Endless Night Tips & Tricks (Spoilers!)

The Mabar, Endless Night Event is one of the best public events I’ve come across in DDO. I like it better than the Risia Ice Games.  Like most mini-games, its fun, a bit mindless but easy to learn and somewhat difficult to master.  Here are some tips and tricks about the Endless Night Event:

  • Where is it? Deleara’s Graveyard in House J
  • When is it? From October 27th, and ends on Halloween, October 31st
  • Read this first: Compendium’s Mabar Endless Night Festival Guide
  • If you are curious about Endless Night Collectables & Crafting, go to DDOWiki.com:
  • If you want to group. You can pretty much get Endless Night collectibles, crafting items, and Etheral keys without landing a killing blow or even doing damage. You randomly get them per kill your group does.
  • You can still SOLO and get decent drops! Just crowd around other players to get size able spwns.
  • As far as I can tell, If you use the Draught of Midnight, you have to do some damage to get a chance at some motes from the kill. Not cost effective for melees. Spell casters, don’t need to have the killing blow for a chance to get the motes. Trade ins from collectibles yields the most motes anyways.
  • Each mob type corresponds with a level. If you are above the mobs’ level by 4 levels, you will get nothing not even motes if you took the Draught of Midnight. To see which mob is your level visit the Compendium Endless Night Festival Guide
  • The number of spawns per area is dependent up on the number of players in the same local area (within visible range). The more players you have in the same area, the more spawns.
  • Its really best to be in a large group all at the same level - high level players will get nothing from low end mobs. Lower levels players will probably end up getting killed by the high end mobs.
  • Clerics are the rulers of Endless Night. Radiant Servant does 1d8 positive energy damage per level. My level 12 cleric/7 monk/1 fighter was doing around 290 damage with empowered healing & devotion item

Chamber of Summoning Tips

  • To open the summoning chamber you need to turn in collectibles. Talk to Joe Lantern to find out how many are needed.
  • Don’t bother turning in collectibles while the Chamber is resetting, you’ll get your motes, but you won’t contribute to the public raid.
  • You need a Etheral key to get into the Summoning Chamber. Keys drop randomly  as collectibles from mobs.
  • In the Summoning Chamber, there are 4 shrines. Players must protect each shrine from being destroyed shadow gargoyles and the Eternity, the spectral dragon
  • Above each summoning chamber, is a leaver nook. Players must keep the gem lit and shadow gargoyles occupied. You only need about 2 to 4 players here.
  • Wander around the first level to check and see how many players are in each of the leaver nooks and shrine rooms. Try to pick a spot that needs more people, this will balance out the areas insuring that none of the shrines is destroyed.
  • When the Spectral Dragon appears, kill it. Don’t forget to protect the shrine. Eternity will teleport to another shrine room and the players in that room must try and kill her too.
  • When the dragon dies your reward is a single spectral dragon scale. You can use this scale to craft upgrades for your Endless night uber item.

Myths About Endless Night Event

  • False: In a group, you need land a killing blow on the mob to get collectibles, crafting ingredients, and keys.
    • Like I said above, your group needs to kill the mob and you randomly get a collectible from the kill. If your soloing it, you need to do the majority of damage to the mob by the time it dies.
  • False: You get collectibles, crafting ingredients, and keys from any mob.
    • Your mob must be the same level as you or higher. If you are 4 levels above the mob, you will get nothing.  You will get a “This creature was too weak to give rewards” message.
  • False: Litch dust never drops.
    • Yes it does, be patient. Kill more litches.
The Silver Flame

Eberron Days: 25th of Sypheros

silverflame

Saint Valtros’s Day

Earth Day: October 25th
Location: Silver Flame Churches across Eberron

“I am a paladin of the Silver Flame. I am sworn to fight evil in all its forms. My sword is for the fiends and monsters that deserve neither reason nor mercy. But you are no monster, and you can still find redemption. Consider your actions. Think about those you have harmed. Seek out a minister and cleanse your soul. The true darkness is rising, and if we are to survive we must all find a path to the light. If you cannot . . . then perhaps you are a monster, after all.”

