Monday, February 23, 2009

General Hints

  • Simple bribery is the trick to entering the Marketplace prior to earning your writ (via running the first half of Waterworks). Talk to Captain Killmarten and offer him, say, 20 gold and he'll let you through the gate.
  • Hit the enter key to skip the video that plays while zoning onto a server. Once you have the little silver barbells, hitting the enter key on your keyboard (not the number pad) will mysteriously evade the video viewing.
  • To be continued...

The Shopper's Connection: The Brokers, The Vendors and You...

[The following paragraph is to be read in an old lady voice, please...]

When I was new to DDO, things were a lot different. We had to walk to quests through the ... wait ... the snow is new... oh...I remember what I was gonna tell you about, there was this big tent with NPC (non-player characters) hanging out selling all sorts of stuff. It had all these crazy levels and trying to find who sold what you wanted could be a bit frustrating, especially for casters. These days, it can still be confusing but it's much better. Why, I remember wondering why some o' those guys only bought the kind of stuff they sold and others bought everything...

[You may now axe the old lady voice for the rest of this post.]

Trapizia: Yeah, I remember you wasting a lot of my plat in those days and missing out on some good purchases due to your ... uh ... ignorance...
Player: Boy did I ever. And, I must have noticed that some were called brokers and other vendors. I just never made the connection and it was quite awhile before anyone told me.

Personally, I don't miss the tent. I found it rather tedious climbing all the levels and then losing my place and leaving via the wrong door. So, consider yourself lucky that the tent blew up and the vendors and brokers relocated to the Rusty Nail. I know the devs have talked about moving them someday, but I really hope they keep it simple when they do. I love that I can heal up and reset my clickies and skills while selling and shopping.

First, the difference between a broker and a vendor:
  • Brokers buy and sell a limited type of equipment. Their inventory comes from their purchases and nothing else. They tend to pay more for items and carry unusual things you won't find on vendors. They don't sell pots, scrolls, wands, or other consumables. Brokers do buy bound items but don't resell them. Brokers also only repair they type of item they sell (of any value).
  • Vendors sell what they sell and will buy anything that can be sold. What is sold to them is gone forever once it's left your buyback. I'm not sure where they get their inventory, but it's consistent and they never run out of anything. My guess is it has something to do with the Coinlords. These guys (and bartenders/tervernkeeps/etc.) will repair anything.
Second, where can you find them?

