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 say that there are a gob-ton of quests and quest chains here, so it’s time to pick one and get to nibblin’ away at it. Since the first quest led me to the Netherese Legacy chain, so be it, I’ll help these helpless Harpers recover an important scroll lost by one of their trainees.
As I pick up “Detour,” I have to ask the question — does poking fun at an escort mission make said mission any less of a nuisance to bear? Actually, it’s not that bad. The escortee defends himself (and cannot die), so the result is a straight-forward, if lengthy, twisty windy run through the woods and a number of ambushes.
I rather liked “Rest Stop’s” locale, which was a partially crumbled castle which serves as a camping spot for adventurers. In the opening part, there are plenty of friendly NPCs to talk with, but after unlocking a secret fireplace, I got to explore the dangerous rest of the place and get another part of the scroll. I thought it was cool that in several places where there wasn’t a roof, you could see the stars and hear the insects.
During this quest, I achieved a personal first in the game — my first level 20. Epic levels, here I come! I went with Exalted Angel for the extra spell points, super-jump power (always could use more jump in this game!), and extra survivability.
“Lost in the Swamp” took me through an incredibly gloomy — and very dangerous — swamp area to track down a medusa and get her fragment of the scroll. I took this at hard difficulty, so I was slogging it out through CR23 mobs all the way. My kingdom for a self-rez, is all I’m saying.
To get the next piece of the scroll, I ventured out to a small abandoned town for “A Stay at the Inn.” I cleared out the inn, tavern, and barn of some sellswords also looking for the piece — and found out that the innkeeper was a bit of a dirty traitor who needed putting down.
“The End of the Road” takes me to the final part of this lengthy quest chain — an assault upon the Netherese keep itself. And hey, even though I worked really hard to get all the scroll pieces, they get them back anyway and open a portal to allow some giant demon through. That feels like a kick in the pants.
But one big ‘ol boss fight later, and I get back the scroll, save the day, and finish out the chain. Huzzah for me… and for loot that I can’t use until I’m level 23.
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