I usually make three or four runs of Epic Devil Assault a week, for various reasons. Almost all of them are wide-open PUGs, left open even after the quest starts.
Mainly, it’s a stable supply of experience that I don’t have to pay attention to or worry about. Nobody can really get lost. There’s no worry about zerging or non-zerging – I mean, what are you going to do, go through the portals into Shavarath? And on Epic Normal, it’s rarely a threat to the majority of my toons, aside from the occasional lag spike or “oops, I guess I should pay a little bit of attention.”
One thing I see a large number of players forgetting is that with EDA, it’s not just the completion XP you’re looking at. Each of the four waves leading up to completion has its own XP reward, with the fourth wave after Blinky typically being worth more than the entire quest itself. (See below for a great solution I’ve devised to dealing with his irritating “glitch” that earned his nickname. –Ed.) While the “actual quest” XP is listed as somewhere in the 18K’s on Epic Normal, by the time you add everything up, it’s worth more in the realm of 74K.
But it still takes a while to run, so that’s not the only reason. One other one is it’s by far the most sure-fire way to score guaranteed whole Tokens of the Twelve (not fragments). Part of the reason I run the quest so frequently is to keep an ample supply on-hand to afford Hearts of Wood for TR’ing whenever the opportunity arises, because I’m impatient like a juiced up hamster when that time rolls around. Gathering up twnety whole tokens by combining fragments from quests takes forever; scoring 1-3 whole tokens per run of EDA on EN accelerates this process by an insane degree. Gather up a friendly party willing to pass tokens, and on a lucky run you can score almost an entire Heart of Wood in thirty minutes.
The prevalence of Green Steel materials is also a nice fringe benefit, including all three (personally confirmed!) Shards of Power, is also a nice fringe benefit. This is my near-exclusive source of Green Steel crafting supplies, and is how I’ve completed multiple Supreme Tyrant weapons and items without ever getting past Phase Two of The Shroud. I won’t say it’s anything close to an efficient means of doing so, but for players that either don’t have the Vale of Twilight (which you should!) or can’t seem to line up a raid for whatever reason, this is a great alternative.
But one of the major reasons I run it so frequently is to lend a hand to other players. Every single one of my LFM’s for EDA includes the words “Pikers welcome!” and often “Free loot, tokens, and/or XP!” In all of the runs I’ve made – which has to be well over a hundred and fifty by now – I’ve yet to have a single one not be packed to the brim by the time wave four rolls around. Usually long before that.
Since more often than not, I’m alone in the main chamber, there’s a good bit of conversing that happens between the players in the antechambers. I’ll jump in between phases and waves, as time allows. By the end of the run, more often than not, everybody is in alignment with why they’re there in the first place: Just need XP to get a non-main Epic Destiny off the ground (second only to..), I need Tokens to TR, looking for a Large Splintered Horn, what-have-you. Nearly everybody asks who needs what passed and does so happily and without hesitation. Only once, when two artis were in the group and Animus dropped, was there ever something settled by a roll.
In short, it seems like it’s one of the few places where the “Together Everybody Accomplishes More” attitude is still in full tilt on DDO. And I will continue to support that for as long as I can. There is nothing quite like watching someone who was momentarily excited about having their “off” build finally limp to twenty, only to realize they’re sixteen tokens short; they join the PUG, having sighed and resigned themselves to what could be yet another lengthy grind. Then, twenty-five minutes later, due to the generosity of the entire group (many, if not all, of whom have been in the exact same boat before, I’m sure) they walk out and head straight to The Twelve to get their heart of wood! Watching their tone go from “I’ll be here all night and probably the next few days, too” to “OMG I CAN TR RIGHT NAO!!!!” is like that spirit of Christmas shtuff Hallmark keeps blabbing on about. Except that it happens three or four times a week.
So if you’re at a point where you’re not really sure what to do, and happen upon a run for Epic Devil Assault – hop on in. Lend a hand. Help a new player fresh out of Heroic get a nice chunk of XP under their belt. They might even thank you with some extra tokens they don’t need (yet). Perhaps pass a couple someone else’s way and make their day. Even if the quest has already started, it’s a great way to flesh out Epic Destinies you don’t necessarily want to quest with – because we all know Fighters just love the Magister line. You’ll get experience for the destiny, just for hanging out at the dance party in the entryway, and that’s one more cycle of chests for everybody to communally glance at and hope for.
It’s one of those rare places where everybody wins. So go on, give it a go. It’s not that scary.
Dealing With Blinky’s Blinking
Until you figure out how to deal with it, Blinky (real name “Baktor,” but I’ve never heard anyone actually call him anything but Blinky) can easily be the single most frustrating point about EDA, for some players, even to the point of giving up or avoiding the main chamber entirely.
If you’re unfamiliar with Blinky, he’s the wave four boss in the Epic version of Devil Assault. The Heroic and Epic versions of DA are night-and-day with the monster arrangement; an amusing point to the folks I run with is that I’ve run the Epic version so many times the Heroic one seems “wrong,” and more than once Socks has had to remind me that Blinky and Turigulon don’t show up in the Level 6 edition of Devil Assault. Blinky is a horned devil (Pro-Tip: Horned devils are blue. Pit fiends are red. This is an important distinction when it comes to DR and spell effects.) who is absolutely notorious for glitching out. On the rare (rare [rare]) occasion he doesn’t glitch, he teleports occasionally, chucking chain lightning and binding chains which are crippling to melees for a few seconds at a time. However, I’ve only had him stay “un-glitched” through the whole fight once. It seems the more people are in the main chamber, the longer it takes for Blinky to go on the fritz; but that’s just my own observations and not scientific in any way, shape or form. You’ll be able to tell when he does glitch because he’ll teleport around the chamber constantly. I mean, without end. He appears for the blink of an eye and then is gone again – hence the nickname. (Which I’m sure is also a side-reference to blink dogs.)
That tells you what he does, though, not how to fix it. According to the wiki, you can sometimes reset his AI through the use of mass aggro-resetting mechanics, such as Mass Invisibility that hits everyone or a super-high-powered Intimidate. While I personally have never seen these methods work, I will type that with a giant asterisk and add because I’ve never directly tried to get them to, either. So don’t take that as gospel. What does work, however, is the following:
- Kill the archers that spawn with Blinky. There’s usually four, two Razor Bows and two Spellbows. Drop them like bad habits using your favorite method.
- Wipe all AOE duration-based spells from the main chamber, such as Ice Storm, Acid Rain, Call Lightning Storm, Otto’s Sphere of Dancing (“disco balls”), Wall of Fire, et cetera. Gust of Wind is great for this. AOE’s in different parts of the room can make Blinky twitch out. Note: this includes the entry hallway!
- Gather everyone in the main chamber into ONE corner. I’m fond of the north-east corner near where he spawns. (The north-west one has beds that are mildly annoying, but other than that, it still works.) Everyone puts their backs to the corner and faces the main chamber.
- Blinky will now be spazzing like tazered Jell-O in front of the party. Engage Auto-Attack and hard-target Blinky. Casters may now drop AOE’s centered on him.
- Go make a sandwich.
Really, that’s it. All there is to it. And I’m dead serious on the “you can walk away from the keyboard” part, as well. The days of chasing Blinky around the main chamber for five minutes while he mocks you in whatever language Horned Devils speak are over. Insert trite colloquial catch-phrase here, such as “good as gold,” “solid,” “word is bond,” or “get that degu out of my underwear” here.
Easy as breathin’.