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Adventures in DDO's Stormreach Harbor
Stormreach Harbor is still the main attraction for Dungeons and Dragons Online players. There are an abundance of low level dungeons to explore that motivate upstart plunderers to gain modest but essential experience and wealth.
The harbor remains the busiest quest hub and offers the highest opportunity to find other players who want are interested in the same thing you are: character advancement and fun. Unique citizens abound who are anxious to hire help in aiding them in solving various issues.
In recent years, several high level quests have been added. The result is a set of deep and involved stories that draw explorers back to the cheery streets of Stormreach again and again.
During the winter months, a festivult is held in the Harbor and the landscape is magnificently transformed into an icy playground.
The developers at Turbine, Inc. hit a home run with the adventure playground that is Stormreach Harbor. It has everything a player needs to search out some new friends to help each other solve challenging quests and become more powerful, or even fight each other for fun in the player vs. player arena.
What Brings Players to Stormreach Harbor?
Stormreach is a harbor city featuring cobbled streets and quaint buildings. The sights and sounds; toots on barge horns in the bay and inhabitants haggling with one another, for example, lend a realistic feel to the place.
Like any thriving community, the town has a sewer system beneath it. It seems that most of those have been claimed by kobolds, a type of creature that, for seemingly inexplicable reasons, draw adventurers into their lairs in search of their modest treasure (or worse, to break their boxes!).
Players come back to sewer entrances like Stormreach Harbor's waterworks over and over.
I've asked other players, "Why are you in those wretched sewers when you could be moving onto bigger and more lucrative quests?" The usual response is, "I dunno." Followed by dead silence because they are busy fighting off another batch of heckling kobolds.
Maybe its because kobolds are a sort of pathetic lizard-like creature who've found themselves duped by some other race of more intelligent and powerful creatures into doing their bidding.
They appear to be quite fond of treasure yet they lack the strength to hold onto any of it for long. What they do have is numbers. They are either very prodigious reproducers or a testament to resilience. Whichever, they are a nightmare for solo adventurers on more difficult quest difficulties.
They swarm, they make rude comments, and some of them have learned to harness magical gifts.
Party Adventuring in DDO
The most enjoyable (and wisest) thing to do in Stormreach Harbor is adventure in a group with others. With language barriers and other problems that can develop, it can be an ordeal just trying to get into a group where you aren't going to all perish horribly in a giant black widow's web.
Every Dungeons and Dragons player knows when they are in a good party. Here's a few tips about how to get the best results out of group questing.
- The party leader needs to know how to use the social panel to advertise for more players. A full adventure party is six players and a full raid party is twelve. Getting a full party obviously enhances your chances of success. To use the social panel press 'o' on your keyboard and click 'create party'. Be sure you check the 'advertise' box. This box lets other players know you are looking for more people to join your group.
- Players should be aware that they likely have players in their party who aren't as durable as themselves. For instance, I might be a level 4 barbarian and relish the opportunity to take on a mob of kobolds by myself, but the level 2 sorceror in the party is going to die if the whole party doesn't advance together and cautiously. Zerging is a favorite pastime in D&D Online and most people don't have a problem with it. In dungeons that aren't overly trapped or filled with tough monsters, many experienced players like to run through the dungeons as fast as they can; they've been there many times and know where to go and what to do. Unfortunately, a fault of some players is that they don't care what happens to the weaker or less experienced players coming behind them.
- Choosing a reasonable quest difficulty at the beginning of any quest makes the adventure more fun for everyone involved. Inexperienced level 3 players have no business taking on waterworks on elite level of difficulty. They try; I've tried. Sometimes the adventure goes unfinished. Good parties attack dungeons at a difficulty level measurable to the skills of the party. If the group is made up of inexperienced members, maybe it's a better idea to run the quest on normal or hard difficulty before trying the elite setting.
Quests in Stormreach Harbor
DDO players can learn tactics and monster behavior in harbor adventures like the Waterworks. It's advisable that players new to the game spend some time in the less difficult confines of the quests listed below. Players should take some time to learn how to use the map, how to use the tool bars, and where to position themselves during combat.
There are other mid-level and high-level quests in Stormreach, but players needn't worry about unwittingly finding themselves in adventures they don't belong in. Whenever you click on a quest entrance, a pop up window appears and on that window is where you select the difficulty level. Pay close attention to what level of difficulty the adventure is as you cycle through normal, hard, and elite. For example, a level 3 quest on normal is a level 5 quest on elite.
Here is a short list of some of the quests in Stormreach Harbor that that low level players will enjoy and learn from exploring.
