Posted in Dungeons & Dragons Online

DDO: Serene Cerulean Hills

For this past week’s DDO group outing, we decided to change up our normal routine of non-stop dungeon runs with a romp through an early wilderness area — Cerulean Hills. This place continues to be one of my favorite zones in the game, moreso for its nighttime atmosphere. How can a game that came out in 2006 still be this pretty? I guess skyboxes are an easy way to impress me.

As the group took off at a sprint toward various explorer objectives, I found myself distracted by nighttime butterflies. Pretty! But sinister too. What are they up to? Why are they fluttering about at night?

One of the benefits of running with a very experienced group of players is that they know exactly where to go and the most efficient way to get there. It’s kind of nice to slightly shut off that part of my brain that worries about pathfinding and simply enjoy the sights, engage in action, and heal when needed.

The joke was that I was a good luck charm that week, as we bumped into six out of the seven rares that had a possibility of popping up in this wilderness zone. Mostly we were dashing between points, swinging our weapons wildly and hoping that they’d connect. Combat in DDO can go so fast and feel so loose sometimes. It would be a much different game if it was tab-targeted, that’s for sure.

I’d like to think that this gargoyle went on to live a good life full of public service and charity.

Obligatory Group Is Awesome shot. I told them that if I was tipped enough, I would prominently feature that person and give him or her a heroic account. Nobody did this week, so they’re all chumps that stumbled over their own shoes and rolled ones on everything.

We did take time to do the two quests that branched off of Cerulean Hills. First up was Nash’s farm, which we attempted at Reaper 3. That wasn’t impossible, but it did cause a few deaths and very cautious advancement. It’s pretty interesting how jiggering with the difficulty slider can turn lightning-fast runs into slow dungeon crawls. I like the slower pace, actually.

We also had to make strategic use of our shrines, as you can only use each once during an adventure. Since last time, we had all leveled up to 5, which meant that I got a new tier of spells. This meant that I finally got a second healing spell (a HoT) and became slightly more useful. I did have to ration my spell points carefully during these runs, since Reaper difficulties reduce healing power. Sometimes I just had to let people hang with some injuries that I judged weren’t life-threatening because I didn’t want to blow through all of my spell points and be left dry without a shrine.

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