Let's start with vendors:
  • Dex Boon (any relation to Daniel?) in Korthos Village sells general lowbie items like heal pots, thieves' tools, arrows, bolts, throwing hammers and daggers (Roko wants me to add "no shurikens...grrrrr!"), and spell components.
  • Ves the Peddler can be found way out on Korthos Island near the quest giver for Misery's Peak. He sells the same stuff as Dex. Roko: Funny....I don't see a bike around here...oooh....I want a bike... Player: *rolls eyes*
  • Elspeth Wright is one of the first NPCs you'll see as you leave the boat in Stormreach. She's another general vendor and sells (you guessed it) the same stuff as Dex and Ves. She also sells sets of 3 rusty thieve's tools, which give a minus to your disabling skills.
  • Inside the Hammer and Chain in the Harbor, you'll find folks selling armor and weapons, including quivers. Roko: Finally! Shurikens!
  • Dagoward's Apothocary in the Harbor sells spell components, spell inscription materials (only needed by wizards), and a nice variety of potions (aka pots). Truffle: Please note that Repair Potions are for Warforged healing, not for repairing your equipment ... yes, she thought that's what they were for at first...let me tell you...they don't fix anything and taste horrid to us fleshies!
  • The Rusty Nail in the Marketplace is home to several vendors (yes, home. are they ever not there?). What they sell is pretty much self-explanatory. As you may have noticed in the apothocary, reagent vendors sell stuff for casters.
  • The Black Loch has 3 vendors (Hawk, Aycyntha and Philippe). General directions to them can be found in the brokers section. They're nice if you're using that entrance to Three Barrell Cove, but I wouldn't run out just to shop at the vendors.
  • Liquid Charm in House K sells spell spell components (level 1-5) and potions, including cure serious pots.
  • The House of Wizardry in House J sells divine scrolls (levels 3-7), arcane scrolls (levels 4-5), divine enhancement pots, and some nice wands (including cure and repair serious wands).
  • Feather's Fall Apothecary in House J is the place to go for level 1-8 spell components. They also carry a nice selection of pots.
  • Dragon Tooth Arms in House D sells +1 weapons and ordinary quivers.dw
  • The Lion's Head Armory in House D sells +1 armor.
  • Vestrii's Arms in House P carries a nice line of magically enhanced weapons that will help you hit better.
  • The Erstwhile Emporium in House P is home to Drudori Alzander, a general vendor who sells spell components; inscription materials; medium collictable, gem and ingredients bags; and some other general items. While there, you might also want to get to know Rekard Sorl, who is an expert at repairing accesories. He claims his repair jobs are top quality, so you won't have to worry about items coming back from his shop with permanent damage.
  • Object Desire in House P sells spell enhancement potions, level 3 scrolls, and level 6-7 wands.
  • There are also vendors in the Desert, Necropolis, Gianthold and Meridia. I won't go into detail on them other than to say that the general vendor in Gianthold carries most types of spell components.
  • You'll also see some favor vendors around (such as Sorville Smythe the Free Agent Vendor). You need to gain favor with that vendor's house in order to purchase from them. Favor sounds like a good topic for another post.
Now for Brokers:
  • The Rusty Nail in the Marketplace has the largest number and variety of brokers and vendors. Take a few minutes to check them out.
  • Not far from the ship on which you sailed to Stormreach from Korthos, is another ship. Nadine Shipton will invite you aboard the ship that will take you to the Black Loch. The brokers you find here are the only ones you can get to without either earning or bribing entry to the Marketplace. They're a bit tedious to get to and don't tend to have much. However, if you're looking for something specific or going there anyway, they just might have what you need. Make your way to the yellow dots on the map (you don't want me to spell everything out for you, do you?). Here you will fine weapon, jewelry, clothing and armor brokers. They don't seem to have a level limit as to what they buy or sell. When you're done shopping, make your way back to the ship and Nadine will get you back to Stormreach.
  • Fare Trades in House D carries level 4 and higher weapons with a value starting at 17,000gp.
  • Second Gauntlet Goods in House K buys and sells armor with a value of 8,000gp and up that can be used starting at level 4.
Happy shopping (uh....hunting, for you guys)!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Looting Korthos Village

There are some really cool end rewards in the new player experience we call Korthos. Today, I'll run through some of my favorite and not so favorite ones you'll be offered in the village. Since I want this to be fun, I think I'll start by having my toons share their fave items...

Carrokosan: Since I've just been re-rolled (again....sigh), I'll start. My absolute favorite of the Korthos village end rewards would have to be the Bracers of Assistance. When you have them on and click on their icon on your hotbar, they cast Aid on you. This lasts for a couple of minutes. What it does is give you extra hit points. I don't know how it's figured, but I get +11 at lower levels and more at higher levels.
Player: It's 8 + 1 per caster level (max level 10) temporary hit points, but that kind of talk makes my head start to spin, so suffice it to say you get extra hp. It's 1 charge per day (per rest) and lasts 3 minutes per hit.
Carliee: Aid also gives you +1 morale bonuses on attack rolls and saves against fear. It's offered by Baldar the Bold in appreciation for protecting the crystal in the quest The Cannith Crystal.
Carrokosan: Extra help with attacks and not getting feared is a good thing. I tend to forget about the effects that aren't right in front of my face, don't I? Oh, well. What's your fave, Carliee?
Carliee: I like those bracers, too, but since I'm a bit squishy and can actually mem (memorize/take) Aid as one of my spells, I'm going to pick the belt that gives lesser false life. That's an extra 5 hitpoints as long as you're wearing clicking necessary.
Roko: That's a good one, too. And, it's the Rugged Belt that is offered by Linus Weir for completing The Storehouse's Secret. I don't even remember what else he offers 'cause I wouldn't think of taking anything else.

The other village end rewards are, in my opinion, not so great. There are other bracers, which give protection agains certain types of hits and the Amulet of Inner Focus given for completing Heyton's Rest is ok and probably helps out in those first quests, but is quickly replaced once you get to the island. The other necklace she offers doesn't really do anything for me. That said, I do know fine players who choose these other items. These are simply my recommendations.

