Who Knew a 3-Hour Long Raid…

…could actually be pretty fun?

Never mind a 3 hour long EE Deathwyrm!

So a couple days ago or so, I had been posting for some raids on Meredithium/Seraphemia. Of course, the moment I switch to Sera, things start to look a little ugly… it did not help that Sera was already nearly half the DPS of the group, so the DPS red flag was frantically waving once Sera was out of the picture.

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It was really rough… Conquest achieved though!

 

While I was happy with Sera’s performance in LH Shroud, it usually is a bad sign. Normally, I don’t have to worry about putting that much DPS but I think group composition, in all of the raids we were running that night, just was not cut out for it.

Afterwards, we had ran a DOJ and FOTP, which were mostly fine. Once we got to EE Deathwyrm, that was the interesting kicker.

I personally am not super familiar with the mirror puzzles like Andy and Psy are, but I’m definitely catching on and learning. This run, I was able to get through them fairly quickly, and there was not too much pressure as we had someone else shadow me to learn it, and the rest of the party either did not know it or did not really care that I was sort of taking my time. At the same time, I also had to explain the raid and what I was doing over voice chat to someone else who was totally new to the raid. Despite these, it was manageable and I think I explained to the extent that I would like, even for the end fight as we shrined up. However, our luck with the intersection rooms (we got Jump + Red/Green Light) was a foreshadow for the things to come…

As soon as I try to assign roles, it was very strained as I only have Koko to depend on as a capped character with actual DPS. Thank goodness he was on his rogue, or else I am not sure if we would have even succeeded! I was at first our tank, and Koko was going to drop off the Kulds. Thing is, neither of us ended up with the same roles at the end of the raid. In retrospect, I think I should have been more aware of our group composition and capability, and organized roles a bit better.

Almost immediately after a few folks head into the shadow realm, the group starts falling apart. Because of the separation between our healers and the others, the few who entered through the portals ended up wiping, without even being able to kill the beholder and helmed horror. I got a tell from Tala about the situation, and so I had to rearrange positions to the worst possible scenario: our new guy, the Favored Soul caster, was in charge of tanking the dragon. In my mind, I had to give the role to him because not only was he spending SP to heal me, he was also capable of DPSing the dragon down, so it would be more efficient that way if he took the dragon himself, freeing my position to go help elsewhere, where he would not be able to due to being new to the raid. Despite being new, he was the only option. Of course, there were little things I noticed about his tanking method; he was in the spawning corner by the south lever which made it slightly harder to tank, while he could have been tucked away in one of the column crevices across the southern wall. When I advised kiting if he was taking too much damage, he almost immediately died. To which I kind of felt bad bringing up that idea in the first place.

Moving on, he took charge of the dragon’s agro, but there was also the other issue of Kulds not being properly dropped. For about 70% of the fight, Kulds were a major issue, and I ended up having to grab agro and hang from the stone ledge – which was highly inefficient. Our poor healers (aside from me when I tried) – one Favored Soul and one Cleric – had to drink so many potions to keep us alive. Towards the end I tried to reimburse, but no one would accept! Haha. Anyways, the Cleric was often away for a majority of the end fight due to getting stranded in R/G room for a while, but they eventually came back. While they did a superb job healing us, I often had to call out for them to heal me or Mez, so I felt like it was a bit hard to delegate that without sounding bossy or anything. Of course, they were so very kind in doing as I asked!

There were several instances where we were close to a full wipe, about a total of 3 or so. Being separated from the main group did not help things when we were trying to destroy the real phylactery – and DPS was very slow so it would take a very long time. At the first instance, when we were getting overwhelmed by too much trash, I called it as the raid leader to retreat and recuperate – grab as many soulstones as you could, raising the important people (healers), and run.

For future reference… never linger if you are outside on the temple floors. Aurgloroasa dragged us back maybe 2-3 times, and people were so befuddled. However, I had noticed that two folks in the shrine room remained there – so I told folks to retreat there as fast as possible. Sure enough, we finally regrouped there safe and sound, waiting out our many death penalties and rebuffing to the best of our abilities. During the hectic tanking, I had also bought SP potions too, which I reluctantly purchased (although looking back on it now, I have no qualms anymore).

One instance I clearly remember was when we all wiped but the two in the phylactery room and I almost knew we were going to have to give up then. But right then and there – lo and behold, they got the right phylactery! A new surge of hope shot through me, and we were all so happy. We desperately tried to revive each other, and regrouped once more.

To wrap the story up, I actually enjoyed the raid, in a twisted way I suppose, haha. The thing is, we were all so determined to make it through, even though there were so many close calls. No one dropped or commented negatively that “we couldn’t have done it” – because if we had, I think we really couldn’t have. There is that certain psychology in gaming and groups. But it was that persistence that drove us to grit through, and we certainly paid the resources for it. It was not the cost that mattered, but the experience; and somehow, I managed to yet again lead through a raid that may have been bitterly painful, but still ended in a successful completion. Almost never does that ever happen – the last I recall was an EE FOT raid years ago.

