(or Opinion: How I would spend a Greater Wish on More Level 15 Quests)
In roughly 4.5 weeks, I took my DPS bard, Anastazie to level 20. This prompted me to search for the best quest XP per level. It was then my husband came up with a good question:
“What is the comparison between the total XP available for a given level, in the game, vs. the amount of XP needed to get to the next level?”
This is a fun question to answer but still tough. I want to answer this question because it will eventually lead to how you can make the most out of your XP when running quests.
And, oh yes, prepare yourself; this is a long one!
There are a few things that are important to remember about XP and Quests. For more information about gaining XP and Quests, visit the Experience Points page on DDO Wiki (http://ddowiki.com/page/Experience_points). To read this article, you will also need some basic math know-how, including ratios and fractions.
Let’s move on to a big picture on XP and quests - and how they relate to each other before we get into the How-To part.
What are Quests?
For the purpose of this article, I’ll be defining quests as individual adventures that groups of adventurers can participate in while playing DDO. A quest has an instance specifically generated for you and your party and can generate XP upon completion. Each quest has a base XP value, which can be modified in many different ways to increase or decrease the final amount of XP you get.
The amount of XP needed to Level
It is important to know how much XP you need in order to get to the next level. This is a strait up formula:
(Total XP for Next Level - Total XP for Current Level) = XP Needed for Next Level
How many quests are available to my level?
Next let’s take a look at what quests are available to you at your level. Here’s a quick break down of the number of quests per level (based on Normal difficulty). This includes raids, but excludes adventure area related quests (Explorers, Slayers, or Rare Encounters etc).
This graph doesn’t include quests you can “actually” or “absolutely” run, only quests that are rated for your level on the normal setting. You can always run quests at above or below your level. Here are some simple points to remember about how the XP on quests works with respects to character level:
- Quest XP will not be adjusted if
- If your character is one level below the rated quest level
- If your character is equal to the rated quest level
- If your character is one level above the rated quest level
- Quest XP will be reduced if you are two or more levels above the quest:
- +2 levels = -10% penalty on XP
- +3 levels = -25%
- +4 levels = -50%
- +5 levels = -75%
- +6 levels = -99%
- +7 levels or more = Zero XP regardless of bonuses
- Difficulty rating of a quest adjusts the base Level of the Quest
- Solo difficulty does not affect the level
- Casual difficulty subtracts 1 level from the quest’s level (if possible)
- Hard difficulty adds 1 level
- Elite adds 2 levels
- Epic is intended for level 20 characters only, and sets the quest to Level 20
Akin to those posh gated communities with animal topiaries and overpaid checkpoint guards that bar people based on income level, quest areas also prevent entry based on your current level. Knowing when you can access the quests is just as important when getting the most out of Quest XP. The minimum level per quest is rather inconsistent (almost arbitrarily defined) and each quest, quest set, and quest area has its own barriers. Furthermore, many of the quest access points (such as in NPC dialogs) won’t tell you what level you have to be to access the quest. There is a general unspoken rule as to when you can accept a quest: at 4 levels below the quest’s rated level you can “get the quest” and have it show up in your quest log. If you are in a party with someone who already has access the quest you can enter that quest once it’s been opened, regardless of you “having” the quest or not.
What counts as Total XP available for a given level?
I’ve always found it good to know what’s available out there for gaining XP when it comes to quests. How much XP is out there is waiting to be gained? The absolute total potential XP would be rather hard to come up with, so I decided to limit the XP to Quests only - not adventure areas. I also wanted a number that was consistent, so I took the Base XP for each quest. This doesn’t include optional XP, the 10% bonus for not dying, nor 10% for no re-entry. I’m also counting the base XP on a Normal difficulty for a given quest. So I came up with the Sum of the Base XP from All Quests, at Normal Difficulty, for a Given Level as my base line. Hence forth, I shall call this Total Available Quest XP (for a given level).
Total Available Quest XP :: XP Needed for Next Level
As with most MMORPGs, there is grinding involved when trying to gain XP. The best way to illustrate this is through the magnitude of quantities for these two XP amounts relative to each other. For those of you not math inclined let me put this in a different way: I want to understand how many times I would have to run all the quests rated for a given level in order to get to the next level. For example, say there are 5 quests and the Total Available Quest XP for those quests is 4,000 XP. Say I’m level 1 and I need 5,000 XP in order to get to level 2. I would need to run all the quests 1.2 times before I get to level 2.
So how many times do I have to complete all the quests available to me to get to the next level?
Based on the parameters above, here is a table and a graph showing how many times a character would have to repeat all the quests rated for their level.
You can get a picture of how difficult it is to get XP from quests at certain levels and how easy it is at other levels. As you can see, since the XP required at low levels is small, the number of times to run all the quests rated at your level is low. At higher levels the quests don’t yield as nearly as much XP for what you need, so you must run them more often. At level 15, there is a quest dry-spell for that specific level, so if you were limited to only running level 15 quests, you would have to run all of them nearly nine times! This is because there’s only 3 quests total in the game rated at level 15.
