Boy, is this going to be a fun story to share!
Lately I have been writing more about my questing experiences because they have been eventful – which is totally awesome in my opinion! The game should be fun and exciting – full of storytelling material and content. And this is just another one of them.
What inspired me to do these solo runs is a couple of things: solo performance in high level reaper content, and most importantly, the thrill of exploring an expanse dungeon, one that is of preferably and generally unbeknownst to me. This was an excellent learning experience in not just refreshing my memory in how to run the quest, but to immerse myself in a dungeon that I consider to be fun if and only if I am running it for that sole purpose. And this was just one of those days when I needed some solitude and quiet time.
I have to admit, I am thoroughly surprised at my performance. I was farming the rares in ToEE part 2 today solo and I was just not able to survive or play as well as I did in the previous completion run. Something about my attitude and mood greatly affects my play style performance, it seems… as if I was almost in a trance like state playing through the two part dungeon.
But enough of generalities. Let’s get to it!
ToEE Part 1
Let me just say that first and foremost, these two quests were full on exploratory runs – I spent a decent chunk of my evening that day running both parts, and while it was difficult and challenging at various instances, it was also loads of fun. I got to re-learn the quests and re-familiarize myself with the pathing, quest objectives, and other areas otherwise left unexplored in a normal zerging run.
ToEE Part 1 was more of a successful run than Part 2 for many reasons: Part 2’s end fight, lesser death count, and overall, better tactical strategies employed. At first, I was almost unsure about the performance because even the outer perimeter mobs were difficult to deal with at first. But I plowed forward, and did my best. To be honest, ToEE is not much different than Slavers in terms of mob-spawn placement – they are placed in almost every 5-10 feet distance of the next “cluster.” In that regard, the same psychology of difficulty-familiarity, I suppose, was translated here; so I felt as if it were possible after all, since I’ve ran countless Slavers’ runs (a little hard to explain, but that’s the best I can do).
Surprisingly, I realized that the difficulty tier for these types of quests are variable in my experience and level of play. The other day I was trying to replicate a solo rare farming run, but I was killed far more often than the completion run here. Perhaps it was the level of determination that separates the two cases, but I was kind of surprised that the latter performance varied by a large margin.
As you can see, I spent over 86 minutes, with a death + a Jibbers death due to an unfortunate encounter, and while the first part has NOTHING on the second part’s duration, Part 1 did feel a lot more of a drag because I enjoyed the elemental nodes sections a lot more than running to each elemental area and grabbing their keys. Part 1 was fairly straightforward, and I had to remind myself how to calculate my SP and conserve enough before the next shrine, a bit more dangerously than in Part 2. All in all, the mobs were mostly susceptible to my spells and I was able to dispatch most of them before they could take me out (although there were many close calls + the one instance when I did die). I remember running nearly out of SP at the Water room where we fight the aquatic gelatinous cube and water elemental guardians. There was also another point when I was keeping a good 15-20 meter distance from the Medusa rare near the Earth area location in order to stay alive and physically evade her deadly force blasts. Lots of memorable instances!
ToEE Part 1 is definitely more “do-able” as R1 solo compared to ToEE Part 2, by a long shot.
ToEE Part 2
Part 2 was… very interesting. The screenshot should say a lot in itself.
In this case, this was maybe a 90% solo. The boss fight was a huge 10% that I needed assistance with (and rightfully so, that end fight is nuts!). But we’ll get to that at the end.
I spent almost 5 hours exploring the entire ToEE map, and I have to say it was quite fulfilling. My favorite areas are the Water and Air elemental node sections, and while Earth and Fire were more easier sections to complete, it was not quite as interesting and Water and Air in terms of environmental design.
However, at one point, I started getting some crazy latency – as in, above 3K with the yellow symbol. My internet very rarely does this where the wifi connection kind of starts losing it ever since we moved and downgraded from high speed. And running R1 solo, as a caster, there is close to 0% forgiveness ratio when it comes to damage intake. I also feared that if I crashed, which at one point I almost did, I’d lose the entire progress – which I was already 3-4 hours in.