Roko: Personally, I really like having 3 sets of those bracers...

Most of what drops inside the quests is typical and it's value lies more in what kind of toon you're playing and your style of play. Of course, it's always nice to get a pot that will heal you up a bit.

Happy looting!

Monday, February 16, 2009

No Place Settings in Stormreach

This blog has been suffering from a +1 loot/25% extra XP weekend, but I'm back from all the fun now. wasn't just that. My last post was a lot of work and so I took a little break. I'm hearing good thngs about this blog, though, so I'm back at it.

Today, I thought I'd address a little lighter topic...etiquette. Now, I'm no Miss Manners and I make my share of etiquettal* blunders. And if Miss Manners were to visit Stormreach on one of it's better days, she'd probably keel over and die, but some amount of decorum really does need to be observed. Since she's a Queen, I've invited Carliee to help with this post...

Carliee: Where to start...where to start...oh, I know...we've been talking about finding folks to play with, so let's begin with blind invites...

In the pic to the right, intermixed with the amusing chatter of my guildmates (me giving up chocolate and getting my nails done ... unlikely!), is the same person inviting me to quest with them 4 times! Not only was this person persistant, but these were also what we call blind invites. What that means is that a box popped up in the middle of my screen inviting me to join a party when no tell had been sent (or responded to). To make things even worse, she never responded to my tell regarding her invites and sent another blind invite a few minutes later.

To begin with, blind invites are simply rude. I don't want one blind invite and 6 from the same person is obnoxious. The only ones I accept are from guildies. Those are usually when I first log on and it's called being ninja'd. They are a compliment and they won't get me killed. That's right. I've heard of at least one permie dying from a BI screen getting in the way of his play. In this case, I did miss one of my guildies inviting me to a group via guildchat. I also missed the fun dialog going on there.

Carliee: What she's saying with all that lugubrious chatter is: Send a tell and wait for a positive response before actually inviting someone to your party. And, if you offend someone, apologize.
Player: Think of it as sending an invitation to a RL (real life) party, getting an RSVP, the person arrives at the party and you open the door, rather than you seeing someone, opening your car door (so they have to get in or close it) and inviting them to join you for a party.
Carliee: That reminds me ... when you get a tell asking if you're interested in joining a party, RSVP nicely even if it's to decline.
Player: Good point, Carliee. The person sending tells is working hard to recruit people to fill their party and it's nice for them to know if you can't play.
Carliee: As a cleric, I understand that sometimes you'll feel rather bombarded by tells. A simple no ty is all you need to send back if you don't want to join.

