Alchemical Shenanigans, Part Two

or, How to Not Screw Up Raids, Sort Of

Previously, I took a gander at the joys of two-manning The Lord of Blades raid, in a bit more detail than is given by the Wiki.  Don’t get me wrong, the Wiki contains a vast array of invaluable information, but sometimes, the best way to prepare yourself is with experience.  More importantly, someone else’s pain that they’ve documented for your benefit.  And that’s what I’ll continue to do here, with what is technically the raid before Lord of Blades in the storyline.

But I did them backwards, so I’m posting them backwards, and there!  Ha!  Because, reasons!

Without further ado, let me introduce the giant wall-o-text that is…

The Incomplete Lunatic Newbie’s Guide to Two-Manning The Master Artificer

First things first, don’t automatically assume that The Master Artificer is going to be easier than The Lord of Blades simply because it’s technically one level lower.  You and I both know that a quest’s level in comparison to another quest’s level doesn’t necessarily mean diddly-poo as a measure of actual difficulty.  Compare Elite In the Flesh with Elite Lords of Dust, if you don’t believe me.  In the Flesh on Elite gives people PTSD.  If done with care, The Master Artificer it can be significantly easier than its sister raid – however, without coordination and approached haphazardly, it can very rapidly make a pear-shaped pear turn meta-pear-shaped.  But let’s begin!

As with The Lord of Blades, there is a wilderness raid area with two bosses leading up to it.  One of the “bosses” is little more than mulch a bunch of trash and then Finger of Death the orange-named artificer, which is a cakewalk.  The other, which is a pair of Warforged Titans, is a little bit trickier.  The second Titan is  significantly tougher than the first;  speaking honestly, if the second Titan gives you any measure of grief whatsoever, leave.  Go re-gear, toughen up, rearrange epic destinies, what-have-you, and then return to try it again.  If you have difficulty with the second Titan, then Ronny and Margie (in the actual raid) will eat you for breakfast before you know what hit you.  Consider this a test – if you trash the Titan, you passed.  If it takes more than ninety seconds to drop him, if anyone dies, if your hit points start getting dangerously low at any point, retreat and regroup.

Seriously.  The Titan in the pre-raid is a joke compared to Ronny and Margie.

Once you get past the bosses (the two Titans and the pile-o-corpses), you will make your way into a large, important-looking labro-facility thingamajig.  Destroy the trash, and on each side, toss one lever – just one.  That will spawn four (4) magefire cannons that will pelt you mercilessly with annoyingly small numbers of damage.. more important than the damage, however, is the fact they’ll interrupt your (very) timed job on each side.  Destroy the two cannons up top;  you can ignore the ones in the middle, if you so choose.  Once the cannons flanking the levers are down, hit all three of the levers on the wall in rapid succession.  Turn towards the center and rush to a lever that is surrounded by three now-glowing crystals.  Target the lever itself and mash the unholy bejeebers out of your Interact button.  There is a very short window of time between when the lever unlocks (which is delayed after the third lever is thrown) and when it is considered “reset.”  Once you get the hang of it, the task is really quite managable without much panic or bustling.  Just don’t fall under the assumption of “I clicked it, it’s okay now” once you get up there, because by the time you realize it didn’t register, it’s probably already reset.  Irritation level:  Mild.  No negative impact to the pre-raid in the long term if you have to do it several times, though.

Shortly after the labro-facility-thingy is another boss, which really isn’t that terrifying.  The arcane blue-goo, however, is.  Much like the shtuff found in the Chamber of the Creation Forge, this causes insane, unblockable force damage and you do not want to be in it for any longer than it takes to say “oh crap!” and jump out.  Less time than that is preferable.  The real threat in this chamber is not the ginormous Augmented Lightning Guardian, surprisingly, or even the arcane blue goo, but those tiny floating little orbs that fire off force damage.  With very, very limited means to mitigate or negate the damage taken from these blasts, they can whittle you down with alarming speed.  Take the first ten to twenty seconds for a lap around the chamber and exterminating any balls ejecting purple globs.  Then turn your attention to the Guardian, who’s really just a sack of hit points.  Lightning Resist and Evasion are handy, but really, even without them he doesn’t hit hard enough to make you panic.  If he does, consider that your second warning – although, if he did, then you probably had difficulty with the second Titan and ignored my warnings in the first place.  Tsk, tsk, tsk, you’ll learn.