This day commemorates the birth of Saint Valtros, the first paladin called to serve the Silver Flame (as distinguished from those who had served other gods until they heard the voice of the Flame). Although important, this festival is perhaps the least of the high holy days; it is marked primarily by brief prayers and church services.

Monster Minute: Liches

Being a tech-head at a gaming party filled with writers and game designers sparks some interesting conversation. One discussion lead me to ask, “What exactly is a phylactery?” The Writers, being the knowable and vocal creatures, quickly perked with various answers. One thing lead to another and here I am today writing about Liches.

Liches in Real-World Mythology

KoscheiThe word Liche comes from the German word Leiche for “corpse”. In Roman Chatholicism, the world lychgate describes the covered area near the entrance to the cemetery, where the casket awaits the priest before a proper burial.

The idea of eluding death by arcane means and other black arts can be as early as the ancient Egyptians. But the most interesting folk lore is in Eastern Slavic fairy tales: a being called a Koschei is similar to that of a liche. A Koschei is an evil ugly man who evades death because his soul is stored in “the eye of a needle, which is inside of an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest, under a green oak tree on the island of Buyan in the middle of a vast ocean.”

phylacteryIn modern fantasy fiction, a Liche’s Phylactery contains its soul, but in the real world a phylactery is an amulet or talisman. Phylactery comes from ancient Greek word phylacterion meaning “to guard, protect.

In the Jewish tradition, men wear a phylactery or tefilla during their morning prayers. This type of phylactery is a small leather case containing biblical scrolls — in accordance with Deuteronomy 6:8.   In the early Christian Church, a phylactery was a receptacle containing a holy relic or a small mummified body part of a saint.

Liches in D&D

phylacteryThe lich is another classic D&D monster, first appearing in the Greyhawk campaign setting in 1975 where it was first described as a skeletal monster that was formally a magic user or cleric in life. Later editions saw the birth of lich subtypes such as the demilich, archlich, and even a good lich.

In all versions of D&D, their ecology remains consistent:  A lich was once a living mage who converted herself into a skeletal monster through necromantic rituals. The ritual results in the magician’s soul being stored in a phylactery. Destroying a lich’s body isn’t enough to stop this undead creature; her soul will return to the phylactery and its body reanimated by power of an unholy pact.

Liches in Eberron

phylacteryThe most famous lich in Eberron is Lady Vol, also known as Erandis d’Vol or more commonly as “The Lich Queen.”  She is the last heir of the House of Vol , the elfin house that bears the Mark of Death. Erandis was born to an elf mother and a dragon father, and was to be the embodiment of peace between the two warring races. Unfortunately, both elf and dragon forces formed a joint pact to destroy Erandis, seeing the unification as an abomination. The result destroyed the House of Vol, but in a desperate attempt to save her daughter, Erandis’ mother transformed Erandis into a lich and hid her from annihilation. Rumors say that Lady Vol is the secret ruler of both the religious cults The Blood of Vol and The Order of the Emerald Claw (so named after Erandis’ father The Emerald Claw).  It is said that The Lich Queen uses both cults as tools in her plans for revenge.

Eberron Days: 18th & 19th of Sypheros

The Fury

Wildnight

Earth Day: October 18th at sunset through the 19th at sunrise
Location: Eberron

The Fury, Daughter of Arawai and The Devourer, is portrayed as a half-elf, drow or a snakelike wyrm of Khyber. Her power reaches its  height  during the month of Sypheros. When the sun sets on Wildnight, emotions run high, and people find it difficult to restrain their natural impulses. The shy and the superstitious usually stay indoors on Wildnight and avoid public places. But many see the night as an excuse to cast aside their inhibitions. The streets fill with raucous revelry. From the depths of the Cogs to the highest towers of Central Plateau, wild celebrations last well into the night. But for all the joy and revelry, it is a dangerous time. Riots, brawls, and crimes of passion are all too common.