Really, it all just boils down to the good old Golden Rule. Here are some other things that come to mind:
  • Naming your toon and/or guild. You may not have to look at your name over your head, but others do. What you choose for a name says something about you. I'm certainly not the PC police and it's pretty hard to offend me, however some names do make it hard for me to quest with someone (or even see them around town).
    Trappers: lol ... reminds me of that guy I played with Softener of Stools was it? Nice enough guy and the name is somewhat clever, but gives the impression of a middle school boy mentality.
    Player: I've seen worse. That one was kind of amusing at first, but would get old quickly if I had to look at it all the time. Personally, I'd love to lose all the crude names, but the one's that really bother me are the blasphemous ones. Once a friend in my guild gave his toon a name that sounded like he was calling himself God. While running around Korthos with him, I asked about it. He said he hadn't given it much thought and when he re-rolled, he used a different name. Now that you think I'm a big priss...
  • Whining. Yes, I do my fair share of this (some might add "and then some"), but seriously, folks, people don't want to hear you whining continuously. Try to put your complaints in a positive sandwhich. Make sure you balance them with more positives than negatives. We all have our annoyances. When I complained in guild chat about getting 10 small candles as +1 loot, my friend V replied that if it weren't +1 loot I'd only have gotten 5 candles. We had a good laugh and turned that whine into a good time.
  • Pettiness. It's a game! Let small things go. If someone does something that bugs you, wait to see if they stop on their own and send them a tell if it doesn't stop. Just nicely let them know you're not enjoying whatever it is.
  • Chattiness. Stop! Before you write the comment, I know this is most likely my biggest weakness! I love to make silly comments and goofy remarks about stuff. This can get out of hand very easily. When I catch myself in an especially giddy mood, I let my partymates know to tell me if I'm annoying them. There are a couple of guildies I know are annoyed by my playfulness, so when one of them is in the group, I really try to cool it. I don't completely axe it, because I know others like my quips.
  • Playstyle. Whether you like to zerg or play slowly, working with your party is important. I like to zerg to a degree at times, but I also love a good dungeon crawl (which is, I think the heart of permadeath) and I don't like to super zerg like we're racing the Concord. My zerging is more like a bi-plane buzzing a field on a warm summer day. The key is communication. I recently ran Smugglers' with a group of guildies. It was insane and I was super frustrated. Everyone was all over the place and they all seemed to know what was happening but I was totally lost. All I really needed was to know that that was the plan and I would have been fine. We were way over the level of the quest so zerging was the way to do it. Due to lack of communication, I felt alone in a meadow with a bi-plane buzzing around me.
  • Sound. This is really hard for me. My guildies would prefer I wear headphones. Working in a call center for 5 years turned my ears into heaphone haters. If I wear headphones much at all, my inner ears itch like crazy and make it hard for me to sleep. So, I use speakers. Granted, they're rather cheap ones I'm borrowing from a friend, but they're what I have. I also have a crappy mic. The two are not ideal, but at least I can usually hear and be heard. Sometimes you'll need to comment on someone's volume. Usually one person in really quiet and another really loud. Sometimes it can be resolved. Sometimes it can't. Do what you can.
  • If at all possible, finish the quest/quest chain. There will be times when you really have to go, but if you can, simply finish what you start. If you're not sure you'll be able to finish, let the group know before you start and let them decide if that's a risk they want to take.
  • Tipping the cleric: As a permadeath cleric, Carliee doesn't have to worry about money. She's not allowed to buy the things that make playing as a cleric expensive. When pugging, it's a very good gesture to give the cleric some cash, wands, scrolls, elixers, etc. Personally, I prefer to wait until the end of the quest to tip. A cleric who bails on a quest or does a crappy job, doesn't deserve to be tipped (my opinion).
Well .... that's about all I'm up for atm (at the moment), so here's to being reasonably nice and stuff...

*Yes, I made that word form up, though it might be a real word. I think making up my own version of words is fun.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Conquering Korthos've run the tutorial and decided to stay in snowy Korthos. My little rogue Trappers and I will help you get going.

Trappers: Remember to equip your armor, outfit, whatever. Someone forgot mine at's anyone going to take me seriously as an adventurer in those rags. Sure, they were kinda' sexy, but I'm up for adventure, not romance. equip your armor, double click on the icon in your inventory/backpack. Monks will want to put theirs on a hotbar as it's a clickie.

Trappers: Uh....can someone enlighten me as to what a clickie is?
Trapizia: Welcome to the family, cousin Trappers! It looks like you were named after me ... good choice! And, on clickies, definitely a good idea to learn about those early. I was probably level 7 or 8 before I knew what they were (thanks Blak and Vitt!).

Excellent thinking girls! Clickies are items that you activate (usually by clicking on them on a hotbar) to get a particular effect. They need to be equipped in order to work and you'll need to have them on your hotbar to use them. When activated they do things like buff (cast protective/helpful spells on the player you have targeted - er, showing in your focus orb) or throw something nasty at a monster or an area you think a monster will enter. The nastiness might be a spell to make their attack less effective or something that does actual damage to them.

Roko: Monks start out with the Disciple's Cloak, which gives the targeted toon about 5 minutes of mage armor. Trust me, mage armor is awesome! You'll become addicted. Wait to throw it on yourself until you're in the quest. Is it time to talk about Black Widow Bracers yet? I love my new bracers! Sold my mage armor clickies soon as I got those.
Player: I was thinking we'd talk about the bracers when we get to Waterworks (WW), since that's the only place to get them...
Roko: Oh, right...good thinking....carry on...

A couple of important things to note about clickies:
  • They have a limited number of uses "per day" (between rests/tavern visits). That number is found in the lower right corner of the icon.
  • They are only renewed by resting at a shrine or in hanging out in a tavern for at least 30 seconds.
Trappers: Can you tell them about using multiple hotbars? I'm really feeling the need for another one.