Exceptions for the Occasion
I should point out some obvious points that may work against my analysis above. These aren’t hard and fast numbers. Simply, put I haven’t included all the factors that would contribute or deter XP gaining.
- Absolute Total Potential XP should also include the following sources of XP listed below, but to simplify things I have only included Base XP from Quests only.
- XP Bonuses from equipment, potions, server wide effects (Bonus XP weekends)
- Quest XP Bonuses: ransack, no deaths, no re-entry, vandal, first time, etc
- XP gained from Adventure Areas
- XP gained from optional inside of Quests
- XP loss from being power leveled
- XP gained from completing quests rated above your level.
- I haven’t included Degrading XP Values for Quests. The mechanic for running quests multiple times works like this
- For the first time you complete a quest you get a 10% completion bonus
- For the 2nd and 3rd times you complete the quest you get neither a bonus nor penalty
- For each following quest completion, you are deducted 10% per repeat from the base XP of the quest.
- I haven’t included any bonus XP based on quest difficulty level other than Normal.
Making the Most of XP from Quests
Here is the part you were waiting for! What are some good things to remember when running quests and your goal is XP. I’ll start with general tips:
For All Levels
- Run quests rated at your level or above.
- The first time you run a quest:
- Run it on Elite because completing a quest for the first time on Elite difficulty grants a +50% bonus.
- Be obsessive compulsive for stacking bonus XP
- Kill all monsters for Conquest bonus, this will give you an additional +25%
- Disarm all the traps for Ingenious Debilitation bonus of +15%
- Find all the secret doors and get a +15% Vigilant Sight bonus
- Destroy everything breakable for a +15 Ransack bonus
- Don’t die or let anyone in your party die and you can get a +10% Flawless Victory Bonus
- If anyone in your parties doesn’t’ re-enter the quest, you can get a +10% Persistence bonus
- Don’t leave the quest before it’s completed. If you yourself reenter, you get a -20% penalty each time, for a maximum deduction of -90%.
- Make sure that you are no more than 3 levels lower than your highest level party member. More than that, you will get a -50% penalty.
- Have a friend unlock the quest for Elite. For maximum XP return, run it on Elite three times, then once on normal and once on hard.
- Run with a group. Running quests on elite takes some expertise, and often you can’t solo it. Get into a questing party, afterall that’s what D&D is about.
What Quest Gives the Best XP Based on Level?
Combo the following quests with the basic rules above and you can get some phat XP.
Prepare yourself for a grind at Levels 13 and up
Due to scarcity of quests, difficulty of quests, and minimum level restrictions for certain quest areas (level 12 for Vale, level 13 Rever’s Refuge, level 15 for Amrath, level 16 for Inspired Quarter), you’re pretty much stuck with repeating quests. Levels 13 and 14 can be a pain point because you can’t get into Amrath yet. You can access the Reaver’s Refuge quests at 13 and the Vale at level 12, but these areas have quests rated for level 16-18 and are pretty tough if you’re in a group that doesn’t know what they’re doing. Given those odds, you’re stuck doing Gianthold quests repeatedly. At Level 15, you encounter an XP wall because you can’t quest effectively in Amrath without a group or specialized gear (metalline, pure good, silver, etc weapons to bypass DR of devils and demons). Your best option is to start raiding. Raids provide the best XP at these levels; in fact the quest with the most XP in the game is The Twilight Forge (Titan pre-raid) at a whopping 12,100 XP, which is a level 11 quest. Even if you are raiding, don’t be surprised to see yourself repeating certain quests or raids to reach your next level
So I’ve just given you a big brain-dump of how to make the most of XP from quests. If you aware of how much XP you need for your next level, what quests are available at your XP-disposal, when you can access those quests, and the various XP bonuses and penalties, you can make educated decisions on what quests to run, and how to run them, to maximize XP gain. One factor in quest XP I haven’t mentioned, is the amount of time it takes to run a quest given the amount of XP to be gained - this is a topic I’ll save for a later date since time is rather subjective and dependent upon the player’s knowledge of the quest. Also, don’t forget that you’re gonna have to grind at higher levels for XP, and perhaps the best way to lessen that “grindy” feeling focus on something else while running quests - such as perfecting your equipment through looting or crafting
PS: Soap-Box - More Level 15 Quests Please!
3 quests rated at level 15! Granted I could run level 13 and 14 quests at hard and elite, but you’re asking me to grind out those quests again. I could attempt level 16 and 17 quests, but at my own risk since even on casual some quests are still tricky. Quests are the bread and butter of D&D, don’t be skimpy with them even at high levels.
Footnote: to view graphs and tables, just click on the image to make bigger.