The Sovereign of Rage and Ruin, The Fury represents passion driven to extremes, seen in her conception at the rape of Arawai by her father The Devourer. A patron to any who let their passions drive their motivations, she watches over barbarians everywhere as well as artisans, craftsmen and bards. A number of intelligent monstrous races worship her as well.

Monster Minute: Abishai

Hi everyone! Back again with another monster minute! I hope you enjoy it.

Abishai in the Real-World Mythology
Abishai Saves King DavidIn my research the oldest reference I could find of Abishai isn’t a devil, as depicted in D&D monster manuals, but as Abishai, the eldest nephew of the Bibical King David. The name Abishai means “father of a gift”.

In the Bible passages 2 Sam 18:2, 5 and 12, Abishai was a military leader and commanded one of three divisions in King David’s army. In the battle against the Philistines, Abishai saves King David’s life by killing, Ishbibenob – a mighty giant-kin warrior who wielded a “spear weighing three hundred shekels of bronze” (That’s an 8 pound spear).

Abishai in D&D
Old School AbishaiAbishai were first presented to D&D in the 1st edition the Monster Manual II in 1983. Unlike the v3.0 Abishai, they were merely chromatic devils and depending upon their color, they wielded different weapons: Whites used flails, Reds used daggers, green used pole cleavers, blacks used tridents, and blue used halberds. They did not inflict elemental damage based on their color.

Today’s Abishai are a subgenus of Baatezu (mindless spawn of Baator) but were created by Tiamat (Queen mother of dragons and devils) & Pearza (Eighth Lord of the Nine Hells). They look like gargoyles or humanoid dragons and come in the chromatic colors of their 1st ed predecessors. They mostly serve as attendants of Tiamat, but also excel as scouts and tortures in the land of Nine Hells. Red Abishai are the most powerful, followed by blue, green, black, and white, in ranks.

Abishai in Eberron
DDO AbishaiThe Dragons of Eberron describe Tiamat as The Daughter of Khyber, and draconic god of greed and power. During the Age of Demons her power was formidable, but she was bound and imprisoned by the dragons and coautls in the Pit of Five Sorrows in Argonnessen. There she sleeps and continually births evil dragonspawn and often corrupting good dragons that guard her.

I can’t find any relationship between the Eberron incarnation of Tiamat and Abishai in the Eberron source material, so I can only speculate as to where Abishai lay in the scheme of things. Abishai in DDO are often summoned which implies that they are extra dimensional like other devils — Roderic Nettle summons one in the quest The Snitch. Another clue that Abishai that come from another plane is Anogoreth the Abishai (a Warrior of Shavarath?) is imprisoned beneath the Red Tree in the Red Fens -– a place tainted by Shavarath.

Regardless of where they come from, they display spell-like powers and are able to cast fireball, acid arrow, and magic missile.  I’ve even seen one try to sting with its tail and inflict its opponent with a deadly poison.  They are formidable foes, and who knows what their plans are for Xen’drik are.

Civilization V (or WTF? Ghandi is a Weirdo!)

  • Game:  Civilization V
  • Publisher: Firaxis Games
  • Developer: 2K Games
  • Release Date: September 21, 2010
  • Genre: Turn-based strategy game
  • Platform: Windows, PC

Civilization is a strategy game that’s been around for what feels like forever – I think Civ 1 came out in 1991 – that’s 19 years ago! So by now they must know a thing or two, right?  I could stop here if Civ 5 was perfect and just tell you to go play it, but that would make a dull video game review.

