for the raid, my first time with this guild, so it was nice to have the run go so smoothly.  For some time now I’ve wanted the sword that drops off of Vilucidae, but each of the three or four times I’ve been through the zone, it hasn’t dropped.  When we eventually took Vilucidae down and his chest dropped, I began to chant “sword, sword, sword” while gently caressing the Exquisite Chest with my mouse cursor.  The chest was disarmed, opened, and there staring back at me in all its glory was Vilucidae’s Sword of Shielding.  My chant had worked.  Now for the hard part, rolling on it.  I wasted no time as I had my /ran 100 command ready to go for when the raid leader asked all who wanted the sword to roll.  As soon as I saw “Rolling on the sword…” I hit enter and boom!  A perfect 100.  Oh yes, I really wanted that sword.  Again, the picture of the sword is up above, the stats in the picture with this paragraph.

As if that wasn’t enough, after the raid was done a group of guildies came to help me take out the final dragon for the Draco Mortus Heritage Quest for the Bone Clasped Girdle.  So in addition to my loot, I finished off another HQ and got myself my 92nd achievement point.  It was a good night for Davyydeous.

So Long Sanctum

FinallyFinally.  Davyydeous finally finished the last Claymore quest that takes place within the torture chamber known as Sanctum of the Scaleborn.  I have waited so long for this day, and can’t explain just how much of a relief it is to be done with SoS.

Don’t get me wrong though, SoS by itself is a great zone, and in fact, one of the best in the game in my opinion.  There’s a lot to see and do in there, from grinding out experience, to taking on names, and a few ring events as well.  When taken in the context of the Claymore line however, Sanctum of the Scaleborn becomes a brutally repetitive pain in the neck.  I know that I’m not alone in this thinking.  I’ve been sitting on the Claymore quest line for ages now for a bunch of different reasons I’m far too lazy to list here, and that means the majority of those I game with have already completed Claymore or are at least well past the Sanctum quests.  That made it very tough to find groups to work on the quests, and there were many times where it seemed like asking others to come to SoS was like asking them to rip their fingernails out with a pair of pliers.  Finding pick-up groups was equally as hard.

I think the issue is two-fold.  First, I found it fairly rare that others were working on the same quest as me at any given time, let alone the same step of the quest.  Naturally, most people when grouped want to work on ensuring their updates get done, which takes me two my second issue, that being the zone of SoS itself.  Again, on its own, SoS is a great zone, it’s fairly big, there’s quite a few names in it, and given the level range and number of mobs, can be both a breeze to blow through, or fairly tough depending on your group make-up.  There are nine Claymore quests that take place within SoS; the first few a fairly simple, but that all starts to change on the fourth one, The Keys to Trust.  This is the first quest that has you travel beyond the first few rooms of SoS to the Scaleborn Cell, and the first that has you travel to the second level to speak with Xhorroz.  Given that SoS only has one respawn point back at the entrance, and is a shared dungeon meaning the mobs respawn, the further you go in, the further you’ll have to run back re-fighting mobs should the group wipe, and there are a lot of mobs in there.  In my experience, there were many times when our group got overly confident in its abilities, pulled too many mobs, wiped, and had to start from the beginning.  Those of you who have gone through this know just how big of a pain it is to make your way back down to where you wiped.

The quests following the Keys to Trust only get worse, all taking place deep into SoS.  Trading Information was by far the worst one for me, starting with my hours upon hours of camping Exarch Trulnariz.  Of course, a week after I finally killed him they changed the quest so that the placeholder will update the quest.  This quest had me travelling back and forth to different parts of SoS fighting the same mobs over and over again, many times waiting for precious auto-update dings.  It felt like tedium at its finest, and I was very happy when I was done this quest.