Good idea! As a rogue, Trappers has a rather full starter hotbar. You have two options here. You can scroll to another hotbar using the arrows on the right of it or you can detach a second hotbar. I haven't used the first option since learning of the second. To get a second bar on your screen:
  1. Scroll to another hotbar using the arrows on the right end (you don't have to, but it's a major pain later if you don't). The idea here is to keep the #1 hotbar as your main one, because the main hotbar is the one that is connected to your number keys.
  2. Click on the box on the left end (the one with the diagonal arrow). This will cause another bar to pop out.
  3. Click on the arrow on the main bar (the new bar won't have these) to set it back to bar #1.
  4. Add items to the new bar and click/drag it to where you think you want it. You can move items from the first bar to the new one. Items on a bar will swap spots if you drag one over another. Items loaded onto a bar from anywhere else will remove the previous item from the bar.
  5. To change the orientation of a hotbar (can't be done with the starter bar), click on the u-turn arrow on the left end of the bar.
  6. To put a hotbar back into hiding, click on the diagonal arrow on the left of the bar.
Back to conquering Korthos...

Trappers: lalalalalalal....I'm getting really bored standing here! People are going to start poking me soon....
Player: We'll talk about emotes in another post...

Now you need to decide if you want to venture out on your own or with others. If you want to play with others, there are two or three options for this.

Carliee: Please teach them invitation ettiquette! As a cleric, I can feel bombarded and I hate blind invites!
Player: Of course I girls really could stand to learn a little patience...
Trappers: I'm learning patience right now... *taps foot obnoxiously* can wait for someone to invite you to group, invite others or find a group. Waiting for an invitation might take awhile, so I'd recommend being proactive. Here are your options:
  • Indicate that you are looking for a group (LFG). To do this, click on the picture of the two faces in the upper right bar and either setting up an LFM (looking for more) on the first screen that appears or clicking on the box next to "I am looking for a party."
  • To find others who are LFM, look in the main part of that pop-up box and see if anyone is looking for people to group for snowy Korthos.
  • To join a group, you can click on the group then the "join" button or the "tell" button. Clicking Join will let the leader know you'd like an invitation to their party. If they're paying attention, they'll either invite you or send you a tell. Clicking Tell will put /tell theirname in the first tab of your chat box so you can type a message to them.
Note: To reply to a tell, type /tell playername message you want to send. So, if you want to send a message to Carliee, type /tell Carliee hi!

Carliee: Shouldn't that be /tell Carliee hi, your majesty? Just kidding!

Etiquette for grouping:
No blind invites! Almost everyone hates them and won't group with someone who sends them. What is a blind invite? Sending out an invitation to a party without first hearing from the invitee that they're interested in being invited.
Reply to inquiries. Whether you're the group leader or someone sends you a tell asking if you'd like to join their party, a friendly reply is a good idea. If being invited and you're not interested, simply say "no ty." Also try to be prompt with your response.
Respect Permadeath players (PD'ers/permies). Sorry, but permies only play with other permies and most guilds only allow us to play with guildmates. If you see permadeath in the guildname, don't bother inviting them. Of course, if you send a tell, every PD'er I know will send a nice reply. Some will explain why they're turning you down and others will just say "no ty." Don't beg us to join you. We can't.
Only send one request per toon. Party members should communicate to avoid sending multiple tells to the same character.
Don't beg. It's simply annoying, even to non-PD'ers/Puggers. Offering clerics plat to help your group isn't begging. It's letting them know you're not just out to suck their resources.
Warn the group if you're not a typical build. Groups looking for a healing cleric will get rather annoyed with a battle cleric who doesn't heal and didn't warn them ahead of time. Same goes for a rogue who can't disable or a bard who can't or won't play songs. Build what you want and play how you want, but realize that puggers expect certain things from some classes. Heck...I used to warn groups of my tendency to get lost.

Trapizia: lol ... I remember when you warned Blak and Vitt that you get lost a lot before we went into STK and Vitt said she did, too. Those were fun days...
Trappers: I see a group! Can we join them? Please?!
Player: Sure ... click on their party then "join."