After the raid, I went to sleep easily, thinking back fondly upon it. Another favorite part about the raid was that we were so resourceful – very rarely, do we get to utilize a challenging near -stalemate in any quest or raid that requires us to stop and take a moment. The fact that our SP was in jeopardy (despite SP pots from the store) caused us to be more resourceful and tactful; a couple of us used our Xachosian Eardweller to create some SP munchies, I used my stack of GH scrolls to pass buffs to everyone, and our Fighter even used his Eternal Wand of Cure Minor Wounds to patch up folks in the waiting time. Honestly, this is the sort of experience that was reminiscent of the pre-MoTU days, or the “Golden Era.” And it’s made me realize, I love to be resourceful and the thrill of “barely surviving” is what I love about this game at its core.

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Running these raids lends me to know more about myself as a player, honestly. And you know what? I’m extremely stubborn towards success, almost to a fault, yet somehow these near impossible situations, seem possible.

Keep up the Good Fight.

Epic Elite Master Artificer Duo

Whew. Last night (or more like early this morning), Selector and I finally made it through; an 82 minute Epic Elite duo run completed! While it’s not Mark of Death EE duo or anything, this is my first time shortmanning a respectable EE raid with just two. And it was quite intense!

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Dang. I had totally forgotten to take a screenshot of the top part of the XP report, but oh well. I know personally at least it was on EE after what we went through!

OK, so it wasn’t like anything overly tough or anything like that. But it definitely did require patience (cough cough 82 minutes hello) – I remember feeling all sorts of emotions throughout the raid, from victorious, to that sinking “oh no” feeling, to determined and victorious again. Here’s what happened:

Sel and I stepped into the arena with (at least) me thinking that Toven wouldn’t be hard to kill once we got the Titans down. We cleared through the first waves of mobs pretty well, and restored all of our SP back to full with the crystals so we were well prepared for the end fight. Well, our first attempt to prep and kill the titans didn’t go so well – somewhere along the line I screwed up and died (didn’t prep Margie the Greenie enough I guess) and Sel was left alone to try to kill them both. Logically, this wouldn’t work since A) I was on death timer and B) Sel would have a painful time trying to range Toven (and I’ll go back on that point later) and wouldn’t kill him in time before the Titans raise again. Luckily, Margie did not die exactly when Ronnie went down; Margie had just a sliver of a health left, I wanna guess maybe something like 50 HP or so. It was that close! So Ronnie gets back up, and that was the first “oh no” feeling (jeez what do I call it!) when Selector ends up dead too. While I didn’t want to use the Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers (felt that it would almost invalidate or lessen the authenticity of our completion), I really did want to complete it since it would be an achievement to me to duo an EE MA with a friend, to get that dang Alchemical Khopesh for a friend’s Christmas gift, and since Margie’s health was that low, we just needed to prep Ronnie. So we restrategized, moving to a corner where the titans wouldn’t notice us, I seppuku’ed to raise Sel (since we died about the same time), and he waited for my timer (1 minute and 50 seconds or so) to finish so we could both get back in the fight. Of course, the titans notice Sel anyway so he had to run around for a bit. I kept calling out my timer’s time because I was that much on the edge to get up and help!

Since I dealt most DPS on Margie, I guess that is the reasoning why she started after me again even though Selector was alive for a while and running around. Which didn’t turn out bad since I was able to Divine Wrath (mass spell) and Sun Bolt spam Ronnie while Margie was away from him. Sadly, those two spells were about the only two spells I could use other than Ruin since at this point my spell points were dangerously low. I drank occasional pots at this part of the raid but didn’t think I should go full out since I was trying to conserve them too. So we prepped both titans again; this time we would get it right.

Or so we thought. Both titans did go down – Toven started trying to revive them in his hooligan shaman dance looking animation, and in my mind I was dumping some DPS on him but I remembered reading the wiki that “it’s rare that he’ll [Toven] survive long enough to raise Ronny and Margie” (DDO Wiki). NOPE. NOOOOOOOPE. I guess I should have realized that first, the wiki also states that he will revive the titans if given enough time (although it says 20%?? if one is destroyed at least) and at some point caster(s) should begin dotting once Margie is down. Welp, I guess I should have read the wiki before starting since it’s been a while since I ran this raid and read over the specifics – Sel and I both prepped and killed at the same time, which wasn’t bad, but it caused buffer time during Toven beatdown. And with that, Toven raised the titans to full health (DDO wiki states 20%) after I got Toven to about 50%. That was then freak out #2 happened, as I recall running around kiting Margie thinking if we should continue or not. Sel responded it was up to me, and so I moved forward – Round 2! I was determined to spend resources if Sel didn’t mind the duration of this raid. I started drinking SP pots to back up some DPS on Margie, although in hindsight I should have foresaw this and saved SP from the start. Margie went down quick from the beginning because I was spending majority of my SP bar on Ruin and Hellball for speed. Of course, that drained most of my SP, so I had to resort to drinking my precious (miiine potions miiine!) Superior Mnemonic potions. I guess I’ll have to buy more this Christmas or something…

