Fresh from the unlock of content for all players, our DDO trio static tackled the Sentinels of Stormreach chain over the weekend. This set of four related quests took our party across farflung locales in Eberron as we set sail for adventure. I particularly enjoyed this story arc as it ties into one of the Dragonmarked Houses – the titular sentinels of House Deneith.
The Bargain of Blood quest, set in a pirate market, was a really interesting setting for a MMO quest. Dungeons & Dragons Online really piles on the atmosphere and character with its set piece dungeons.
The layered marketplace offered plenty of opportunities to indulge my passion for climbing and exploring all the corners of a map. With ramps, ladders, side sections and opponents who attacked us from all sides, and all levels.
After clearing out the pirate marketplace. We moved on to deal with a clutch of necromancers that had taken over the Black Loch area of Three-barrel Cove. This time the threat was upgraded from pirates to dark spellcasters who had displaced the pirates normally living there.
This was another fun and rather complicated dungeon, consisting of a complex series of caves on several levels. Since it was our first experience of the whole chain, that meant a lot of exploring and working out of the sequence in which to do the quest steps.
Who can resist a pirate ship in a cave? Ever since The Goonies this has been an absolute classic scenario. The traps and locks proved a bit more of a challenge in this dungeon, but we got through all the challenges intact.
Next up was the Storm the Beaches quest, which saw us sneaking into a brooding fortress to take on the more elite forces of the Blood Tide pirates. This seemed to offer, via the initial dialogues with NPCs, several approaches of how to get inside; I may have clicked a bit precipitously here and forced us to take the one route. We did debate whether we could try several routes at once, but with only three of us in the party that seemed like a bad idea. In the end we jumped off the ship and went up the back/mountain approach anyway so perhaps the dialogue is more of an instruction than an exclusive choice?
The scale of the fortress was impressive. The objective to destroy ballistas finally gave my artificer a target for his ranged Wrack Construct ability – it deals significant damage to siege weapons it seems. It’s the first target I’ve managed to use it on, as we haven’t fought that many warforged and other constructs since I unlocked it.
The interior of the fortress was a maze of tunnels akin to an Egyptian pyramid, though the living quarters added some colour amid the intense fighting as we pushed downwards. I particularly liked the painting on the wall of the Black Loch as a callback to the last quest.
The final part to this chain, saw us invited to House Deneith’s Stormreach headquarters – only to find it under assault from our Black Tide adversaries! We proceeded to fight our way upwards to clear out the invaders.
The final section of this quest held a breathtaking vista as we reached the open-air top floor of the tower – behold the crimson Airship of the Blood Tide!
Our only disappointment of the chain was the lack of animation when we destroyed the airship – the screen flashed white and it was simply gone. I imagine the rather mature game engine couldn’t animate the ship crashing down, but it was an opportunity missed to turn up the wow factor to 11.
All in all, we really enjoyed this quest arc. Four different locales with very different atmospheres and visuals. I’d gladly run it again as no doubt we missed some of the secrets and optional objectives.