Now this place I remember. I’m pretty sure I’ve done this before for the site. Or have I done it in my off-time on my own? In any event, the Keep on the Borderlands adventure series in Dungeons and Dragons Online was absolutely a place I’ve been in before. Not that I minded the return trip, of course.
In any event, it had been long enough since I’d visited this place that it kind of felt new to me in a couple of ways regardless. Particularly the fact that I decided to follow the quest chain that was here, though that was mostly guiding me through the different NPCs that were going to hand out quests to me anyway, so whether I spoke with one person or the other first, it didn’t seem to matter much.
Once again the DDO sensations I discussed last week stretched forth, with the MMORPG introducing me to all of the tabletop delight I was missing before and the strangely comforting Standing Stone wonkiness inherent in the combat. Only this time I recalled that there was a mouselook button, which added just a bit more flavor to my combat. Or at least made using the soft lock targeting system already inherent in fighting easier to manage.
This decision to move to what amounts to an active combat model ended up being another breath of fresh air that reinvigorated the way fighting in DDO felt on a mechanical level. As much as I enjoy tab-target combat, I do find more active combat to be a good time as well, but more often than not that combat model lends itself to an absolutely wild pace. Here in DDO, however, the active combat model was a bit more leisurely and therefore much more fun to get in to. Sure it’s not as flashy as some other examples, but much like mouselook mode made STO’s ground combat tolerable, the mouselook method in DDO recharged fighting for me.
This is a good thing because I’m pretty sure my Cleric is unstoppable at this venture. That likely was helped along by the fact that I was one level above the Borderlands quest chain, but it still felt good, and I also didn’t feel so overleveled that I wasn’t getting rewarded for my time there with loot and XP.
As for the quests themselves, I did sort of find myself plucking at bits and pieces of quest text this time around instead of reading through every line of NPC dialogue. That wasn’t really because I was bored so much as I felt confident that the DM voiceover work would fill in a lot of the contextual blanks for me, and that was mostly the case. I did kind of miss out on some of the finer details on what I was doing and why though, so I’ll probably not be blitzing past dialogue again.
What I did do, however, was blitz my way in to my next level, which further opened up more steps along the skill tree and a whole lot of character decision making to do in terms of stat and feat selection. Once again I managed to keep myself from getting overwhelmed by absolutely taking as much time as possible to read all of the tooltips, compare it against the tree choices I’ve made, and conclude what decisions would be best for my stout little Dwarf lady.
One of our commenters mentioned before that following the Warpriest tree was a good move, which seems to have been right since I was doing that just on instinct anyway. Combining those tree choices with some feats that further improve my combat ability while I hold a long sword has seen my Cleric become less like some holy healer and more like a holy fighter that can maybe help folks out once in a while with a healing cast. Primarily, a lot of my choices seem to be about self-preservation though, with Turn Undead getting some buffing, a Protection from Evil spell that I think is helping in some cases, and a new single-target ranged spell that at least gets a first hit in before I rumble my way into melee range.
Of course, this was all making an impact because I was a level 2 character in a level 1 quest, so once I made it to level 3, I decided to do a quick bit of envelope pushing and try out a level 4 quest in the Market. This one involved my protecting a couple of NPCs while waves of enemies rushed in, and once again I felt I was pretty unstoppable even in the face of some… period-appropriate AI pathfinding weirdness, we’ll say. I also had to toss out a couple of begrudging heals to ensure my charges wouldn’t fall over, but by and large I’m feeling confident enough that the envelope can be pushed.
I have to admit that so many feats, stat tweaks, and tree choices were going to result in my character feeling incrementally powerful, but all things considered, each enhancement point and full level does feel like an actual step forward in power. I also think I’ve gotten a couple of lucky loot rolls from some of the quest treasure chests, but this little battle priestess has been shaping up nicely in the early going.
With that in mind, it’s looking like options for where to go next have opened up a fair bit for me. Now that I generally think that I can take on a little bit more challenge, and have some things to maybe circle back to, this week’s poll choices have opened up a bit. Yes, I’m effectively asking the same question as last time (and likely will again), but I like to think the amount of choices in this round of polling will make up for that. Plus, it’s just nice to feel so free-wheeling and open!
Which area should my Cleric head to next in DDO?
- The Market. Fight back against the Syndicate. (10%, 11 Votes)
- The Harbor. May as well polish this off before it's beneath you. (22%, 24 Votes)
- Saltmarsh. Go swampin'. (37%, 40 Votes)
- Tangleroot Gorge. Visit the forest. (9%, 10 Votes)
- The Borderlands wilderness. Carve a path through the open map. (21%, 23 Votes)
Total Voters: 108
As usual, polling wraps up at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 12th. And once again, I’m going to have to agonizingly sit on my hands and wait to see how polling shakes down before I get my paws on this MMORPG again; while I wish I could do things with more people, I am legitimately having a blast with this one so far and can’t wait to dive back in.