Rough Start

On my high end system, it runs great, but even then it had a rough start in DX10/DX11 mode. I had to tweak the config files (located in C:\Users\<USERNAME>\Documents\My Games\Sid Meier’s Civilization 5\GraphicsSettingsDX11.ini) to run in windows mode because the game would minimize after playing the intro movie. Just for good measure I made a short cut on my desktop to the DX11 version of the EXE and in the properties set “Run” to “Maximized”. Apparently, it doesn’t like to run full screen mode at 42” 1080i. It squeeks like a little school girl and says “It’s too big to play with!”

Just for good measure, I updated all my drivers, AND my DX files.

After tweaking video settings, drivers, etc and I quickly realized that I need to set “SkipIntroVideo = 1” in the UserSettings.ini – I really hate intro videos EVERY TIME I start a game. I really only need to see it once; maybe I want to see it on demand, but they don’t even give me that option in the menu

After doing all of this, the game still crashes in DX11 when you set the Map Size to Huge.  These are all performance issues, something all too common with games that are released today. I’m starting to think that games that work out of the box are a myth and that no developer house will ever put down “zero performance bugs” as a goal.

New Things I Like

Updated UI – I can easily find things and faster than I did in Civ4. Of course I said the same thing I did about Civ4 when compared to Civ3, so it could be experience vs UI design. Also a simple right-click of the mouse opens up the Civlopedia. Its transparent announcements free up my mind for more important processes, like combat or happiness management.

Different Combat – I wasn’t big on the Civ4 stacked combat system. No unit stacking combined with the hex map makes unit position feel important again.

Annoyances

Poor gamers get DX9 – game looks pretty sad in DX9. It’s good for laptops and such, but still…

No Alarm Clock – how am I supposed to know when I should stop playing Civ5 and go to bed now?

Unit cycling – it first focuses on the unit before selecting it. If you have another unit selected and, are in the middle of moving it (which sometimes happens when the game thinks you’re done with your turn), you will end up moving it to the wrong location. You can turn off auto end turn.

Saving in Multiplayer Games – Going to the main menu doesn’t let you manually save a multiplayer game. You can do ctrl-s and save that way, or you can increase the interval auto saved games.

Oddities

Ghandi is a Prick – I was just floored at the AI they had given him for diplomacy. The Civ 5 Ghandi is goading, belittling and just plain mean.

Summary

There are more notable differences, such as no religions or tech trading, but I’m okay with it because they are both represented in a different way in Civ 5. Religion is represented as a branch in Social Policies – which oddly feel like skill trees in an MMO. Tech trading has become Tech Research sharing, so long as you remain peaceful with your tech partner for X amount of turns. Honestly, I feel rather indifferent to these changes.

A lot of traditionalists really don’t like Civ 5, and many of their reviews say that it’s dummied-down or it’s too slow. But really what I’ve read so far is that those who love Civ 4 hate Civ 5, and those who hated Civ 4 love Civ 5. It just boils down to your personal preferences. To me the complexity between both versions feels the same, but each presents it differently. Depending upon who you are and how you think, one will be better for you play style.

Personally, I don’t like it when I have to hunt for information three layers deep into the UI or squint to read unit numbers, I’m getting too old for that kind of crap and have better things to do. Civ 5 fits my lifestyle, which is filled with work, other video games, and meat-space games. I get the meat of Civ 4 in Civ 5 without having to give up other things in order to finish a campaign.

I Love Gmail for iPhone & iPad

Why?

When your mobile device syncs with Gmail it uses IMAP or  Internet Message Access Protocol. Oh it can use POP too, but its primary advantage over POP is that you can be disconnected from the server and still work with your email, calendar, and contact list. You can also have connections from multiple devices – in my case an iPhone and iPad. You can even have 2 iPhones connected which is great for family account sharing. IMAP4, which is the version of IMAP that Gmail uses, is a protocol that supports both pre-defined system flags and client defined keywords – Gmail calls them “labels” great for sorting and prioritizing email messages, sorting calendar events, and creating groups for contacts. IMAP is also far more stable than POP – POP loves to lose messages or download messages more than once and insert them as duplicate messages in your Inbox.