Trappers: Well....that was certainly fun/interesting, though I think a new player woulda' been a bit flabbergasted at how fast we ran it.
Player: Definitely...maybe I should try a run pretending I'm new...
Trappers: hmmmm....think you could pull it off?
Player: Sure...I can act a little...
Amarakai: And I'm sure you can remember some of your stupid questions and remarks from our early days...
Roko: She won't have to go back all that far...
Player: Ahem...remember, you're a PD toon...

Well...Trappers ended up playing with a rather experienced player. That run reminded me of the importance of communicating. We had some good communication as to how to run the quests. He did ask if I wanted to run it fast and I said that was fine. I would recommend a new player let their party know they're new and would prefer a slower run.

I did forget to visit the trainer before embarking on the quest, which isn't the best idea since you have an action point (AP) to spend when you arrive in Korthos. To spend an AP, find your trainer, double click on them to talk and choose the second option on the list. Click on that and view the list of options. On the bottom of the pop-up window, you'll see how many you have spent this opening, how many you've spent total, and how many you've got to spend. To select one, click on the enhancement you want, click the arrow pointing left. If you want to put one back, click on it then the arrow pointing right. When you're done, click "Accept."

For a rogue, I think there's no choice that even comes close to taking rogue skill boost. It helps your basic rogue trap finding and disabling, searching, spot and unlock skills work significantly better than without it. Since it's what's called an active enhancement, you'll want to load it on your hotbar. The easiest way to tell if something is active or passive is to note the shape of the icon. Active skills are square. Passive skills are hexagons.

For me, the choice for fighters isn't as obvious. Of course, I have a lot more experience building rogues than I do fighters. My rogues also tend to be significantly more successful than my fighters.

Truffle: As you've noted before, I suck...
Player: I didn't say you suck. I think I said something like you're not a great build. To your credit, you do pretty darn well for how I build you.

Anyway....For a fighter, I'd probably go with toughness. The other enhancements that interest me for a fighter are active skills that require activation in more heated situations than the rogue skill boost (human versatility - for human fighters - and haste boost). Once you get your basic skills down, you might want to try those. They'll still be available later. Before choosing fighter toughness you'll want to make sure you have the toughness feat (go to your character sheet-press Ctrl + C or click on the pic of the open scroll in the bar on top left of screen/click on the feats tab/scroll down looking for the toughness feat). If you don't have the feat, the enhancement will do you no good.

That's it for now. Once I figure out how to post pictures here, I'll convert some of my screenshots into helpful visual aids for the blog. Yep...I'm as new to blogging as some of you are to the game!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tut Tut it Looks Like ... Snow?

Your character is looking great and you're ready to go, but what do you do now? Taking those first steps into Korthos can be quite daunting. Who is that guy standing on the shore and why am I in these pathetic rags?

The first character you create on a server will need to run through the tutorial. After that, you can choose whether or not to run it. The tutorial is no big deal as you can't die in it and is a very good learning tool for folks who are new to the game. However, a character who runs the tutorial can only play with others who've run the tutorial until they've completed the quest Misery's Peak. And, it takes a bit of questing to be able to run through Misery's.

The Devs (the folks who make/run the game) say we're meant to solo it the first time. I say "eeek!" I had a hard enough time getting through three quests without pulling out all of my hair (and I have a lot of hair) much less six quests, including Misery's. And that was with my (not so patient) boyfriend trying to help me over party chat.

