I've been a little quiet the last few days. The reason is some RL friends started DDO and I've made a character or four on the new DDO server to play with them and have been playing my little socks off. My main character is a Bard called Lemmy who has reached the giddy heights of level 9 already.
Yesterday after doing a couple of runs with a very experienced player from our new guild he suggested doing a raid. In a "try anything once" spirit we agreed although not without a certain amount of trepidation. I was only level 8 at the time, I'm still very much a newbie, my friend is even newer and we would be doing it in a random pickup group.
The raid we did is free-to-play content called Tempest Spine. There are a number of traps but we made do without a Rogue since there didn't seem to be one around. Our raid leader did stipulate 2 healers and one of the wizards claimed that wizards are important but otherwise we didn't seem bothered by what class anyone was.
We found 12 people fairly quickly and everyone ran to the instance with some alacrity. It felt like people were keen.
We zoned in to a volcanic wasteland with rivers of lava crossing the landscape in every direction. Dotted here and there were fire elementals, which are generally pretty dangerous in this game. We buffed everyone with Resist Fire, cast Haste, and then rushed like lemmings through this outdoor section to the safety (sic) of the giant stronghold we had come to assault.
We had set the difficulty to Normal and mobs seemed fairly underpowered as long as we could bring our full force to bear. They still hit pretty hard though and anyone who got too far ahead of the group was left as a sticky mess on the floor. Traps were lethal, getting hit by one was pretty much an insta-kill.
The general feel was of comedy, a slight Benny Hill madness to the gameplay. This was partly caused by the stop-start nature of the Haste spell. Periodically we would all gather up and wait for something but if someone cast Haste which is the most sought-after buff and doesn't last long people would charge off so as not to waste it.
I was one of the people who could cast Haste and it was great fun dropping it on the group like giving a wind-up clockwork toy a nudge and seeing it frantically rush to the edge of the table like a mechanical lemming.
The group was extraordinarily good-natured with people passing off dying with a laugh. There were some very funny deaths over the course of the evening.
At one point someone said trap and we stopped just in front of the trap. Now in any large crowd there's always someone who hates to be stuck at the back unable to see what's happening. So there we were stopped just in front of the trap and someone shuffles forward to get a better view and Wham! He's a stone in someone's backpack.
We had a genuine Leeroy moment where we stopped before the last boss to sort out which player would hold the three runes we needed for the fight. It turned out we had only picked up two of them, having forgotten one downstairs. One of our tanks, deciding that his haste buff was ticking down at an alarming rate and having turned Voice off jumped through the portal of death to confront the last boss. My inner lemming urged me forward and I took a few steps towards the portal but suddenly thought "hang on!" I looked around and no one else was going in. "Ah!" I thought. At this point our heroic soloist died and someone asked if he had gone in. Much merriment and shouts of "Leeroy!" ensued.
The last boss was hilarious. He seems to be modelled on that childhood game Atishyou, atishyou, we all fall down. He blows people all over the place and fights on a smallish platform surrounded by a very long drop. He always seemed to aggro on someone who would run around in panic so the random knockbacks were chaos incarnate. After getting blown off the first time I actually managed to keep my back to a wall for most of the next two attempts. I still got blown to a wall overlooking the fight but I was able to jump down and pass it off as though I'd meant it like some complex Jacky Chan-style manoeuvre. It does feel a bit like being a dandelion seed.
Despite various calamities, the rune we forgot took best part of 30 minutes to recover, my healer friend released out when he died once then had to run solo through the raid to find us, we did the raid once on Normal, twice on Hard and had an absolute blast.
Some tips for new people:
1) Stick with the group. Stick like glue. It's a very confusing layout for new people.
2) Try to learn the layout.
3) Don't jump when you're running across lava. You take damage every time you enter the lava. Bunny hoppers will be melted!
4) If your group is not disarming the traps you need to time your leaps across them well.
5) Don't get ahead of the group when charging into packs of monsters. If there's a Firewall stand in it and let them come to you (in fact try to block chokepoints as the monsters will try to get at the Wizards behind you).
6) One room consists of a fairly tough fight then a sudden wave of very quick rust monster adds. Do not melee them with your precious Shiny Axe of Leetitude! It's a very evil encounter!
7) Try to keep your back to a wall for the last boss. Even if melee move to a place where if you get blown away from the boss you will hit a wall not a 200 foot drop.
8) Gather for buffs.
9) Haste does not always mean Go!
Good luck and I hope you have as much fun as we did!