Last night we decided, in our gaming trio, to return to Dungeons & Dragons Online. If we stick to the game this time our goal is to get the 2 character levels needed to get this trio started on the Ravenloft expansion (min. level 10): I play an Artificer, alongside a Paladin tank and a Cleric healer.
Logging in, our memories of last endeavours were a little hazy, so we just picked up with the first quest in our logs of the right level (the Faithful Departed), indeed our characters were stood next to the quest-giver NPC in House Phiarlan’s Golden Wing Inn. Opinions on whether we’d seen this dungeon before were mixed, it wasn’t until we triggered the failure condition near the end that we realised the context. This morning I read this post from almost two years ago – blogs really can be a wonderful treasure trove of forgotten gaming memories, if you think to look back.
The difference this time around was that we had enough time for a second run and we knew what to do, or more importantly, what not to do to succeed. So we were able to turn failure into success, through perseverance and a little foreknowledge. I was happy to retry the dungeon this time a second time, but my tolerance for this is tied closely to available play time – were I only to have an hour gametime left I’d be less happy about starting a quest that has a failure condition. This extends beyond DDO: we often have had discussions of late in WoW Classic over which dungeons to try or not try of an evening, as time is limited. It has come down to “we can do this wing of Scarlet Monastry, but if we try that later wing we’ll probably not finish it in time/at all”.
Reading the quest description link above it was easy to adjust our tactics to defeat this dungeon’s challenge with our party composition. Our characters were suitable buffed for defensive play, i.e. all had stoneskin, aid for extra hit points and shield of faith for higher armour class.
We are well used in WoW Classic to being more cautious than normal in dungeons, using crowd control, being aware of concentrating efforts to kill monsters in order to reduce incoming damage, avoiding area effect attacks to not break crowd control, etc. In this case, not hitting the Venerated undead that we had to *avoid killing* for the failure condition, involved similar tactics – no cleaves or lightning spheres and no flailing melee attacks too close to them.
For one fight I even had to ‘kite’ one of these mummies (they’re renamed mummy monsters, a D&D staple), I expect I’d accidentally caught it with a stray crossbow bolt from my repeater; so it was fixated on punching my artificer. In the end as the fight around me came to an end it was easier to let the other two handle the remaining drow, while I ran circles around the room backwards while the Venerated shambled after me. Thankfully defeated all the invading opponents in the room turns that particular mummy non-hostile, so we weren’t faced with kiting an increasing trail of angry undead throughout the dungeon.
I’ve written before, more than once, about the need to refer to a wiki when playing MMORPGs, so I shouldn’t really expect a game as in-depth as DDO to be any different. With the wiki’s hints, it was easy enough the second time to come out with a perfect score: no Venerated accidentally slain!