Oh...some basic things about Korthos
  • Between the tutorial and the time you first leave Korthos after finishing Misery's Peak, the town is snowy. After that and if you skip the tutorial, it's sunny.
  • You need to complete the three town and the tavern quest before going to the island.
  • The three town quests need to be completed before the tavern quest, but can be done in any order.
  • It tends to be very difficult for experienced casters and rogues to complete these quests least on normal.
Before getting too far into things, you'll want to set up some UI (user interface) things and familiarize yourself with your screen a bit:
  • Enable Voice Chat: Even if you don't plan to talk, you will need to have voice chat enabled to hear those who do talk. To do this, click on the box with the two checkmarks (it's in the upper left part of your screen), click Audio (right side of the pop-up window), scroll down and click the box to the right of Enable Voice Chat.
  • The Map: it's the circle in the upper left that says "Shipwreck Shore" at the top. This can be expanded by clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper right of the circle. I strongly suggest taking a good look at the map and using it frequently.
  • Focus Orb: This is the circle at the lower right corner of your screen. It's very handy and I'll probably devote an entire post to it sometime. I tend to run with it minimized (do this by clicking the eyeball at the bottem left of the orb. You'll probably want to drag it (hold your cursor over it and click and drag when you get the 4 pointed arrow) to the location it's in when open. The focus orb is a great sorce of information on equipment, monsters, other players, etc. You can view detailed info by hitting the z key. I recently discovered that this works in collapsed mode!
  • Quest Information Box: The box in the upper right gives info regarding the quest or adventure area you are currently in. Basically, it tells you what your objectives are. I like to drag it closer to the right side of the screen. I also prefer to have it tansparent (click the eyeball to do this) while questing.
  • Toolbar: The toolbar is one of your best friends. Or should I say toolbars...there are actually 20 of them! I'll tell you how to make use of multiple toolbars another time. For now, what you really need to know is that the one showing on your screen is connected to your number keys. If you hit the 1 key, it will activate the first icon on the bar, 2 activates the second, etc.
  • Chat Window: In the lower left corner, you'll see the chat window. We'll work on customizing this in another post, but for now, notice that it has multiple tabs. Once you get into a party, you'll want to switch to the Party tab. If you join a guild, you'll chat with guildies via the Guild tab.
  • Health Bar: This is the box with the red line (red and blue for casters, red and yellow for monks) right above the chat window. It tells you how close you are to dying.
Since I haven't run the tutorial in awhile (I choose to skip it now) and I happen to have a free slot, I decided to create a toon and run the tutorial and see what the population is like in snowy Korthos these days. Here are some tips for running the tutorial:
  • Watch the hints on the right side of your screen (you can disable them once you're familiar with how things work).
  • Follow the guy up the path and break any boxes you see and pick up the stuff that drops. You can either double click on the item or hit backspace + u.
  • Talk to Jeets again and he'll give you a weapon. You'll probably want to take the one he offers you. You won't want to keep one with a yellow highlight as a yellow highlight means you're not proficient. Though there are times when you might want to use a weapon you're not proficient with, this is not one of them. You can click on the picture of the backpack to open your inventory.
  • Talk to Jeets again to get your instructions...after all, you did agree to do something for him in exchange for that weapon.
  • Once you get your weapon, click and drag it to your toolbar. Single left click on the icon on the bar to pick up your weapon. Note: I like to put mine in the first slot. The default for that is power attack, which isn't something I use much and you really don't need it on your toolbar as clicking the circle on the left side of your heal bar gets it working.
  • To swing your weapon, click your right mouse button. You can hold the mouse button down for continuous swinging.
  • Talbron has some information you might find interesting, but it's not necessary to talk with him.
  • Make you're way up the hill to the cave, breaking boxes, crates, barrels and vases along the way.
  • Follow the instructions via the NPCs and hints.
  • At the end of the quest, you will be given a choice of weapons. Remember to not take one with a yellow bar at the bottom of the icon/square.
  • When you get to the village, Randall's a good guy to chat with. He might be able to help you find your way. If not, I'll have another post on exploring Korthos here soon.
The population in snowy Korthos looks pretty slim this morning. I only see one other person here. You have two choices at this point. You can play your toon alone or with whoever you find in town or you can roll a new toon and skip the tutorial with that one (if you feel comfortable with that).

The other players in snowy Korthos will probably be new like yourself. This means they'll probably be more understanding of your frustrations and lack of skill and knowledge and less prone to zerging. However, they will also not be as knowledgeable as those in sunny Korthos.

My suggestion for you at this point, is to start out by talking to the various NPCs in town and see what they have to teach you.

(Thanks to Bragi for the inspiration for the title to this post!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Getting Started

These days getting started is so much easier than it once was. When I started, we had to make all the build decisions ourselves....okay, there was the random thing, but it may have been worse at building than I was. guessed it...I totally stunk at it!

The first thing you need to decide is what class and race you want to play. One thing to keep in mind is that your first toons are probably going to be rather experimental. You'll probably re-roll them at least once before you find a build you're happy with.

Class is the part of the character that determines style of play: monk, fighter, cleric, ranger, etc. Start by reading through the descriptions and thinking about what you like to do. If you've never played a game like this before, I'd suggest going with a fighter. There's a lot less to worry about when you're running up and hitting things than when you're casting spells.

