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Exploring Eberron: the debut of Nights of Eberron

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Last night was the first night of Massively's Nights of Eberron group in Dungeons and Dragons Online, and what a night! Let's start with the biggest semi-related piece of news. Justin "Syp" Olivetti, master of bad puns and Nights of Eberron partner in crime, did not join us last night. The newest member of the Sypster clan was born last night sometime near the time we were all hanging out on the dock taking screenshots. Congratulations Justin and family on your beautiful little girl!

While Justin was at the hospital, the rest of us in OnedAwesome were busy taking over Korthos Island. The first night of any static group is usually the craziest, and I had my hands full fielding guild invitation requests and directing snowy-side people to sunny-side, as well as helping one or two who opted to work through the tutorial. This is a good thing -- it was so exciting to see so many people jumping in and I am delighted that so many showed up.

With such a huge mix of veteran and new players and only one Massively staffer to wrangle everyone, I owe a huge "thank you" to those veteran players who pitched in to help everyone get settled! Now, on to the fun stuff: how did it go last night? Follow along after the break for a recap of the ups and downs.

There is no completely perfect MMO out there, and as much as I love Dungeons and Dragons Online, I wish it were more persistent. The Massively guild now boasts 32 members, and the heavy instancing required that we split up into groups of four or five last night to get quests done. Which is a shame in more than one way -- can you imagine doing Heyton's Rest with all 32 of us? We'd have it done in about ninety seconds: fan out, kill and smash everything, meet up at the portal, done. Interaction was limited to guild chat and the small individual parties, which resulted in a bit of confusion about who was doing what. In the end, the individual groups wound up doing their own thing within Korthos. The good thing about this is that everyone got a wide variety of experience with the game. Everyone ran through the basic quests, and those that got it together quickly did them over, scaling up to hard and elite difficulty.

On the upside, quite a few people experienced DDO last night for the first time, and smaller groups allowed them to experience the game in a slightly less overwhelming setting. Hopefully a ready-made group of new characters provided a good introduction. Guild chat was just as active as you'd expect with so many people all there for the same reason and a good time was generally had by all. Joining us last night was Ethic of Kill Ten Rats fame who penned a quick overview of his evening impressions. It's definitely worth a read, as he captured the busy and fun feel of the evening.

He also made a great point -- many of us took this opportunity to try something new, even if we are familiar with the game. Didn't like what you tried? Reroll, try something different! The beauty of early DDO play is that it's quick and easy to catch up, particularly at this stage in the game. If you're brand new to DDO and choose to reroll, a second trip through the tutorial and/or beginner quests is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the game, the UI, and the general feel of the thing. As more than one player mentioned, leftover muscle memory from other games can cause some confusion at the beginning, so a refresher course isn't the worst idea. If you're a DDO vet, jump through the tutorial, knock out the beginner quests, and voila, you're all set for next week. Hey, speaking of next week, what are we doing anyway?

Because of the instancing difficulties mentioned before, the idea of "static" is going to be a bit looser here. We'll stay in the same area as time goes on so half the group isn't running around House D while the other half is just arriving in Stormreach, but otherwise it won't be overly restricted. Next Wednesday we're going to tackle the Korthos Wilderness with the goal of...well, slaughtering everything. We'll aim high: Slayer, Explorer, Rare Encounters, and the quests in the area.

If you're not familiar with DDO wilderness areas, it's fairly simple. There is a "Slayer" track in which you get XP for reaching milestones of the number of creatures killed. Full parties kill very quickly, so slaughter everything you see and watch the XP roll in! Explorer gives you XP for finding landmarks on the map, as well as bonus XP once you've found them all. The Rare Encounters are a bit dicier, as they depend on random spawns. The spawns are consistent in location, which will help track them down. Several quests are available from the wilderness area as well, and they all give generous XP. (Even more so with the current bonus XP event!) The map of Korthos Island on the DDO Wiki gives the location of all significant landmarks, rare encounters, quests, and rest shrines, so it's a great place to start.

It's important to note that you've got to have the "Collaborator" quest completed before you'll be able to enter the Korthos wilderness area, so if you still need that one (I know I do!) take a few minutes to visit the discussion on Massively's Facebook page and we'll set up a group to run through it. Of course, that applies to any other quests as well.

Now that we've gotten over the first-night craziness of guild invites and "Is it snowing where you are?", it will be a much quicker matter of forming parties and getting underway. The week after that we'll be invading Stormreach, so be ready! See you in Korthos next Wednesday at 9PM US Eastern time!

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