Next up, Riddle of the Vault.  Aside from having to camp Koturah for a bit at the beginning of the quest, this one actually went fairly well for me.  The night after unsuccessfully camping Koturah I made my way back in to SoS, put up my LFG tag, and started spamming 60-69 chat hoping to put a group together for Riddle of the Vault.  This lasted about an hour and a half without a single response.  Frustrated at my inability to find a group I decided to have some fun with Totems of the Chameleon and tried to invis my way down to the Gorg Pit.  In doing so, I discovered a somewhat fun and challenging mini-game.  Davyydeous is a Berserker which means he’s a plate armoured meat shield and nothing more; he doesn’t have fancy trick spells like evac or feign death, so sneaking my way around zones can be fairly challenging.  After a few attempts that ultimately ended in disaster (oh what I wouldn’t give for feign death), I eventually came up with a decent route.  The hardest part to get through is the Talonflight Armory, a room full of of Scaleborn Reavers, most of which see through invis.  While difficult, I was able to sneak my way through the room provided I was very careful with the route I chose, and patient enough to wait for the right opening.  Of course, sometimes I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a group ahead of me that was clearing the way.  Once past the Armory, I was usually able to train the mobs all the way to the Gorg Pit where I could jump on one of the climbable walls.

Once in the Gorg Pit, I just hung out and eventually came across another group that was camping Koturah and was kind enough to let me join.  Once I had Koturah killed I was able to complete the rest of the quest solo, again using patience and a whole lot of invis totems, with the odd fight thrown in as well.  Finally, the last quest just called for throwing a gem into the Pool of Spirits.  I invis’d my way there and hopped into the pool.  Unfortunately, throwing the gem is like harvesting, it pops your invis and takes some time to complete.  A couple attempts saw me interrupted too much and dieing before I could manage to throw the gem, but I kept at it and was eventually successful.

While there’s still a fair amount of work to do for my Claymore, I can’t tell you how happy I am to be done the SoS quests.  I’m quite sick of that zone.  I’m told the Palace of the Awakened quests go much smoother, plus the rewards a pretty decent too.  Can’t wait.

Deathtoll

DeathtollI accomplished one of my in-game goals by finally setting foot inside Deathtoll.  I remember first reading of Deathtoll towards the end of the Kingdom of Sky beta.  What I read left me with no doubt that Deathtoll was the ultimate raid zone, the new “end-game”, and a zone that I desperately wanted to see but probably never would.  At the time I was in a casual guild which often struggled just to put together two full groups, which more or less restricted us to the single group instances, with the occasional two group raid thrown in provided all the stars were aligned.  Raiding was the furthest thing from my mind, partly because I was content with our little guild as it was, and also because I had always assumed the end game raids were for the uber guilds.  Just going into Halls of Fate was a big deal for me, and can remember our guild wiping on the first named in there, Doom Guard Tammuz.  Needless to say, Deathtoll seemed a little beyond my reach.

That little guild eventually lost some members to other games, and Davyydeous moved on, and landed with a casual raiding guild after trying out one or two others.  Almost a year after the release of Kingdom of Sky, I suddenly found myself with raiding access to the KoS zones.  Of course, I needed to gear myself up first, so Deathtoll was going to have to wait, but just going on any raids was exciting for me.  As luck would have it, by the time I was sufficiently geared up, my guild decided to change directions and go “hardcore” which left me out of the loop because I couldn’t meet the attendance requirements.  Deathtoll would have to wait.

DeathtollWhile searching for a new guild, one of my requirements was their ability to raid Deathtoll.  I soon found a good fit, and was quite excited to see that Deathtoll was on the raid calendar just two weeks after my joining.  I waited in anticipation as Deathtoll day drew closer.  I’m sure that may sound silly to some, but EverQuest II is much more to me than what my stats are, and what armour I’m wearing; I love to explore the world.  If there’s one thing in common between all my favourite games, it’s that they pull me into their worlds through a great sense of atmosphere, and after all this time, I had built Deathtoll up to almost mythical status.  Just the name itself, Deathtoll, can illicit so much.  It’s one word, simple, and to the point.  With just that one word, the designers have established that this is a zone to be feared.  The Official Game Guide by Prima Games begins its description of Deathtoll like so:

The name should be a warning to all who have wondered about the land within.  It is your death that the bell tolls.  Not just a possibility, but a certainty.