Race is the base of the character: elf, dwarf, halfling, etc. Each race has its benefits and its drawbacks. You really need to read the descriptions and compare them to the class you want to play. It's best if the two work together. Of course, there are those of us who don't like playing certain races because we find the player side animation annoying (why I don't play halflings). At this point, you'll probably want to choose a race with characteristics that go well with the class you've chosen. Dwarves and humans tend to make good fighters.

If you're new to this kind of thing and don't have someone to help you build your first toon(s), I'd suggest using one of the pre-builds or paths. When the paths first came out, I tried a couple of the monk builds. It worked pretty well and my current monk (who I absolutely love playing) is built on the basis of the kama wielding build.

Roko: That's me! I am quite fun, aren't I. However, I really don't think a new player should play a monk. We're kind of complicated.
Carliee: They probably don't want to start out as a cleric either...
Carlotta (my oldest cleric): You've got that right. I'm glad our player was experienced before I got my start. So much is expected of clerics...keeping toons alive and all.
Truffle Hunter (my oldest living toon): I think our player was smart when she created me. I've heard about the ranger build she started with ... yikes! As a fighter, I was able to help her get her grounding in the game, though I did have to put up with a lot of falling off ramps and such.

Each time you train, you have the option to continue on the path or choose your own way. I've never followed a path all the way through...just for the build process. I think it would have been a good option when I was new and clueless.

Amarakai (who is now a level 16 bard): You sure were! Her original build was me as a ranger. She had no clue what a ranger does in this game. That other game she played had rangers but nothing like our rangers. I love being a bard, so I guess I'm glad that ranger build didn't work out.

If you choose to build your own, definitely read the descriptions for everything! Some of the labels can be misleading. I'd also suggest looking at build advice on websites such as ( That site was very helpful to me when I started and was pretty much responsible for my first successful build(s).

Trappers: That was me! I was an early build that worked well for her, so a rogue might be a nice starter toon, too. At higher levels, I got rather bored and feel a bit useless so you might consider adding some ranger or bard to me at some point.
Truff: Uh...what about me? I've been around longer than Traps!
Player: Oh, boy....Truff, much as I love you and will never delete you, you are not a great build. You're okay, but still pretty rough.

Once you've done (or let the computer do) the technical part of character creation, you'll need to create your character's look. That's completely up to you and pretty straight forward. Just click the arrows to get to the look you like best for that particular part of the toon. Look at your toon close up and far away and from the back. You might like their hair from the front, but not the back...seriously.

The last choice you need/get to make is the name. I like to think I've done a good job naming my toons and I get complimented on my names from time to time. Mortal Voyage (my permadeath guild) strongly encourages a naming convention. This is actually quite nice. You choose something that connects all your toons. My MV toons all start with Carr except for Carliee (because she was my first and it's simply her name and because I named her for the nickname my friend Duckiee called Carlotta). I chose Carr because someone had a toon named Carel and I didn't want to make things confusing. When someone sees a new Carr* toon in MV, they have a pretty good idea it's me. On Khyber, my names are random, so I always had to tell people it was me when I sent them a tell (and sometimes still need to do that).

Trappers: Are you going to write about naming me?
Player: I was just getting to that...

I created Trapizia Nimblefingers on a free trial account while waiting for my game to arrive from the ebay seller. Knowing she was temporary, I gave her a dorky name...

Trappers: Hey!
Player: Calm know it gets better...

...that I never intended to keep. However, while playing her I made friends and actually got compliments on her name. So...when I got my box, I rebuilt her on my original free trial account, keeping her name the same so my friends could find me. The only drawback to her name is that when people would yell "trap!" I tended to think they were addressing me...even on other toons as my friends took to calling me Trap no matter which toon I was on.

Here are the reasons for some of my other names: Truff is named after one of my teddy bears. Sister Carlotta was a college nickname of mine (a roommate gave us all nun names) so Carlotta was a natural for a cleric. Amarakai is a friend's daughter's name with kai at the end and was an adaptation of reversing my real first name and adding kai 'cause is sounded dorky without it. Carrokosan was the Japanese name given to me by my college roommate from Japan.

Once your toon is named, all you have left to do is hit the create character button and log your toon into the world!

Happy Building!