Are you celebrating Update 9 in DDO?

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I haven't been looking forward very much to Update 9.  My guild on Argo has been wailing and gnashing their teeth for days over the changes coming.  One of my favorite wizards TRed  in to a Favored Soul over the balance pass to spell casters.  Most of them have been hoarding items to use in crafting into overflowing back packs and banks.  Once wind of the changes to power 5 weapons hit the forums, it became a blood bath. I've stayed away from almost all of it.  Perhaps its that after 4 years, I have seen these cycles of nerf/balance come and go.  It's always labeled as the Apocalypse.  People scream in rage, cancel their subscriptions, and write a rant good bye post for the carrion of the forums to pick over.

Stormreach continues to thrive in spite of the wave upon wave of discontent.

I logged on Wednesday night wondering if the server's would stay stable and if the content was actually working correctly.  Our Static group wanted a go at the new quest chain, and we were very close to getting our airship!

I had a few hiccups logging in, but after a restart found myself plopped into the marketplace.  My group had already sniffed out the new quest giver in the Harbor, and we were off to play through the new quests.

What I saw of the new chain has me creeped out and giggling all at the same time.  The  new monsters are right out of a nightmare.  The atmosphere of fog and the driving music makes your sword quiver in your hand as you look around a building and wonder what you will see next.  I jumped a few times as a monster materialized out if a hedge.

There has to be a repressed mad scientist over at Turbine.  The theme of this quest pack stunned me with its depth.  The storyline is easily followed and the added newspaper stories strewn through out the quests add to the immersion and story telling.

The quests themselves are not very difficult.  The casual player should have little issue enjoying this gem of craziness.

I played my sorcerer.  I knew there had been some major changes to spells and specifically the sorcerer savants had been unleashed to the masses.  I checked my enhancements straight away and realized I didn't have any of my old fire/ice line anymore.  I didn't bother to figure out what I wanted to do with him.  I will play with a few of the spells and see what is going to fit as a new skin.

Overall the word on sorcerer savants seems to be split 50% for and 50% against.  As usual the DDO participants can't decide if they like it or hate it.  I am reserving my opinion for now.  I am not happy about being raped, but I am hopeful I will find a new place where I can happily scorch the baddies of Stormreach into oblivion.

One thing I did notice , and I really disliked it, was banishment.  I have used this spell a lot on my sorc.  I loved it.  If a monster made the save it was no big deal, I would just try again.  Last night when I hit banishment, if it failed it did damage.  That isn't terrible, but I garnered more agro than I meant to before I realized what was happening. I also think the cool down timer for banishment seems to have increased in duration.

Firewall is completely pointless in it's current nerf state.  Considering I have been playing a fire/ice specced sorc for 4 years, getting used to these changes might take me some time.

The power 5 weapons have all had a face lift.  I find it kinda funny these changes have all come when crafting hits DDO for reals for the first time ever, but I am getting ahead of myself.  Back to the weapons.  Some people are considering it a nerf, while others are optimistically calling it an "interesting" challenge.

Disruption, Banishing, and Smiting weapons have had their hit die caps and saving throws removed. These weapons now do 4d6 damage on a hit, and kill an eligible target on a confirmed vorpal hit (natural 20) if the target is below 1,000 hit points. If the target has more than 1,000 hit points, they will take 100 damage.

I have not thrown away my weapons.  I am holding on to them.  I noticed with banishment it means I am doing more damage than I would have been before, but I am still not convinced this was right headed.

Crafting has arrived.  Rejoice... oh wait, what in seven hells is this?  Ohhhh right.  It's crafting DDO style. *throws up a little in her mouth*

I don't know if you have tried crafting or not.  If you haven't you aren't missing much.  If you have, you may wish you could have the memory removed from your brain.

I have no idea how it was placed in the game in it's current form.  It's beyond quirky.  Items bound to character, the difficulty navigating the recipe book, and the multitude of crafting stations have left even the most hardy player shaking their heads.

I would like someone from Turbine to explain to me how you can have a simple system for leveling and creating items in LOTRO right down the hall from DDO developers and yet we got this ludicrous overly complicated crafting system?

No one in my static group wanted to play with crafting.  I hadn't mentioned a peep about my own feelings on the subject, but asked if they wanted to see it and judged the reaction to be less than luke warm.  We are all level 20.  We are not going to spend our time nor our scroll money crafting.

Meh.

I will say the place for the Crafting hall is simply beyond odd.  It's sort of been plunked down in House K.  I don't want to know what the bankers are thinking about the fact it's moved in.  I am sure the dwarfs are talking amongst themselves and formulating how much rent they can charge.

The stylization of crafting is pleasing to the eye.  Look, did you see? I said something positive about crafting.  That's it, that's all I can do for the good.

I am in hopes crafting will see some major overhauls.  When you enter the crafting hall, you are warned the system is currently in beta.  I am praying to the gods it means the entire thing can be burned to smithereens by Velah and they can start over. *facepalm*

Turbine packed a ton of stuff into Update 9.  I am sure I have missed some of it.  I've hit most of what were highlights to me.  Not everything was a home-run, but overall I think they did a smashing job.

And to solidify the celebration for update 9, our static group leveled to 20 and we bought our guild ship.  I think we were beyond excited to have made this milestone.  it took 6 people, once a week for 2 -3 hours, almost a solid year to earn level 20.  For those who thought it was too high a benchmark, I have to say I was proud as heck when we stood on our ship for a group shot!!!  What an accomplishment!!!

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Let me know your thoughts, questions and criticisms of the new update.

I am off to make some sweets to eat while watching the Royal Wedding. I will then take a nap in preparation of watching the launch of Endeavor. It's a packed day with some LOTRO thrown in somewhere!

Game on!!!