SPOILER! SPOILER! Isle of Dread: a review

Micki's Delirium

In this blog I will be talking about the quests in this expansion, so stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers. You’ve been warned.

NOTE: This blog is split in pages for easier reading, so do click on the numbers below to switch page.

Update 55: Isle of Dread was out June 22, 2022 and I’ve now finally had a chance to run through the quests a couple of times. The quests can be completed in any order, but unless you have the Isle of Dread Treasure Map – teleport clicky, you do need to run Captive of the Hidden God to access Isle of Dread. At the time of writing this, using the clicky takes you to the Village of Tanaroa if you’ve run the quest or not. I can’t say if this is intentional or will change in the future.

Like I did with Feywild, for the…

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DDO: The Darkening

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With the rest of Eveningstar quests out of the way, it’s time to return to the Menace of the Underdark storyline. This takes place in three quest chains, so I’m digging into the first one — The Darkening. Apparently the Drow have been streaming up from underground to be more aggressive, and in “Impossible Demands,” they’ve taken a farmstead hostage. I head in to investigate.

This is a supremely clever quest. So the Drow priestess here reveals that she can kill and drain hostages of their life force to heal herself, then she starts pathing around the farmhouse. You can see her on the radar, so the quest is to make sure she isn’t near, then run into a room, defeat the bad guys, tag the hostages, and get out without her rushing in to kill everyone. Once all 10 were pulled out of there — and yes, I got…

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DDO: Eveningstar odds & ends

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I’m taking a couple of weeks off of quest chains in DDO to work on the four heroic stand-alone missions in Eveningstar. I kicked it off with “Search and Rescue,” a, erm, search and rescue of five lost friends inside some tomb or another.

The DDO wiki page on this quest warns that it’s tougher than it should be at this level, and boy is that right. There are a lot of intense encounters in here with mephits, undead, and… kobolds? Well, they’re all worshiping some big ol’ red dragon in the way back, so they have backup. I didn’t have time to do the optional side quest here, unfortunately.

In “Mask of Deception,” I had to infiltrate a cult compound to steal their super-duper special mask (which ends up being a fake anyway, spoiler). Now, of course the devs want you to stealth in using a cultist’s mask, but…

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DDO: The Secret of the Storm Horns

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This week I kicked off the five-part Storm Horns quest series, starting with “The Tracker’s Trap.” Up in the mountainous Storm Horns, I find a Harper who’s spying on some Netherese activity up there. He gets kidnapped and I go on the chase.

I felt this quest was notable for fighting some Gnolls — an enemy type I haven’t seen much of before. The hyena-men look suitably vicious.

And I even got to kill a pseudodragon, the end boss’ familiar! Little dude went down like a chump.

The Netherese are trying to supply monsters with weapons (or vice-versa, wasn’t paying that close attention), and I’ve got to put an end to that nonsense. In “Lines of Supply,” DDO gets absolutely nuts with a different quest mode. There’s a valley through which nine or so supply lines move through — and I’ve got to kill them before they get all the…

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DDO: Song of Druid’s Deep

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It’s time for a new Forgotten Realms quest series! Next up is the four-parter Song of Druid’s Deep. This one starts with a strange outbreak sweeping through a local hospital.

In “Outbreak,” I investigated the healing center and found it infested with leafy growth and green zombies. This quest proved incredibly tough, with CR26 bosses giving me a run for my money. I think I may have accidentally put this on epic rather than heroic mode, eh?

The worst part was when one boss struck me with a four-and-a-half-minute weakness affliction, during which I couldn’t fire my crossbow, use any spells, or drink any potions. All I could do was run and outwait the timer while mobs whittled down my health. It was a close thing, but at 26 health and zero seconds remaining, I popped back to full strength, healed myself, and got to revengin’.

Moving on to “Overgrowth,” 

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DDO: Disciples of Shadow

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For this week’s quest pack, I’m going with Disciples of Shadow, a trilogy of adventures around Shar worshippers in the region.

The first quest, “Disciples of Shar,” sends me on an infiltration mission to a nearby cave infested with Shar worshippers. And when I say “infiltration,” I mean “go Terminator on every last one of them and give no quarter.” The cave itself is rather drab and not terribly photogenic, I’m afraid. Lots of levers and doors and more levers and more doors.

Taking all of the Shar prisoners from the previous mission, “Escape Plan” asks me to guard them from an ambush while a prisoner convoy is camping for the night. No problem.

The first part of this is perfect for my build — I could just stand in one place and pivot to gun down all of the lizardfolk rushing in. They try to rescue the prisoners, but…

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DDO: The Netherese Legacy

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After a long, long journey, I’ve arrived at Menace of the Underdark’s Forgotten Realms, which is visually a break from Eberron (and Ravenloft and Feywild). Very old-school, pretty landscape fantasy stuff.

This is neither here nor there, but DDO’s maps drive me nuts. They really are the worst, because the minimap is too small to be useful, so you’ve got to keep the square map open at all times. But for that to be useful, you have to reduce its size to function as a pseudo-minimap… which means that you don’t have a large-sized map for quick access to show you the whole zone you’re in. So it’s a constant trade-off — either you’re always flipping that map on and off to get a bigger view, or you’re always resizing it. I don’t know if I’m explaining it right, but it’s much worse than it is in LOTRO.

I will…

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DDO: Don’t menace my underdark while in the hood

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With Fables of the Feywild done, I thought I’d go back and work through the game’s very first expansion, Menace of the Underdark. We’re time traveling back to 2012 for this, friends!

I started with “Lords of Dust,” which tasked me with infiltrating a cultist lair. At level 18 elite difficulty, this was a whole lot more challenging than what I’d been doing in the last few weeks. Lots of white-knuckle battles and a few incredibly deadly traps made for slow going. But I persevered and beat a series of bosses to finish it — even though the cult succeeded in opening up a portal to Khyber, wherever that is. Probably nowhere good. I like how the quest ended with earthquakes and rumbling going on as you exit.

Photogenic screenshot moment!

“Servants of the Overlord” sends me on a journey spiraling deeper and deeper underground to find the lair of…

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DDO: Off on a wild hunt (or two)

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Since I was already in the neighborhood of the Feywild, DDOCentral recommended that I pop over to the Court of the Wild Hunt to do the two new quests that came with Update 53. Why not? Gotta do them all at some point!

“Through the Tulgey Wood” sends me on my first hunt — to track down Hyrsam’s owl advisor. Said owl lies in the middle of a maze of hedgerows that can only be gradually unlocked by finding various levers and jumping through a series of portals. DDO really, really, really likes its levers. You’ll be clicking on more levers in this game than killing, sometimes.

To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of what was a quest clearly designed to waste my time through this method. I never had to resort to a map, so I guess that’s a good sign, but it’s the very definition of tedious.

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DDO: Feywild mop-up on aisle 20!

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With the main Fables of the Feywild storyline done — way to go, me — I wanted to mop up the remaining random quests scattered about the somewhat small countryside. First up is “Combating Corruption,” where I agreed to help a faerie by finding the corrupting force deep in the roots of a great tree.

I’d forgotten what it was like to run a “short” dungeon in this game — it’s kind of refreshing, honestly! Just run through a bunch of oversized tree roots, smash orbs, and melt packs of mobs down with arcane tempest. Good times. And hey, I actually got a really great cloak out of this quest which adds some extra hit points and seals me from any magical effect that would have otherwise insta-killed me.

Next up was “The Legend of the Lost Locket,” which sent me into an underwater grotto. With a permanent air bubble…

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