Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Death and the Maiden's Chamber

Ok, maybe one reader in a hundred will get the chamber music reference. But I returned to Maiden's Chamber, an instance off of Jarsath Wastes, for the first time since the first named, Blithuu, was altered to discourage power draining. We cleared the zone, but it was an "adventure". I died 16 times, and ended the night with 7.5 percent debt. AND with the update for the Staff of the Impaler.

As an amusing side note, the level 75 templar invited to our pickup group had a name that seemed familiar. Sure enough, I found him in my /ignore list. I removed him from ignore, hoping that in two year's time, he had grown up a little. His behavior seemed much less obnoxious than I remembered, but his play was not very good. His gear was badly out of date, and he could only manage about a tenth of the healing that our other healer, a warden could. And "he" had a strong predilection to calling people "hun". So I'm thinking this toon has passed on to someone else, somehow.

Anyway, Blithuu killed us many times before we figured him out. In case you're interested, beginning at 75 percent health he will port group members to his spawn point, on a raised platform. A few seconds later, a very large AE will go off, centered at the spot you were just ported to. It easily killed me, and most of the rest of my group. So, you must run away from that point very quickly.

However, if you run North or South, you will fall into hidden pits, aggro a bunch more mobs, and either die, or lead them back to your group, in which case you will wipe. So you need to not do that. If you run East, or perhaps West, you won't fall in the pit, and if you do it fast enough, you won't die.

Blithuu heals himself, too, sometimes by a lot. He uses power to do this, so there might be some reason to mez and pow drain him still, but they didn't want to do that.

Simple enough, no? Well, it took maybe 5 wipes for us to really work out what to do and get it working enough. Once again showing how hard it is, and how important, to keep your brain working under pressure.

The next named was Sandstorm. An elemental type mob, he is fairly normal, though mean. His main feature is that he will, twice during the combat, root himself and put up a very large stoneskin. Then he calls in two adds, which are not grouped with him, and while not as nasty as him, still rate high on the mean-o-meter. All are level 84 or so, as well.

My group wanted me to mez these adds. I asserted that I could get and keep all of them mezzed. I have this little smile I get when people ask me, "Really, you can really mez all four?"

This encounter is where our healing problems showed up. After we replaced the healer, we beat it on the next pull. With all of my best +subjugation gear on, I had only a few problems with resists. Rock on.

The next named, the Great Gear, is really pretty ordinary. Big golem, lots of hp, hits hard, falls hard, first time.

Next are the three sisters. I was able to mez the "D" sister on the pull. She can confuse people because she has a pbae that goes off even when she is mezzed, and it's big. It did about 75% of my hp in one hit when I got too close. She also resisted me a bit, being level 84, and that led to her getting loose once when my Dynamism procced but the mez it procced from was resisted. I got her back under control, and the tank was good enough and fast enough to move the fight away from her.

We had one abortive pull on this encounter due to a lagspike, then we killed it. The next mob, a giant scorpion named Impaler Tzilug, died easily, and gave me the update I needed for Staff of the Impaler. We were rolling now. Only the last boss left, Drusella.

Drusella is interesting. She is a very large, magic-using skeleton. Frequently during the fight, she will cast a spell on herself that shields her. The effect looks like the necromancer root spell. But that's not what it does. What it does, is turns any damage done to her while its up into big healing for her.

So, to be successful in this encounter, every group member must stop and start their dps on cue, repeatedly. While the healers just keep on healing, because Drusella doesn't stop smacking your tank around, oh no.

It took several tries for us to master this. Fortunately, that didn't translate into quite so many deaths, because it is possible to reset this encounter without dying. Drusella is in a chamber that you teleport into, using a teleportal system that is a bit like those in the Tower of Three in South Qeynos. So if everyone leaves via the portal, the encounter resets. There is also a fairly easy reset available for the sisters, but we didn't need that as much.

Again, the tactics necessary to beat Drusella are easy to say, but not so easy to do. For more than three years now, we've been training ourselves to burn mobs to the ground, with no stopping, and no passing "Go". So, we have to overcome those habits and learn more control. The rhythm of the encounter implies certain tactics that I was only beginning to grasp. For example, I could preload a melee damage proc onto the tank while DPS was stopped, because he wasn't hitting her either. And if I did that, chances were it would refresh, and I could cast it again when a DPS window was open. DOTs didn't seem to work. They got wiped, and seemed to heal her some when her shield went up.

Anyway, at last we seemed to lock in on what we were doing and dropped her in good order. I spent a lot of time power feeding the healers, too.

I like what they've done to this zone, overall. Though I'm still kind of mad about the "no power draining" change. Tactics rule, and they aren't necessarily tactics tied to specific abilities. You have to run off the platform quickly, in the right direction. OR, you have to turn dps on and off with precision. I'm not sure how you deal with the sisters without a mezzer, but probably you use root, as you might well do with Sandstorm. Or you could just burn down the adds when he roots himself, if you have enough dps.

They have encounters which require that the whole group do something that is different, so you succeed or fail as a team. I love that.


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