So I have run EE thrill of the hunt a few times looking for First Blood for my bastard sword kensai (that is where it drops right? Someone mentioned that was where it dropped once but I have never gotten a confirmation since) and there just seems to be a lot wrong with it.
For starters, just getting there was a pain. You would think a full party would have no problems making our way through the explorer area to the quest, especially when we can open the gate in the wall from the inside. Problem is, we seemed to have angered a large group of enemies, which we should have been able to kill just fine, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, lag had to come and butt in and we stood there and died. So after some more trouble we cleared the mobs outside the quest and went to the shrine to let our healer get his sp back. And in front of the shrine next to oldstone hall, we found some 10-20 night hags just chilling there (bug? WAI? Night hag meeting for the night of the blood moon?), plus a pack of howlers....and some assassins.........and casters. And it was lag all over again. So we died, revived a ton, eventually killed everything, and rested. And then we got into the quest all fresh and healed.
And once inside, things went pretty well. We killed assassins, avoided chains, tripped spellcasters, killed the red name howler with little more healing required than scrolls. And then we got to a part where we pulled around 4-5 assassins, and then lag kicks in again, and we all die. And then after reentering and killing the assassins we got to the room with a bunch of howlers in a cage, and, once again, LAG. And we all died. And then after reentering again, we got to a hallway totally devoid of enemies and LAG! So we didn't die for that one but it still took like 3 minutes to shake it off. And after all this we finally made it to the boss. We go in, and instant orange alert! And then we started the fight and LAG! Then 3 of us died immediately from the bosses chain, which did around 590 damage per hit to me through my 63 PRR, and around 690 to everyone else. So then a lot of jumping and kiting and raising ensued, and we lagged, and died, and raised, and lagged, and died, and kited, and finally the sorc found a nice safe spot where the boss could not hit him. And we cleaned up howlers and then jumped up there with him. The rest of the fight consisted of us slowly ranging him to death, and then once the howlers showed up we had one guy get all their aggro and the rest picked them off one at a time until it was just the boss again.
All in all, it was not fun. Not at all. It took us 108 minutes to complete, and only God knows how long just to fill the party for it. Lets just say it took so long to fill that I took naps between people joining. And then going through the explorer area and the lag was not fun. I now run through it on heroic just to save time and prevent lag. Lagging due to large groups of enemies was not fun. Instant orange alert was not fun. A 690 damage chain was not fun. Slowly ranging him to death was not fun. Dealing with the howlers he released with their continuous ranged stun locking was not fun. Getting skunked after all this, was not fun.
It was not fun, or rewarding, or worth the time spent to do it, or worth the resources the casters had to spend for it, or worth the slightly more powerful potential loot (1% more doublestrike and .5[W] damage for the bastard sword compared to the EH version). It WAS, however, frustrating, annoying, disappointing, silly, and forced us to use a lame tactic like ranging from a safe spot to kill the boss.
I have run it one more time since the first time, and it was a lot better, mostly on account of knowing where the safe spot is and utilizing it immediately, but we still had plenty of spots where we almost wiped because of lag, and huge groups of mobs, and the howlers were still doing their annoying stunning. This second time we managing to complete without reentering, although the healer had to use some pots, and we got a fell shiv out of it. But after taking the time to fill a group and run it, that EH First blood on the shard exchange that I can totally afford for a small percentage of my total shards is starting to look pretty damn good. That second run took over an hour to fill by the way.
So, what experiences have you had with this quest and the loot? Find any helpful ways of dealing with mobs? The boss? How has your loot been? Does the First Blood actually drop there? Is a large AOE chain whip that can one-shot some of my friends overpowered? Did you even know there is a prisoner in a cage for the boss fight? Yeah! There is! I always leave him to die, because...howlers, and chain whip, and screw him I have more important things to be not dying to.