Friday, September 30, 2011

DDO Video Fun

I was looking into other MMO blogs to get ideas on what I should talk about on this one when I ran into the first video below. Of course, that got me looking for others, so I decided to share some of the funnier ones with you.

1) Don't Mess with Gnarkill.

Two low level adventurers attempt to take down the Troll Butcher, GNARKILL! Hilarity ensues.

2) Friends Don't Let Friends Play Solo

3) The Stormreach Dating Show

Do you have any amusing DDO videos to share?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Always Get Your Collectables

Oh Mari Mosshand, the person I still think of as a dwarf even though you are clearly a halfling simply because halflings suck (not really but reputation wise kind of) and because the game used to claim you were. What would we do without you indeed. That small collectables bag should be one of the first things that you grab, not because selling collectables on the auction house is profitable, although it can be, but because every once in awhile you may find something amazing that you can ordinarily only have by finding it as a rare loot drop or purchasing it in the DDO Store...well, indirectly anyway.

I'm talking about the Eberron Dragonshards. By gathering these up and turning them in to select collectors you can gain some very rare items that are certainly worth your attention. But in my opinion there is only one collector you should turn each shard into, except for the large, which I would say has two options.

For Small Eberron Dragonshards you should turn three of them in to Xorian Chalk in the Marketplace to earn your Medium Experience Elixer. I mean, who doesn't want a +10% bonus to all your experience. If you save this baby for an experience boost weekend it will be even more effective. The bonus lasts 6 hours, which if you are careful means it can last for several adventures.

For Medium Eberron Dragonshards you should hand them over in groups of three to Tara Wightraven in House Deneith for a Major Experience Elixir. Same deal as the one you get from Xorian Chalk, but this time you get a 20% boost to experience.

A few notes on those two. Niether stacks with the bonus you can get from the Voice of the Master or Mantle of the Worldshaper items from the DM's Vision set. So if you use either of those items, and you really should snag one, than you may want to use a different item while your elixirs are in effect.

Finally you have two good options when considering where to turn in your three Large Eberron Dragonshards. If you want to increase your chance of getting rarer items then you'll want to pass them over to  Bowdlin in House Phiarlan to earn a Medium Jewel of Fortune. This item will raise the treasure in all chests by +1 for up to six hours. Your other good option is also in House Phiarlan, if you give them to Seld the Gray Sister then she will give you an Ethereal Rest Shrine. This is a great gift to your adventuring buddies and yourself. Say you guys are playing on Elite on a tough quest and you need a rest shrine but have used them all, or there are tons of monster between you and there. Well this little diddy just creates a rest shrine for you and your companions to enjoy.

A quick couple notes on each of those rewards. They are all bound to account, meaning you can't give them away to another person once you earn them and also that if you want to switch them from one character to another you either have to use a Shared Bank Account (for your own characters...if you have one) or trade them as the Eberron Dragonshards before turning them in. Also, as an added bonus there is a little timed math puzzle the collector gives you when you turn these in to get a weak enchanted item. I've never been very pleased with them, so don't worry if you can't figure out the puzzle, BUT it is a nice addition when you get it.

But what if you don't want any of those great items? Well, there are a few other items you can get. Various trinkets that can cast a few spells before burning into nothing, and a couple of other options beside. However, the real gem if you don't want one of the aforementioned options is to sell these on the auction house or through trade. You can earn some really heavy platinum by selling these stones to people who DO want those awesome bennies. The small shards alone tend to go for around 40,000 platinum on my server. Just something to think about.

So next time you are in a dungeon and you see a Rubble or Mushroom and think to yourself "God, I hate collectables" just remember THAT may be the ONE collectable that gives you a dragonshard. That I feel is worth wading through the dozens that aren't.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My First Day with the Artificer

I'm writing this on the first day of Update 11...though you won't be reading it for some time yet...and I decided a long time beforehand (like as soon as I heard about them) that once it came out I'd be making an artificer. I haven't talked about the 3.5 artificer on Dungeon Brew before, but in my experience the class is one of the most OP in the game. Couple it with Warforged characters or creatures made from the Craft Construct feat and it will only get worse from there.

So, naturally, when I heard the artificer was coming to DDO I was wondering how they would balance it, and whether it would be as awesome as the artificer I knew and loved from the tabletop game.

I was not disappointed. Update 11 did more than simply port in a new arcane spellcaster with a bonus to the Cannith Crafting system, it introduced some entirely new game mechanics which make this class truly unique to play. Of course I'm referring to the Rune Arms and Pets.

