i teased this about a week ago, and now i will tell you the tale. For the typical DDO’er this is probably not anything to write home (or online to share with the world) about, but for me it was a HUGE deal. See, for all that i’ve been grinding through lives and levels almost since the very beginning (regrettably just a tad too late) i was never much of a raider (i.e. never ran any except a Tempest Spine six years ago, severely under-level Chronoscopes, and 2 Shroud runs). But thanks to some serious time dedicated to a single character, and inclusion in a really active and vibrant guild, i finally felt like i could carry my weight in a 12-person group battling for epic supremacy. Since then, i’m happy to say i can hang with the big dogs (or Wolfies) on Monday nights. By “hang with” i mean “not be a huge burden” – these skilled vets are rolling along and defeating evil with aplomb.
So there i sat last week, tapping away about the awesome achievement of facing down an EH green dragon and overcoming the challenge. i get a few lines in when my phone starts blowing up.
“Epic VON with the guild!” 10:09pm
“They are already on VON 2 but there is still room” 10:10pm
“On three now…” 10:11pm
By this point i’m like WTF is going on? How are they doing it this quickly?! i thought maybe they were blowing through flagging at the Heroic tier, something i did solo in about 20 minutes the other day so i’d be ready for this moment. What was i to do? Sit there and finish writing about a game or jump in there and do something?!
Well, as you may have surmised by now – both!
If you stayed up extra late to read about our time purging the poisoned well, thank you. This is what caused the delay.
By the time i logged on, my guildmates were standing around waiting to start the boss fight in VON2: The Prisoner…which took about 10 seconds on EH. After that, we blew through VON4: Haywire Foundry, where i was happy to note that when we split up, i could still hold my own and contribute meaningful DPS. At least, it seemed so to me. It’s all relative – i was seeing way bigger numbers than i ever had before. Note to PnP players – “splitting the party” does not equate to “guaranteed TPK” in this game.
So within a couple minutes, everyone is flagged. All of this is old hat to me (not the Epic part, but the quests themselves). Every toon i’ve ever brought to level range has been flagged just in case the opportunity arises, but the stars just never aligned for me. To put it another way, i was too chicken to PUG it not knowing what i was doing. i will admit that Wrongside, myself, and our buddy Daniam once entered the Vault of Night just to see what we could see. Believe it or not, we managed to complete VON5 – the actual vault portion of the raid. IIRC it took about oh…two hours or so fumbling and stumbling through it. We were so jacked after that, ready to fight what at the time was the game’s only red dragon. No problem, right?
We enter the Plane of Night. Oooh. Ahhh. What a sight! A pocket dimension basically in orbit around the planet far below. Far enough below to see the curvature of it. Armed with the knowledge that there are 3 pillars to be destroyed simultaneously, we split up and each head for one.
And then we got annihilated in short order.
“She breathes fire on you before you can fight her? What’s going on? The bridge is burning! Uh-oh, i’m getting hit…”
Let’s put all that behind us, shall we? This night was different. Rolling with a guild in a full party rounded out by a pair of PUGgers, i had zero doubt we’d succeed. If there was one downside, it’s that everyone knew the quest so well, i didn’t really have time to absorb any of what was going on while we ran it. i did experience a moment of dread when i greedily clicked to pick up the enticing treasure bag i spotted and realized it was some sort of quest item signet ring. Was i stuck with it? Could it be traded to someone who knew what to do with it? Thankfully, yes. Whew! Off the hook.
Finally, the big fight!
Please ignore the party chat window – that was a technical error for Wolfie i swear!
Honestly, i don’t want to say i was underwhelmed or anything, but this was so much easier than i anticipated. Over the years, i’ve read guides and strategies, tactics, what to expect, and so on and so forth. But when it came right down to it, the great wyrm went down after a few minutes of the tanks whacking at her while the rest of us blasted the living heck out of her. However, we did have to hide behind a rock for a few seconds every so often when someone would yell “Inferno!”
Remind me again why there’s no dragons in the Monster Manual. Seems like a glaring omission, no?
And that was that. Two dragons in two days – i was pretty darn proud of myself. The green one went down through a combination of guile, cunning, and frantically Wind Dancing around the cavern. This red one went down through sheer overwhelming force. And it was awesome. i know it’s just a game, and this particular raid isn’t anything new, but man it felt freakin’ fantastic to run this one!
Pwned. Got a Flawless Red Dragon Scale too. If only you could craft iridescent armor…
Afterwards, me and Wrongside hung around the Plane of Night to get some screenshots. i didn’t realize there was a perfect vantage point underneath the battlefield, but thankfully Wrongside did and got a great one.
You’ve come a long way, Wrongside Redd of Sarlona.
Since last week, Schir has acquired quite a taste for dragon slaying. We ran another Epic VON just last night as a matter of fact, and this time i took advantage of the sweet spot as well.
Master of Reality…getting there anyway.
We also got a guided tour of the Epic Gianthold courtesy of Reikenn, one of our guildmates. He surprised us by plunging us into another pitched battle against a red dragon.
I am Schir, and I am indeed Eberron’s mightiest Sorcerer!
What have i learned from all this dragon hunting? Probably the most profound lesson is that it is good to find a group of cool people to game with. My enjoyment of DDO took a quantum leap forward since getting recruited into the Sacred Flame Guardians, and running with these guys is such a blast. Apologies to their alts (i’m still trying to figure out who’s who) but people like Wolfie, Reikenn, Aunslaut, Abbigaal, Celeste, Scentinel, Kantril, Carvur, Tuducken, Wyrmbud, Vladamirre, and many others have really amped up the fun factor for me.
Thanks for visiting!
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Coming up in the near future, i’ve got a great opportunity to interview our guild leader Wolfie right here on The Long Shot. If you’ve been playing any length of time and PUGging any of that time, there’s a good chance you’ve run with him already. He has been involved with gaming for quite a while. He’s a great guy, terrific guild leader, and i don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn he’s pretty damn cool out of game too. So i hope you come back around to learn more about him in the next week or so.
i’m still learning the ropes of this sort of gaming coverage, so my apologies for the awkward structure and whatnot. i definitely want to give a huge shout out and big ups to EvenNote and the entire OurDDO project, and Gamer Geoff for helping keep a great community alive, and for including me in it. Thanks so much!