But back to the raid. This time, we prepped them again in the same routine, killing them at the same time. Sel died at another point during this part so I was left under pressure to survive and still try to prep titans at the same time. The wiki was certainly right when distanced against Ronny – while running and timing the runs away from the destructive force blasts, I couldn’t help but take a few of them – the heavy damage dealing ones were about ~500 damage each with about 50 damage shots dealt by follow up blasts or blasts from Margie. So that definitely hurt! I offered to hold agro while Sel recovers when I got him up, but I guess he was alright because he went back to the fight. This time, I was prepared to go full out and drink lots of SP pots right before Toven’s barrier went down to dump enough DPS to deplete the remaining 50%. I drank up to about 2k SP, which saddened me when I was left with 1400 after we finally defeated Toven – a Ruin critted for about maybe 7-8k (possibly 10k? can’t remember, slept since the raid). So you can see in the screenshot that I was “screaming” with joy when we finally did it!

It wasn’t the toughest raid I’ve been in, but I’d say it was a perfect balance between difficulty and attainability. While drinking about ~6 Majors, ~5 Superiors, and using ~3 Shard Trinket charges wasn’t the highlight part of the raid, and maybe our teamwork could use a bit more work (on my part), I was glad we were able to do it in the end. I commented later saying we could do better next time, but not in the sense that we did badly this run – just the fact that we went through 2 and a half beatdowns, a Jibbers blade, and 82 minutes seemed a bit much and there is definitely foreseeable room for improvement after our run and newfound experience (as detailed here) that the wiki does not state for EE!

Had it not been for Selector, who also raid bypassed me when I found out  I didn’t pick up the raid rewards (ugh!!), I could not have done this. Like seriously, at all. I was almost determined to solo as I always hype myself into thinking sometimes, but honestly, it would have ended in a flop (and lots of wasted resources). The best part about duoing is that it really teaches/emphasizes teamwork, reliance, and despite the first two, self sufficiency for when poo hits the fan. Having someone to count on when I die helps me realize the strengths of my partner and the weaknesses of my character no matter how egoistic I can be (muhaha). Selector has an amazing sort of patience and will to continue when things weren’t looking good, and the teamwork, despite my screw ups, endured. The set up of our characters (me being caster and him being melee) also worked out pretty well, as I was able to pop occasional heals on him while taking on Margie when Ronny’s invulnerable magic shield was up and Sel was able to take charge of his agro (and quite finely as it takes some steps to establishing Ronny’s agro based on the wiki). Having both titans on us, as Sel and I can both say, definitely is pressuring. This was a very fun learning experience and accomplishment for both of us, and I look forward to future two manning EE raids perhaps as we grow into better players and improve our characters!

Of course, I type this as Update 29 is under construction. Perhaps level cap 30 will enable us even further to duo other tougher EE raids. I know there will be a bit of distaste in that and lessens our credibility, but hey, accomplishments are subjective. Compared to last week’s Raid Night, we (I think around 8 or so people) totally killed it with no sweat; two manning this was a completely different story. And to me, this was a big step.

😀

Celestial Raid-iance

So I thought I should write up the most popular/frequently ran/liked raids that I usually run (also for personal reference for when I’m stuck on “what raid is next?!”):

  1. Legendary Shroud (LN, LH)
  2. Legendary Hound of Xoriat (LN, LH)
  3. Legendary Tempest Spine (LH)
  4. Defiler of the Just (EN)
  5. Temple of Deathwyrm / Fire on Thunder Peak (EH, possibly EE)
  6. Fall of Truth (EE)
  7. Zawabi’s Revenge / Against the Demon Queen (EE / EH)
  8. Caught in the Web (EH, EE)
  9. Vault of Night / Plane of Night (EE)
  10. Mark of Death (EN)
  11. Chronoscope (EE)
  12. Shroud (HE)
  13. Lord of Blades / Master Artificer (EE)

I included Shroud because even though there is no epic XP out of it, it still is more popular than say, Hound of Xoriat, which can give XP. This list will definitely be changed as updates come and go, depending on the ebb and flow of the raid group/scene, etc.

Note: Now that there is an ample supply of raids to run, seems that I never really run into the “what raid is next!?” issue. Still, this list gives a good idea of what raids are popular in the group, and which ones are ran the most/at all.