Thus, I had asked a guildie (Jynxx) to help hold the quest down in case that happened, which she so graciously did. I was really glad to ask her because she wasn’t going to help me in the quest (at first) or talk to me nonstop since she was busy browsing around FaceBook, so I was content in just the quiet company of another friend. Of course, as soon as I took such cautious measures, the latency disappeared. With +1 party member scaling too I was noticing a lot more respawns and greater clusters of mobs, which added a little more difficulty, but nothing impossible.
Now, boss fight was just pure hectic. I was really nervous and excited at the same time entering the boss fight arena, only to be shot down very quickly. I lasted maybe 5 minutes before Zuggtmoy took me down with one of her Earthquakes and a barrage of attacks. Spending nearly 300 minutes in the quest, I was not about to give up though. I burnt through maybe about half a dozen Siberys cakes before I finally gave in to ask for help. The biggest obstacle was that I already had the maximum death penalties stacked on Sera, with me being unable to dodge or evade from her Earthquakes once I realized I was in the affected area too late, along with the final mobs that release when she reaches the third HP threshold. The red named Goristro, minimal compact environmental space that I actually had, along with a barrage of other mini mobs, spells, and toxic mushrooms she was throwing at me, on top of her deadly mushroom wave attack, all made it quite difficult to make it through. By the time I got to my 6th cake, I realized I was out of tactical strategies to use to defeat her unless I got help – the fact that I had no other reliable player to help keep some or most of the heat of mob agro made it immensely challenging for me to solo the end fight. As well as no one else being there to raise me when I needed it, hence burning more of my own personal resources, much to my dismay.
So once I got Jynxx’s attention from her semi-afk to ask for some help, she tried her best to come rescue me, as she didn’t fully know her way to end fight. In the meanwhile, I searched through as many alts as I could, and finally found Palieup available to use who was flagged. Dualboxing her, I summoned a hire, invised through the entire dungeon, and met up with Jynxx, right before the end fight. Discussing tactics, we were going to rush in together and raise Sera – but as I read in the wiki moments before (I did have to reference the wiki in Part 2 a few times), Zuggtmoy’s attacks can affect the area right before the entrance. And we basically died right there to the mobs that teleported outside the entrance barrier. Except my hunch told me to park the hire in the previous area before.
With the hire to raise me, I ran all the way back with only 1 or 2 seconds to spare, and got Jynxx up. We eventually dispatched the trash mobs that teleported outside of the area, and then after recuperating and rebuffs, we entered the boss fight together. The rest of the boss fight, with all the trash mobs gone, was mostly a breeze – Sera was revived and restored of all her death penalties from Palie’s Unyielding Sovereignty effect, and Zuggtmoy’s remaining health was depleted to our completion.
The moment of relief washed over me when we finally got it, mostly out of exasperation, so I was just glad that even with assistance at the end it was done. While I didn’t like to use the cakes, I almost never use those cakes in other situations as I have Jibbers and often run in groups where I raise someone who can in turn, raise, or others raise me. And, there are the other 41 supreme cakes that are sitting in my bank. 🙂
All in all, I had a blast, despite running into challenging situations or other “micro-challenges” such as lag. I really hope to do another challenging solo (attempt at least) run like this, particularly in large quests where I can spend my time enjoying the quest. The primary reason for running this on R1 at all was mostly for the first time bonus though – but now, perhaps some other time, I can relax and explore even further at an easier difficulty. Mostly because in some cases, I couldn’t explore 100% because of lack of resources (SP) or out of caution.
This is just one step towards refining the Favored Soul build, as this does indicate a lot of weaknesses (and strengths!) that the build holds. But really, I just had fun simply running solo in the solitude of my own, without any worry for others, or “ruined” by even running with just one other person, at least the entire quest. Learning to be accountable on my own in a high level quest is what I’d like to see and test for myself.