- Bringing the Light: A local priest (located outside this quest's entrance south of the Wayward Lobster) asks you to investigate a local gaming establishment and put a stop to any gambling that might be going on there (by smashing the gaming tables). There isn't much resistance from guards but mind the dogs on higher difficulty settings; they have rather powerful bites. Players will note that there are three runes in the last gaming room. These runes may be activated by players possessing high scores in either dexterity, wisdom, or intelligence. Enabling one of the runes leads to another fight, more experience, and more loot if it's completed before the final gaming table is smashed.
- Information is Key: Adventurers new to Stormreach Harbor will most likely meet their first oozes here. These sewer and cave dwelling beings are gelatinous-like blobs that shimmy across dungeon walls, ceilings, and floors. They are so feared by experienced players because they have the ability to dissolve weapons that aren't treated to resist their fluids. This adventure is much more difficult than Bringing the Light. It is recommended to enjoy this quest in a party setting - soloing even with a hireling, you may find the end battle too difficult.
- Arachnophobia: This is a solo adventure where the player is asked by an NPC to eradicate spiders who have taken up residence in his family's crypt. Obviously, he doesn't want the crypt's sarcophagi smashed to bits in the process. Take a wing by wing approach to clearing out the arachnids and use a smaller weapons if possible. Large two-handed weapons are difficult to use in close quarters without breaking something.
- The Miller's Debt: Tax collector Berrigan Enge stands outside the entrance to Miller Tarrigan's house. He seeks someone to go into the house and retrieve goods promised to him by Miller. This solo quest has two paths to the basement, and this is a dungeon model used elsewhere by the game developers. The path to the left will cause you to have to fight more and the path to the right is more suited for nimble rogues or bright wizards.
- Haverdasher: A very short quest that requires adventurers to go into a basement and wipe out a bunch of scorpions. Sounds simple enough, but less experienced adventurers will learn a valuable lesson about how much more difficult it is to fight multiple monsters (mobs) than it is to fight just one creature.
- Durk's Got a Secret: A man standing outside a conspicuous sewer entrance tells you of two kobold brothers who have hoarded away a sizable stash of treasure within. This is a quest that becomes drastically more difficult at elite difficulty setting. Normal setting allows for solo runs or casual party adventuring while hard and elite require a bit more teamwork to emerge successful. Oh, and don't forget to pick up a few extra maces at the Hammer and Chain - remember, oozes like sewers such as this one.
- Dungeonraider tip: The above quest, particularly on elite level of difficulty, will occasionally spawn the red named ooze called Muck. If the party successfully defeats the creature, a chest that could contain a rare item known as Muckbane will be won. This item is coveted by those that tire of having weapons break while fighting oozes - it is impervious to fluids and creatures that can harm other weapons.
More Harbor Quests
An Explosive Situation: A solo quest where the player must drive burglars and thieves from a local warehouse. Hint: After you've defeated the red-named thief at the end, linger a moment to enjoy the cool music.
Garrison's Missing Pack: This is a challenging adventure for most newer players. The troglodytes that inhabit certain areas of the underground sewer system beneath Stormreach, like this one, are formidable low level foes. Some of them have mastered some pretty strong magic. No matter which path you choose in this quest, the one more suited for casters and fighters or the one best handled by rogues, your party will be put to a test.
The Butcher's Path: As the name implies, this is a kobold-infested sewer that hack and slash adventurers will enjoy more than most of the others in the Harbor. On elite level of difficulty, this can be an overwhelming challenge even for the most skilled low-level DDO toons. Hint: If your party is capable of destroying a trog caster quickly, then proceed through the underwater tunnel near the end of this quest. If they are not capable, just proceed to the end of the quest instead.
Kobold Assault: This is an outdoor adventure where players are swarmed by 200 kobolds. Kobold casters are capable of zapping enemies with fairly powerful lightning bolts on elite level of difficulty. Savvy players can solo normal level. The best way to enjoy this quest is to assemble a full party and pick the most challenging difficulty setting that the party thinks they can handle.
Most of Stormreach Harbor's quests are well-suited for beginners. There are quests that are better suited for rogues and some that are better suited for wizards or sorcerors. There is plenty of opportunity for both hack-and-slashers and the more refined. Dungeonraider easily attained level four with just a few group quests. By choosing difficulty settings carefully, or even attempting bravery streaks on elite level (an option mostly for monthly subscribers), players can go even further here, some even reaching level six or seven before moving on to other areas of adventure.
There are also high-level quests available in the harbor. These are offered in a couple of adventure packs that players can purchase from the DDO store. And because Stormreach Harbor is the site of the winter Risia Ice Games and the most popular player vs player arena, there is always something fun to see and do.