Pets in particular are really interesting to me. I had always begrudged the lack of an animal companion for the Ranger and now, with this out I wonder if we won't be seeing a retrofit of the Pet mechanic to that class...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Today I made an artificer, and because I'm a true min maxer I made a warforged artificer. A lot of skill points from the class and my intelligence bonus (which had to be high as it is the driving force behind the artificer's spell points and spell difficult classes) meant that I had a lot of options available for my character. I decided to play a kind of rogue like character, dropping points in open lock, disable device, search, and a couple cross classed into move silently and hide. I also picked up Use Magic Device because that skill is truly amazing for shoring up your spellcasting capabilities.

As far as feats go I took Augment Summoning because it increases the abilities of your summons, hirelings...and also your pets.

And here I am, still talking about pets without explaining what kind of pet the artificer, an arcane caster based around constructs and magic items, could possibly have. Why, your very own construct...a little adorable iron defender. But this steel shelled puppy is nothing to be taken lightly, not with his stats and its own pool of ability points and enhancements to choose from.

I named my little Iron Defender Rusty and gave him adamantine plating and reinforced armor. With a high hit point total and a 25 to his armor class the runt of a construct is a capable tank for my caster. Not that I am weak in a fight.

Why would I be? The artificer starts with the ability to use repeating crossbows, an exotic weapon with one hell of a wallop. It fires about 3 to 5 bolts with every attack and adds my items attack bonus and property to each. Since the artificer also has rapid reload I can lay down a veritable fusillade of crossbow bolts on opponents and most of the time slay them before they even get to me. I quickly found out that this means I go through a lot of bolts however.

I never thought ammo could get so expensive, but when you're going through 200 bolts a quest then the tally adds up quickly. Not to worry though because the artificer had an answer for that in the form of one of his first level spells. Conjure Bolts allows the artificer to create 100 +1 bolts out of thin air that stay with him until you log out of your character. At the cost of 5 spell points I never have to worry about running out of ammo again.

I didn't get very far with my artificer...just under level 3. But I did level up my pet, get a feel for the character, and get my very first Rune Arm (though I've yet to give it a field test). However, the character is really fun to play, so you can expect some nice opinions and advice to get onto this blog about them soon enough.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why you Should Go Premium...or V.I.P.

You'd think since I just gave you a whole slew of ways to not have to spend money on DDO in the last post that you shouldn't spend money on DDO. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth. Here are a few of the reasons you should.

1) Help Send a Programmer To Lunch

Now I'm not saying that DDO is on the verge of going bankrupt or anything. In fact, I'm sure it is bringing in quite a bit of cash, but it isn't WoW, and Turbine isn't Activision. The money needed for all those servers, the constant upgrades to the game, and the license itself is probably a costly endeavor. So if you can spare ten bucks, throw it their way, consider it the cost of "buying" the game.

But, you probably didn't come here for the altruistic reasons did you?

2) Character Slots

If there is one thing I've learned about people who play D&D which applies equally well to DDO players it is that one never runs out of ideas for new characters. With such a robust and intricate character creation and leveling system there are multitudes of multitudes of character concepts and executions to be created. BUT, as a free 2 play user you only get two slots. That may be fine at first, but trust me, once you get to the mid level range the leveling grind is going to start getting to you and you'll want to spend some time in a different adventurer's shoes. Now, you can go to the Turbine store and purchase a new character slot (if you've been following your Commandements and have saved enough points) but those things are expensive. However, if you buy a point package from the DDO store you'll automatically earn 2 new character slots.

3) The After School Rush

Those of you old enough to remember dial in hell you evil thing...might remember how at about 4-5pm the thing was downright useless because of all the users who had just logged on. Well, servers act the same way, and to make sure that everyone has a chance to play the game Turbine makes you take a number and wait your turn. However, the world isn't created equal and if you happen to be a premium member (by having spent money on DDO) then you'll automatically be higher up on the list than if you had a free account. This doesn't come up often, because the servers are pretty darn big. But trust me, when there is a live event or, heck, even when they do an experience/loot boost weekend, you'll be happy for it.

4) Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the Orc in the Grimy Businesswear.

One of the great utilities for players to trade items amongst themselves is the Auction House. Here a player can post an item they don't want up for sale, set the price, and add a buyout price as well (or not, to each their own). Buyers can search the items by item type, such as martial weapon, or necklace. Or, if you are looking for a unique item or item property, one can simply enter it into the search bar. When  you're settled, you buy the item and it is delivered to your mailbox.

But, as a free player the selling aspect of the Auction House isn't really that great. You see, as a free account player you can only list one item at a time. I'm sure you see where this is a premium player however, you can make up to fifty listings. So if you're really tired of carrying all that heavy loot, why not find someone to take it off your hands?

