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Exploring Eberron: Stromvauld's Mine and your character's alignment

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Last week I talked a bit about Beholders and why they hurt so much, and I promised a look at an offshoot of that conversation this week: alignment. If you weren't a PnP player before Dungeons and Dragons Online, alignment is probably something you didn't pay much attention to on your first character. The system of alignment has its roots in Dungeons and Dragons and can seem a little complicated at first, but it's not too difficult once you have the basics.

Follow along after the jump to see what the big deal is and to see what Massively's DDO guild has been doing lately!


Your character's alignment, at its core, is about what her outlook on life is and why it's that way. Wikipedia, while a dodgy resource at best in many cases, really shines here. There are six possible alignments in DDO, and the PnP Wikipedia article does a great job of providing a background and explanation of each one separately. (It also carries descriptions of the evil alignments, but you can't play those in DDO.)

The background stories of each alignment are a read that I find valuable for all non-PnP players, because they give a clear understanding and foundation of the differences. That helps make things much less confusing going forward.

Once you've got those basics down, let's look at how it affects you in the game. First and foremost, this will affect your ability to wield certain weapons. Many weapon enhancements carry alignments just like characters do, and if they conflict you can't wield that weapon. It's a good idea to learn which enhancements match your alignment and keep an eye out for those.

For example, a weapon with a "true law" enhancement will be in conflict with the alignment of a chaotic neutral character. In fact, true law weapons can only be wielded by lawfully aligned characters. You'll be much more effective when you get a feel for which weapons will work best for you and your alignment -- you'll want to refer to this chart often at first -- and accumulate a few.

This conflict of alignment can work to your advantage in battle as well. Remember last week when I mentioned how to damage Beholders? Every enemy also has an alignment. Beholders are an example of lawful evil aligned monsters, and they'll take much more damage from things like pure good and true chaos weapons. The "good" and "chaotic" parts of those alignments are in conflict with lawful evil, so they hurt more.

With time and experience, as with anything, you'll pretty much have the alignments of your enemies committed to memory. Until then, I recommend doing a quick bit of DDO wiki research on the enemies you expect to face before you take on a quest in the game. The wiki is well-laid-out, and it will just take a minute or two to see what you're up against. Once you know, find the weapon with an alignment that will hurt it the most, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much your numbers go up. Of course, this goes both ways -- if you're chaotic good aligned, that lawful evil Beholder is going to hit you pretty hard as well, so be ready for that.

These are only the basics of the system, but hopefully they lay the foundation for an understanding of how it all works. Finding that balance of a weapon that fits your alignment, finding an alignment that works for you in the first place, and taking those things into battle are largely a matter of personal preference, and that part is entirely up to you. You'll find that this foundation will make that decision much easier, so check out the resources here and have fun!


Before we finish for the week, I want to take a moment to delve into what Massively's DDO guild has been up to. We had planned to try our first raid this week, as I mentioned in last week's Exploring Eberron, but in the end we decided to hold off and make sure everyone was geared and leveled properly to make it more about fun and less about omg-I-am-dead-again. So we're stepping back to relax, catch our breath, and level some alts before taking on the Vault of Night raid. Last night was a trip back to free-to-play territory as the guild tackled Stromvauld's Mine, a level 8 free-to-play quest that I really recommend every player try at least once.

Part rescue operation, part obstacle course, and part treasure hunt, Stromvauld's Mine is an ideal setting for players looking for some fun, low-key playtime. It's rogue heaven with all the traps, so either let the rogue go first or step carefully. Laird Stromvauld, jeweler extraordinaire, is interested in the contents of a particular mine and sent in a mining team. The team never returned, so he sent down a second team to find out what was going on. Of course, that team didn't return either, so our job was to figure out what had happened to the two teams and maybe pick up a few jewels for Laird along the way. You know, as long as we're down there.

The premise of that optional -- find five rare gems for Laird -- was fairly amusing since he was as concerned about the potential wealth as he was the miners, but it's well worth indulging him. That optional alone is worth 40% of your base XP, and there are several other optionals that tack on 20-25% each. I'm a big fan of DDO optionals in general, because they equal more XP, more exploration, and usually more chests full of loot. Again, this quest is one that I recommend highly for players in the level range. Turbine is pretty generous with free-to-play content in the 10-and-under level range, and this is one of the better free quests I've played.

As always, the guild had more people than would fit into one group, so we split up into parties to tackle the mine and used guild chat to monitor each other's progress and offer suggestions. We expect more of the same next week as we delve back into premium content with the first part of Ruins of Threnal. Guest passes are on the house, and all are welcome. Feel free to send a /tell to Rubialina Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. EDT -- I'll see you in game!

Exploring Eberron is a novice's guide to the world of Dungeons and Dragons Online, found here on Massively every Friday. It's also a series of short summaries of lower-level DDO content, cleverly disguised as a diary of the adventures of OnedAwesome, Massively's DDO guild.

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