So, it may or may not have come to the attention of my buddies on Orien that the Full Moon Fury blog was featured in the DDO Chronicle recently.
Socks, my TR buddy, decided that our recent escapades in The Lords of Dust Elite at level 12 just wasn’t, as he said, “enough.” That we could top it. In my highly inebriated state, I agreed. We could do more.
So, both of us took a few minutes away from keyboard to consider, individually, the thought of “what is the most brutal level 16 quest DDO has to offer?”
My suggestion, which (unfortunately) was the one we went with, was Friends in Low Places. Part of me almost wishes I wasn’t that honest, but, I was. Let’s be real. Without crowd control, that quest is pure evil on Elite, even at-level. Why, oh why, then, was I suggesting that two level 12’s could come at it without hires and walk away?
Ten minutes later, I find myself on the Wheloon Docks, with Socks, about to step into the prison. We make our way to the quest – no surprises there – and hop in, on Elite.
(Sidebar:) Dear Socks,
Why do you enable me?
If you’re unfamiliar with Friends in Low Places, it’s a quest in the Wheloon Prison, part of the Shadowfell Conspiracy pack. Speaking frankly, the Wheloon Prison loot is some of the best gear you can put your hands on in Heroic levels, being the only way to score +8’s to your stats or achieve otherwise insane boosts (Kinetic Lore VIII, anyone??) long before they would otherwise be available. If you’ve seen things like The Morning Star on the Auction House, Wheloon’s where it came from.
The problem with Friends in Low Places is the absolutely insane number of mobs, the intensity of said mobs, and at the end, the frequency of the mobs. Crowd control is survival, here. And I’m not talking like Escape Plan crowd control, where if a few get away, it’s all fine and dandy. I’m talking literally hundreds of rough-and-ready opponents just dying to sink their swords (and possibly teeth) into your backside.
About the only quest in a comparable level range with the number of kills is the Coalescence Chamber, but since a good chunk of those are bats or otherwise-inconsequential enemies, I’m not counting them. And they’re spread out.
But I digress. The long and short of it is, we stood inside Friends in Low Places (FILP), on Elite, at level 12. It was about to go down. Hill.
Well, it was, soon enough, I suppose. Everything went smoothly until after the Eastern Camp, which I always head to first; at that point, I realized that as vastly underleveled as we were, and without a trapper, there was no way we would make it through that short spell-warded tunnel alive. So, I hauled us back all the way through the other tunnel just to progress.
No problem, no problem.. a little bit of round-about navigation (thank the Maker I know this quest like the back of my hand!) and that saves us from untimely death via Poison Spell Wards. Granted, we still had to walk backwards through the Poison Trap And Archer Ambush*, but that’s a finite thing and not guaranteed demise in two-point-negative-ninety seconds. A little bit of cleverness with the ambush at the shrine near the Southern Camp let us walk into the tunnel to the end boss with mostly-full Spell Points.
* See Photos from the Sock Drawer, below.
Of course, there were Spell Wards in that final tunnel, too. Employing the Leapfrog Technique seemed the safest and most reliable fashion to cross through, so we exploited it. (The Leapfrog Technique is when one player intentionally dies, lets themselves receive a Raise Dead spell, and then maneuvers their ghost into a more advantageous position before clicking “yes,” with full intention of passing the favor along to the next member of the party who does the same thing, in order to bypass a trap or other obstacle.)
Okay, so we had a couple of deaths. You expected us to walk out of Friends in Low Places at level 12 without a few bumps and bruises?? Srsly, bro. Check yo’self.
After some wrangling, we managed to make it to the Final Walk. Those who have played this quest know this hallway like the image above was born embedded in their brains. This hallway simultaneously haunts and taunts you – come on, you’re so close! it says. Don’t give in to the torment. Don’t you have to, I dunno, fix the toilet or something? That’s way safer. Both to your ego and your game persona. This is one of those times where it’s a smart idea TO listen to the gibbering lunatics in the corner. If you are even the tiniest bit unprepared, if you are slightly out of step, or the smidge-a-mest out of alignment, this final fight will eat you for breakfast.
And if you’re the crowd controller, make sure your graphics card can handle it. Otherwise, you will lag out in the middle of the fight, and your party will (most likely) wipe because of it. It’s not pretty.
I’d love to say we made it through the fight smoothly and waltzed away. Nobody would believe me, though, because we didn’t. We died. A lot. Even keeping the boss occupied while focusing on each wave of trash didn’t seem to help – this “trash” comes out of the gate looking for blood and is fully-equipped to get it. Without any of the higher-level crowd control (Mind Fog + Disco Ball = survival), we were forced to manage with less-powerful tactics that half of the mob flat ignored or just “zombied” through – one or two got stuck, but the rest just climbed over the stuck one to the point the stuck one didn’t really matter that much. At one point, we had to run out and regroup in the hallway so Socks could fix a little problem with accidental nudity.
But, thanks largely in part to some sheer tenacity and refusal to give up, we managed to thin the herd out enough to focus on the boss. Without her posse, she really isn’t much more than a bag of hit points.
And here is our (rather embarrassing) victory card. Yes, it took us over two hours to pull off. But, as with any rough victory, the point is we did it.
Although we did something new, this time – Socks took a bunch of screenshots of his own, to see things from his angle!
Photos from the Sock Drawer!