Now it’s time to grab a chest, shrine up, and enter the raid proper.

As with the previous write-up, I won’t bother with the “march in one direction and slaughter everything” walkthrough.  By this point in DDO, you’ve probably mastered that technique.  The only thing worth noting is in the aftermath of the fight where you talk smack to Toven d’Cannith’s hologram, there’s a lockbox containing a key that is extremely easy to overlook if you’re just making a cursory glance.  Snag the sneaky bugger and continue.

It’ll be pretty obvious when you get to the final chamber, as you’ll wander through a hallway with what seems like an endless array of bulkhead blast-doors which open automatically, one at a time, as you approach.  It might give you flashbacks to the end of Made to Order (a.k.a. “Haywire #2”).  It will open up to a positively enormous arena, which I can only speculate is a form of “testing chamber” for Toven’s maniacal creations.  (Note that Toven, while an insane tinkerer like Haywire, is infinitely less bumbling and far, far more demented.)  Now the fun begins.

What you have seen thus far in the raid is sugar cookies compared to what you’re about to walk into.  The onslaught of enemies officially comes at you in “waves,” although that’s a pretty PC way of putting it.  The first wave of artis and generic soul-cleansed warforged is a laughable joke. The second one would make General Horoth proud.  Anticipate at least 30-50 enemies on-screen at the same time.  Imagine, if you would, a Devil Assault or Weapons Shipment-style quest, just crammed into one room and with House Cannith enemies, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect.  At one point, Uncle Tubbs was air-juggling nine Augmented Lightning Guardians while Socks ran around, trying to keep the hostile artificers from becoming a problem and DOT-ting the rest to death.  The good news is, while the Guardians will follow you in a high-speed pursuit around the chamber, many of the other enemies are much lazier and will take their time about it.  Use that to your advantage to keep the heat from getting to hot in one area.  The good news is, Wave Two is “the hard part.”  Provided you survive it, with a little quick thinking, you should be on the home stretch.

Once you reduce his very respectable army to rubble, he’ll change tactics and, thankfully, give you a small breather.  If you’re over-leveling the raid (which, if it’s your first time, and you’re two-manning it [which is admittedly quite dumb {looks at self in mirror}]) then the lightning floor bit can be flat-out ignored.  Seriously.  It’s a piece of cheese without the corners, in that it’s never gonna be a slice.   At level might be a different story entirely, but Socks and I both shrugged and continued about our business like it was just a cell phone on vibrate.

There will be a number of giant Cannith crystals popping up about the room.  These are actually pretty slick, in that they’ll restore SP to anyone who hits them.  Let your spellthrower(s) get their fill before the melees go all Hulk Smash on the magic mineral deposits.  After the crystals are all broke-ified, a number of Magefire Cannons will be summoned.  Wreck shop on these like you’ve done on the past two dozen or so you’ve encountered.

Once all the crystals and cannons are down, Toven will pull out his trump cards.  And they are quite a pair of trump cards.  In blackjack, these would be an Ace (Ronny) and a Queen (Margie).  Here’s where your strategy will either make or break you – but it’s just that, the strategy, that will do it.

Reminder:  This is a guide for lunatic newbies who wish to two-man the raid.  I’m sure there are far better group strategies, but they don’t pan down so hot for two people.

The Cliff Notes version of the goal is simple:  drop both Titans at the same time, which drops Toven’s shield, and then you can pound on him.  The execution of said goal is a little more complicated.

