For the first time in over six month, all five members of the Saturday night team were online last week. And we were not even sure we would have all five until the last minute. Earl was back from his travels and was on IM asking what he should patch up. There was talk of tanks or cars or maybe another shot at Neverwinter. But when it became clear that all of would be on, the choices dwindled down to one. The only game we all play at the moment is Rift.
So we patched up, got into the game, and grouped up to see who had. The line up was:
- Jollyreaper level 51 mage
- Zahihawass level 51 cleric
- Earlthecat level 52 warrior
- Hillmar level 53 cleric
- Gizalia level 53 mage
And the goal of the evening was obvious. We had to go finish off the first Storm Legion instance, The Exodus of the Storm Queen. The last time we took a run at that, we ended up dying a combined total of ~100 times.
But first we had to goggle at the new cash shop some more and explain to Earl and Jolly what we had discovered the week before. They were suitably impressed/confused by the complete buy-in Trion has committed to with their store interface, where anything you buy from vendor is there in the same interface with the RMT goodie. And often enough, there are two prices on items, the in-game currency or “iron price” and the RMT currency or “lucky charms” price.
We poked around. I considered buying the 7th and 8th bag slot options, though declined for now because my bags were not all that full. And we all claimed a few loyalty items, the derby being a popular choice.
After enough of that, it was time for business. I was still parked in front of the portal to the instance, so we could ignore the looking for group tool this time around. Once we were ready, I jumped through and dragged us all in.
Then it was time to remember what we had to do.
We have had a few practice runs since then, but only with four players. With four of us, we can get to the third boss, Valthundr, where things stop because we simply could not pass the DPS test which that encounter imposes. So we were clearly ready for the first two bosses.
Dominax we blew through with only a few minor mistakes and no real danger, his soul crystal getting dumped in the furnace on the first try.
Likewise, General Grim was not actually all that grim. We knocked him out on the first try with no drama at all. Then it was off the Valthundr and our first real test of the night. We made a mistake on that right away and accidentally engaged him during his big intro, causing a wipe.
Revived, we started to review “the plan” for Valthundr. His fight is a dance that involves some running and hiding every so often. We got that right. However it took us another two tries to remember all of his tricks and come up with a strategy for defeating him. We all remembered the hiding behind the pillars routine, but we totally forgot about his interim attack that freezes you up if you are too far away from him. So the next round, where Earl tanked him in the middle of the room while we all stayed far away ended up… frosty.
There was an “oh yeah” moment and we remembered having to pull Valthundr back to the edge of the room, so we gave it another go with that in mind. But we also forgot about the knock-back part of his AOE attack and people died. Combat resses were expended, but we fell behind in the DPS race and ran out of pillars to hide behind before he ran out of hit points. Then there was some running around in the room trying to stay alive. I managed to “hide” in a table a thus survive an extra round while everybody else got slaughtered.
But that just drew out the inevitable.
After that we worked out where to stand so everybody had their back to something so that they wouldn’t get knocked back then frozen. With that plan in place, the fight was pretty easy and Valthundr went down. I think we even finished him off before the last pillar.
Then it was off to the final boss, Chekaroth, the fight where we were thwarted six months back.
That started off okay. We got through the initial event involving multiple waves of bad guys hitting us. We managed to wipe on that at least once last time. Then it was time for the main event. We took a run at it just to see the fight, having forgotten most of it, and promptly wiped.
That gave us a reminder of what was going on. While killing him the group has to avoid or kill a flying blade that he summons throughout the fight, survive through an heavy AOE attack that does damage and piles on several layers of a freeze debuff, interrupt him when he targets one of the group with what I will call his “frost laser” attack which damages and puts more freeze debuff on you, and run to some “warming orbs” that show up every so often which will remove the freeze debuff, which is a requirement because if the debuff hits 10, you are frozen solid and about to die.
Kind of a lot to juggle when you are first approaching it, and we went through a couple of rounds with Chekaroth looking for how to position ourselves and such.
Unfortunately, despite coming up with some reasonable plans, I was falling short in the healing department. My build puts up a group ward, but otherwise is pretty focused on single target heals. Even with a buff on Earl that hits everybody with a little healing every time I drop a big heal on him, I was not keeping up. People were just running out of hit points as I tried to share out the heals.
Zahi changed his spec from DPS to an AOE healing spec he had looked into before. However, that spec turned out to be pretty mana intensive. He would run out of mana and then I would have to juggle everybody and balls started to hit the ground.
Basically, it came down to the fact that, as long as I did not make a mistake, I could keep Earl and I alive indefinitely. Mana was no problem for me. I would cast my biggest heal and see my mana bar drop a pixel then fill back up before I could cast the next spell.
So, in one fight, where I managed to let everybody die before Chekaroth was even down to 75%, Earl and I started on a routine. Earl kept on the boss while I stood up a bit on the ice slab sticking up to the left of the boss. That kept me away from the blade. I would heal us up, run down for the warming orb, run back up and heal some more. The routine became:
- Take the AOE attack
- Run to the warming orbs
- Interrupt the frost laser attack
And we kept it going.
When the fight starts, barriers go up around the area, so you cannot kite Chekaroth and so people who die during the fight cannot rejoin. However, if people released they could still come back to the barrier. Zahi found he could still do some AOE healing. On the other hand, anybody who got too close was also subject to Chekaroth’s AOE attacks. We had a couple of deaths on that.
But otherwise the routine held. We called out each step. I got to the point of anticipating each move, landing on the closest orb just as it showed up and calling for the interrupt just as the frost laser started. And we made it. After many loops through the cycle, Chekaroth went down.
There was a departing event and monologue from Crucia, of which I can only recall the line “HA HA HA HA HA” or some such being printed on the screen. There was a loot drop of dubious value. But the important part was that we had made it. The fight might not have been the way we wanted to go, but it went our way in the end.
Which means that more than 7 months after Storm Legion launched, we were done with the introduction instance and set to face one of the instances that actually takes place in the new zones. Our next target is the Storm Breaker Protocol instance, which has a minimum level of 52. So we have a little bit of leveling up to do before we can try it. But hopefully we can get to it before Storm Legion is a year old.