Everyone has their favorite quests in DDO. Some of them are pretty universally renowned, either for loot, XP, the experience, or some combination of all three. Then there are the somewhat less-obvious quests that we all have some love for, in one way or another.
Here’s a few of my absolute favorite “less obvious” quests, in no particular order.
The third quest in the Harbinger of Madness quest arc, Fear Factory has you entering a curio shop in the south end of the Harbor to track down the source of the disturbing (and disgusting) Taken that have begun cropping up over the city. I fell in love with this quest within seconds of my very first playthrough, as the quest is filled with totally twisted screams of brainwashed deranged followers of Morley Blode. These aren’t your normal human-enemy death rattles, these are full-on Wilhelm Screams in varying degrees of stutters, agony, and shock. Mix those in with the sizzling sounds from my first playthrough on a Fire Savant, and I was an instant fanboy of this quest, for everz. Oh, yeah, there’s also something about mind flayers, kidnapped citizens, brainwashing, sadistic extraplanar art projects, and an homage to the D&D cartoon show, too. But, screams.
Nothing quite hits the spot for a bit of unnecessary ultra-violence like systematically massacring an entire minotaur village. No, literally, the entire village. This quest is one of the few that has a believable scale and layout for a residential area, and somewhat believable responses – there’s only a few minotaurs out and about as your wholesale slaughter begins, but as the alarm is raised in different quarters and areas (either by minotaur runts or by your own hand, if you’re a right proper sick bastard [I am. –Ed.]) then each area has its own group come out to investigate. Of course, coming in here on Elite at-level and going about it haphazardly can very rapidly turn pear-shaped, but if you keep your genocide game focused, it’s a highly pleasurable and exceedingly bloody romp to reduce an entire settlement into a ghost town. Eeee! And it also culminates in one of my favorite hilarious pieces of dialogue in the game, when you return to Dorris drenched head-to-toe in minotaur blood.
This quest, in all honesty, began its life on my “black list.” It wasn’t until months later, when I would farm the heck out of it for a Token of the Faithful, that it would start to grow on me, and eventually become one of my favorite XP blitzes. Sure, the first few times through, it’s pretty daunting, and if you don’t know where to look, appears to contain not a single shrine. The traps, if you don’t know where they can be, can blindside you and lead to some pretty spectacular party wipes or Chutes & Ladders-esque “back to start” aggravation. Once you’ve run it a few times, however, and learned where the traps are, what to do and not to do (do jump over the pots, don’t break the sarcophagi, for example), what to bring, and what to prepare for (I won’t spoil the end fight if you haven’t done it already) – it can be condensed down to a very rapid completion time, solid XP, and a pretty fun and unique environment, to boot. Plus, it’s one of three “Big Falls” in the game where you can justify putting all those points into Tumble in order to avoid Feather Fall.
I used to use this as a solo crucible of sorts to determine whether a character build was worth keeping or not. Now I run it because I love it. This place is a sprawling temple which is absolutely riddled with traps intent on murderizing your entire party. And the traps come with some pretty hefty DCs to them, on Elite. The trick lies in that – with the exception of the traps leading to the “bonus chest” – every single trap in the quest is completely avoidable through clever playing, timing, or manual avoidance. Granted, some of them have larger margins of error than others.. but that’s what keeps things interesting! Add to that the quest is worth a metric boat-load of XP at-level, even more if you have a trapper, and it’s well worth the time it takes to run. Plus, it has a bit of a fun Tomb Raider-esque feel that I’ll freely admit I’m a sucker for.
I know a few folks will want to stop reading this post right now, but hear me out. Personally, I adore this quest. It’s another one that started off on my “black list” and turned a complete one-eighty.. so I can completely understand where those that loathe it with a passion are coming from. First and foremost, there are effectively four maps (first floor light, first floor shadow, second floor light, second floor shadow) which you must bounce to and fro all over the place in a plane-swapping, floor-hopping path that makes Legend of Zelda dungeons look simple. Then you have to collect eight orbs (four each of light and shadow) that are strewn about the map with no real hints as to where any of them are – and even if someone tells you “first floor, northwest corner,” you still have to figure out how the bloody hell to get there from where you are – because you can’t go in a linear path for more than two rooms before something happens and will block your progress, forcing you to re-route and re-plan. Having said all that – once you take the time and learn the map, the quest becomes an absolute blast and doesn’t take that long at all. (My personal record is under nine minutes, but I skipped Auralace’s optional because I was impatient at the time.) And when you do get to that point – holy wow the XP/min ratio is absolutely giddy, easily pushing 10,000 XP/min on Epics and close to 5,000 XP/min on Heroics. Once you get the hang of this one, particularly in Epic play, you can easily score 250,000 XP in less than a half hour by doing a Daily Jungles and a Daily Mirror, without even trying. YES!
I’ve already written an entire post on the quest, but it still needs to be mentioned in the list. Even to-date it is one of the most brutal quests at level on Elite to try and complete, and it packs a palm-drenching, pulse-pounding intensity that I’ve yet to find anywhere else. Sure, there are brief spots in other quests (Friends in Low Places, Fashion Madness, Terminal Delirium) which come close, but none of them reach the same pinnacle of psychosis…. nor come anywhere close to sustaining that level for twenty minutes straight. TeacherSyn of The Order of Syncletica has mentioned before that he uses The Weapons Shipment as a proving grounds to see if his characters will cut it in epics or be reincarnated; I agree with this practice wholeheartedly. You’d better step up tough to survive this gauntlet on Elite. Gearholes, one-trick ponies, resource hogs, or any other fault in the build will become glaringly apparent within two minutes. And those devils will not hesitate one second to turn you into peanut butter. You didn’t hear me stutter. Having said all that? Dude. For reals. This is the kind of adrenaline rush that video game commercials have been promising since 1984. You’ll probably realize you haven’t blinked or breathed in far too long by the time the final guy falls. So. Much. Love.
Of course, there are more quests that I like and enjoy in the game. I’ve also excluded the more ‘obvious’ ones, such as The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar which are almost universally acclaimed by the player base. These are, however, the quests I will happily run again and again, sometimes over-leveled to the point where it’s “just for lulz.”
So what are some of your favorites?