The main reason why I love Gmail is because of my contact list. I use to lose my contacts on my mobile device a lot. With Gmail I can deep my friends, family, and work contacts all in one place. I can access the information on the iPad, iPhone and on the web. I can even create a contact on my iPhone and have it sync up to my Gmail contact list. Because I’m picky, I like to sync “manually” this means it only syncs when I have the Contacts app open – as oppose to 30 or 60 min push/pull updates.

As an added bonus, I can merge duplicate entries in my contact list in Gmail; a major time saving bonus when maintaining my contacts during the Christmas season.

How?

It’s just silly easy, first make sure that your Gmail account is set up for IMAP. While logged into your Gmail account go to Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP and Enable IMAP.

On your mobile device:

  1. Open the Settings app on your device
  2. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Tap Add Account…
  4. Tap Gmail
  5. Enter your account information, being sure to use your full Gmail address, including ‘@gmail.com’
  6. Tap Next
  7. Tap Save

And yes, Gmail works with Blackberries too. : P

We’re Back – And We’ve Got Game! Pathfinder that is…

So after PAX 2010, Sig and I took a bit of a break — mostly for work reasons.  And here is the fruits of our labors:

Advanced Feats

Sig & I are Kobold Minions #2 and #3 at Kobold Quarterly — mostly for packet stuffing and booth guarding. So this was our chance get our game on when Paizo announced the Advanced Player’s Guide for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Our excited kobold brains whirred with ideas for cool feats to customize your new Alchemist, Cavalier, Inquisitor, Oracle, Summoner, and Witch characters. We immediately got to work, and to date, we’ve launched the first two volumes in a monthly series of companion products for that book.

Secrets of the Alchemist The Witch's Brew

This is mostly Sig’s gig. I helped with promotion and in the second feats set and the forth-coming Summoner booklet, I’ve been working on graphics and layout.

The Secrets of the Alchemist gives you insight into the alchemist class and the tools to make an exciting character that is a “blast” to play.

Just in time for Halloween, we also have The Witch’s Brew, a cauldron full of feats and builds to create a witch character.

I would say if you like DDO, but not D&D 4e, Pathfinder is a pretty good table-top game for you.

Now that we’ve settled into swing of things, I hope to be playing more DDO! :) And of course I’m totally psyched about Update 7! So expect more Crunchy Bits, Monster Minutes, and a few new things from us soon ™. Promise!

Thanks all!

Quick Friday PAX News: Update 7

So the airwaves in the convention center is thick with net traffic, my poor cellphone was unable to get a decent connection.  But I am taking a lunch break in our hotel where the internetz is better!

  • Half Orcs! Complete with customized tusks and all. They are the beefcakes of DDO and have  broad shoulders, mutton chops, and mean looks
  • Half Elves! Baby-faced and anime-ish. CUTE!!  Also some new sorts of facial customizations, eye shadow (Yes, Rowanheal, I saw pink eyeshadow!)
  • New UI! Functional yet fashionable and RED!  Auction house now has a string search box to complement level and buy out filters!  Inventory has a tabbed categories and items are in a list format with names near the item icon.
  • New Adventure Pack level 12!  With a  new hub zone Lordsmarch off the Marketplace between the Twelve and Bank. Includes a Medusa Boss.
  • New Plane of Night in Game Event! That’s right Mabar the Endless Night is a blackened realm where the faintest spark of light is quickly devoured by the unending darkness is coming! Public combat out in Delera’s graveyard when the sky goes all purple.
  • New Level 6 raid (with epic version) from the marketplace, travel back in time to alternate stormreach history during devil invasion. Many old Stormreach locations under demon management. Multiple encounter areas and such, pretty cool looking.
  • New refinements for guild: size only based on “active” members rather than all in roster.