5) The Bathroom Break

You've been gaming for awhile, you're ten minutes into this quest and you've been downing energy drinks all night when suddenly, your bladder informs you it is time to go to the restroom. You apologize to your mates, or if you are playing alone to your hireling (although honestly who cares what Maloren thinks, that guys a jerk), and go off to the bathroom. You take your time washing your hands because you don't want to be unsanitary and you decide now is as good at a time as any to go to the fridge and get another drink. You settle down at your computer to...your desktop. You were away from keyboard for ten minutes, and were subsequently kicked off the the middle of a quest.

As a premium player however you would have had twenty minutes, which is more than enough time to snag that soda and go to the bathroom, hell, to make yourself a sandwich as well.

6) There Are No Gold Skulltulas

When Link needs a bigger wallet he either searches the world for a crapload of gold skulltulas or saves up his rupees for a larger he can store more rupees...the man has a problem. Regardless, your free to play player doesn't have that option and is limited in the amount his character can have. If you are premium or VIP this limit is restricted. At first this restriction doesn't seem like such a big deal, the gold to level ratio tends to take care of most of your needs, but where it becomes really restrictive is when you look into the area of trading and the auction house. Some items, like the Small Eberron Shard (which in my opinion you should keep, but more on that in another post) can sell for quite a bit of coin...usually too much coin for you to even withdraw from your mailbox after making a sale.

So avoid all the fuss, and just go premium. One payment is all it takes.

So, those are a few reasons to go premium in DDO. Of course, there are more. What are your reasons, and what do you think of mine?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Five Commandments of Staying (Mostly) Free 2 Play

1) Thou Shalt Not Purchase the Drow

I know, the drow are awesome. Interesting culture, great abilities like natural Spell Resistance and a nice ability allotment, not to mention that everyone seems to want to make a Drizzt clone (An example of his epicness). However, you really should curb that until you've gotten four hundred total favor with one character, because then you'll have unlocked the drow for character creation on that server. At 995 Turbine Points the drow carry a hefty price tag and why should you pay for something you can get for free anyway, even if it goes on sale.

2) Thou Shalt Follow the Deals on the DDO Store

Speaking of deals, things go on sale in the DDO Store all the time. An easy way to keep track of what's on sale when is to watch the DDO Store page and the DDO Store Twitter. Believe me, as much as possible you want to buy things when they are on sale, it will save you a lot of time and money if you just wait for some things. Especially keep an eye out for adventure packs, even if you aren't in the level range yet, if you think you want to play those quests later on then you should purchase it ahead of time while it is on sale.

3) Thou Shalt Know the Favor Rewards of Each Adventure Pack

When considering which adventure packs to purchase, it is important to keep in mind how much favor each can grant you, as this will be your primary way of getting Turbine Points. In this respect some packs fare better than others, like the Catacombs and Tangleroot Gorge, whereas some others, like the Sharn Syndicate are more or less just a fun little story to enjoy (usually with awesome quest rewards as well). For a list of adventure packs and how much total favor they grant I suggest checking out this page on the DDO Wiki.

4) Thou Shalt Elite Everything

Of course, even if you buy the packs with the most favor it won't do you much good if you don't make sure to elite every single one of them (or as much as you can stomach...I tend to skip elite on Misery's Peak because the length of that adventure grates on me). By finishing each quest on elite you make sure to garner the most favor, and hence the most bonus Turbine Points.

5) Thou Shalt Reach 100 Favor With at Least One Toon on Each Server

People who grind favor for Turbine Points, which will be you if you want to unlock game features without spending much money, swear by this technique. The first time you reach certain amounts of Favor on a server you'll get a bonus amount of Turbine Points for free. Also for each 100 Favor you earn with a character you'll get 25 Turbine Points. This comes out to 125 "free" Turbine Points which you earn simply by playing a few quests. I'll be sharing my way to speed up the process in a later post.

Do you have any other suggestions for spending less money on DDO? Or are VIP or Premium more your thing?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Welcome to My Life in Stormreach

Stormreach, city of adventure. I've been a gamer all my life ("Mom, how do I get through the Lost Woods?") so it was only a matter of time before I found a MMORPG for me. If you've ever been to my blog Dungeon Brew then you won't be surprised that that MMORPG turned out to be Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online.

I was lucky enough to be invited as a playtester when they were switching to the free to play model and I've been playing ever since. In that time I've started guilds, ran my fair share of quests, and seen quite a few updates to the game. Hence I've got a lot of experience to share, from great ways to farm Turbine Points to powerful (some would say broken) builds and also which quests are the most fun.

This blog is about all of that and more. I invite you into my world, and hope you enjoy.