First and foremost are the Titans themselves, nicknamed “Margie” and “Ronny.”  They have about fourteen billion Hit Points each – okay, okay, that’s a small exaggeration, although it sure feels that way when you’re between their feet.  Yes, I said between their feet, plural.  The safest method we found was to have the tank/melee DPS stand directly in between the two Titans.  As suicidal as it sounds, keeping both of them hammering on you with melee attacks is infinitely better than risking either – but especially Ronny – from using their charged cannon that is designed to be a siege weapon.  (Let’s do the math here, folks, siege weapon vs. person = person loses.)  With careful DOTting and alternating which Titan is getting hit, it is possible to whittle them both down to manageable ranges.. of course, keeping the following two points in mind:

  •         Melee/Tank:  Don’t Move!!!!  Seriously.  You do not want to risk accidentally stepping out of melee range for one of the Titans.  Trust me.  One hit from that brutalizer arm cannon and you’ll never make that mistake again – we’re talking 480-600 a pop on Heroic Normal, with Improved Precise Shot hitting everything in its path, and then blasting in an AOE on impact.  And of course, the damage is going up as the difficulty does.   DO NOT TEMPT FATE.
  •         Healer/Arcane Cannon:  Get Toven’s attention and keep it.  Yes, that means you’ll take some damage, but the tank is already taking more than enough, and his various rune arms are easy enough to evade when you have the space to maneuver or just scroll-heal through.  The biggest thing to keep in mind is that no matter how awesome your tank is, do not let him fall below 60% hp.  The Titans will occasionally hit your tank with a debuff which will absorb all incoming healing from all tested sources.  This includes ki healing, heroic spell healing, potions, scroll healing, epic destiny healing, epic destiny fast healing (a.k.a. regeneration), and epic past life fast healing (past life regenerating).  Luckily, it only lasts for a few seconds, but the only thing the tank can do is either fight through it or block through it and pray.  A little overhealing here will prevent the tank from accidentally dropping and Ronny turning that devastating cannon on you while you try and throw a raise.  Bring scrolls!

Alternate Tactic:  If both party members are wicked self-sufficient, crazy, and maybe just a little bit insane, then one can melee tank Ronny (the purple one) and the other can range – physically, spells are far too inefficient to be viable – Margie (the yellow-green one).  This is due to Margie’s dominant attack being her “blender arm” and Ronny’s being the siege cannon.  Requires a great deal more communication, but can be more efficient with experienced players.  Just be careful that whomever is kiting Margie doesn’t accidentally have her fire the siege cannon in Ronny’s direction.

In all seriousness, once you’ve found a rhythm within your given roles, it’s pretty easy to tug on through.  The healer/cannon, in between throwing heals and optionally dodging rune arm blasts from Toven, can keep an eye on both Titan’s hit points and warn if one is getting too much lower than the other.  Once they’re both at around 15%, the cannon/healer should take a moment and use any clickies to restore SP, because they’ll be needing them shortly.

Once both Titans fall, it will take a few seconds, and then Toven’s shield will fall.  Hit this fool with everything you have.  The shield is only down for a short while, and if he’s still alive when time is up, he will resurrect both of the Titans, bring his shield up, and you’ll go through the whole rigamarole all over again.  There are no new tricks, and it won’t fail the raid, but it does start a whole new cycle of pain.  If you can afford the SP, have the arcane cannon hit up every metamagic known to Shar, Torm, Mystra, and Amaunator when laying into Toven.  The first time we dropped Ronny and Margie, Socks wasn’t prepared with enough SP and my shuriken weren’t doing near enough damage;  the second time, Socks nuked the living daylights out of him while – being completely honest, here – I pretty much just caught my breath and chucked a couple of stars for show.  Socks was really the big damage-dealer, as a sorc should be, when it came to that part.

BOOM goes the dynamite!

BOOM goes the dynamite!

Once Toven shrieks and falls over, his platform will crumble, and you’re officially allowed to WOOO and wipe your palms off.  Then WOO a few more times and check out your loot.  Alchemical blanks drop with pretty high frequency here, although there’s no guarantee you’ll get exactly the blank you want, so you may have to run it a few times and/or check the Auction Houses.

Hopefully, this series of posts will get some more players interested in Alchemical Crafting and possibly increase the frequency of the raids being run… especially on Orien!

Happy Slaying!



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