I just eat that sort of thing up.  Top all of that off with the fact that at the end of it all is a gigantic dragon made of bone just waiting to stomp you to death.  Sign me up!  Of course, now that the zone has been out for a while, and strategies have been honed, it’s not quite the fearsome place it used to be, but there was a time that clearing Deathtoll was a sign of a guild that knew what it was doing.

So there I was, finally zoning into Deathtoll, fully expecting my game client to crash or my internet connection to die, but all went well.  I was instantly impressed with the entrance to the zone; the gazers floating there (possibly my favourite mob model in the game), with the gaping dragon skull jaw open in the background.  The entire zone, architecturaly speaking, is very impressive, very atmospheric.  I especially liked the dragon hung up and displayed in the Altar of Ending; very cool.  I was equally impressed with the mobs themselves, especially the Amorphous Drake.  That was a cool fight to see.  Then there’s Tarinax the Destroyer, who certainly has to be one of the most impressive looking mobs in the game.

DeathtollWhen all was said and done, we had a fairly smooth run through the zone, clearing all the nameds.  It marked the first time our guild defeated Cruor Alluvium, and we did so on the first pull.  It was certainly a satisfying experience for the guild, and for me, as it lived up to all my expectations.  The only downside?  I think it’s a shame that a lot of the design work on the zone may go unnoticed because there’s no time to stop and appreciate the architecture of the zone.  It’s places like Deathtoll where I wish there was a “screenshot mode” that let you walk around untouched, snapping photos.  Anyway, it doesn’t look like we’ll be heading back to Deathtoll any time soon as we begin to shift our focus towards Echoes of Faydwer content.  Maybe that’s a good thing, because it would just feel wrong to me if Deathtoll became another routine raid on farm status.

Lots of Adventuring

It’s been a busy past few days in-game.  Davyydeous went on his first raid with the new guild, hitting up the Halls of the Seeing.  This was my first time in this zone and I quite enjoyed it despite our inability to clear it.  We were missing a number of key raid members and were low on healers but decided to give it a go regardless.  It was actually going fairly smoothly until we met our match in the Elemental Warder.  We just didn’t have the healers or the DPS to finish him off despite coming quite close a number of times.  I have to say it was quite refreshing to be on a raid where we really had to be on our toes, and were actually challenged.  I found a lot of raids I went on with my old guild had become too routine, not very challenging, and ultimately not incredibly fun.  Anyway, the experience was a good one, and I’m looking forward to settling in a bit more with the new guild.

After what seemed like a million runs through Obelisk of Blight (probably more like nine or ten), Davyydeous finally got his class boots, Strongbear’s Steelskin Feet. I’m embarrassed to say that Davyydeous had been wearing Xegonite mastercrafted up until now.  It was the worst piece of gear I had and I’m quite happy to replace it.

Ordeth in the meantime, joined a group in Klak’Anon and ended up getting a nice robe, the Clockwork Spidersilk Robe.  I’ve really come to like Klak’Anon and will probably be spending a good chunk of the next little while in there with Ordeth.

Finally, as mentioned previously, my Mystic Elrahir has been getting more and more attention from me as of late.  He’s now level 47, close to dinging 48, and eagerly awaiting the arrival of his Maj’Dul carpet.  I finished off a number of Heritage Quests that had been sitting in his journal for some time which netted a fair amount of experience.  Elrahir also ventured into Klak’Anon in what was probably my first heavy duty healing experience with him.  Up until this point my healing has been restricted to the duo group I have with my wife’s Monk.  Needless to say I was a little nervous, especially as we went deeper into the zone and started running into mobs that were still red to me.  All in all I think I did quite well and we managed to avoid any major wipes.  The one big difference I noticed between Elrahir and Davyydeous is that I really had to pay attention when healing.  I couldn’t let my eyes wander at all.  Hmmm, maybe that’s not the class for me then. 😉

I also just noticed that I have access to the Legends of Norrath game within EverQuest II, so I’ll try to check that out real soon.  Hopefully I don’t get addicted to it and start buying boosters for it.