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  1. #1
    DDO QA Team Cocomajobo's Avatar
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    Default U42 Preview 2: The Cogs and Explorer Quests

    Disclaimer
    Everything seen on the preview server, Lamannia, is not final and is subject to change or removal before live release.

    Masterminds of Sharn is expected to feature 9 Story Dungeons, 7 Explorer Dungeons, 1 Explorer Area, and 2 Raids. This second preview contains all 9 of those Story Dungeons, 6 of those Explorer Dungeons, the Explorer area, and 1 of those Raids (The only one expected to go live with Update 42). Players can gain access to these quests by speaking to "Lord Poincelot" in the center of the test dojo and then purchasing the "Masterminds of Sharn" adventure pack in the DDO Store.

    The Cogs Explorer Area
    The entrance to the Cogs Explorer Area can be found in the Clifftop Tower District of Sharn. There is a "Cogs Guide" directly outside the entrance that will, when Update 42 goes live, transport you to various locations within the Cogs but for this preview will only transport you to either the Raid Staging Area (which he will still do on Live) or directly into the explorer dungeons (which he will NOT do on Live). You can reach Sharn either through a transport NPC in the Harbor or a transport NPC in the center island of the Test Dojo.

    The Cogs Explorer Dungeons
    The Explorer Dungeons will not feature questgivers or direct teleports into them upon release, however, for this preview the "Cogs Guide" outside the elevator to the Cogs in the Clifftop Tower District of Sharn that will transport you directly into any of the 6 available Explorer Dungeons. This has been done so that we can get as much feedback on the individual dungeons as possible. You can reach Sharn either through a transport NPC in the Harbor or a transport NPC in the center island of the Test Dojo.

    • The Magma Must Flow (Levels 15/32)

    • The Wraithcallers (Levels 15/32)

    • Ruinous Schemes (Levels 15/32)

    • Roll Call (Levels 15/32)

    • Security Detail (Levels 15/32)

    • Smash and Burn (Levels 15/32)


    Quest Known Issues
    • Experience has not been set, and will change.
    • Dungeon decoration, character appearances, and lighting in the dungeons are not complete.
    • Text should be complete, but may contain typos.
    • Most of the questgivers have placeholder text.
    • Text in dungeons should be complete, but may contain typos.
    • The saga for the main story quests is available but does not have text. There will be a saga for the explorer quests as well (but it is not accessable, as not all the explorer dungeons are available.)
    • Some goblins do not fight correctly (for example, goblin trappers do not yet place traps.)
    • In “Roll Call", there is still a lever in the end room that bypasses the new puzzle. This will not be there when it goes live.
    • Most voiceover work is not yet in.
    • The map in the Cogs Explorer area shows chalice icons for two Explorer Quests that are inaccesible in this preview. If the name of the quest is not on the list above you will save yourself some frustration by not attempting to lpcate the entrance.
    Last edited by Cocomajobo; 04-16-2019 at 03:40 PM.
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  2. #2
    Community Member Nonesuch2008's Avatar
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    The scale and visuals for the Cogs are both impressive, and it does convey a good sense of atmosphere. There is a distinctness to the forge area and a nice transition to the shantytown, and I like the mix of mechanisms used to navigate the place. Stairs, pipes, moving platforms, ramps, air jets, it was all a good mix. I enjoyed the new art assets, good work all around. For the ambience around the lava flows, maybe add a few steam clouds, if it doesn't create lag?

    I just did a quick jaunt around the place, and managed to find 3 quest entrances, 4 journals & 2 rares, but no shrines. The mix of mob types was pretty good, but I am hoping to encounter some things in there on a larger scale. Looking forward to exploring more of the Cogs, because I got the sense that there was a good deal more to see.
    "When asked if the developers hate the players, as they make so many challenging jumping puzzles, their response was that they have what they consider a “… normal amount of contempt for the players.” This is good. A dungeon master should always nurse a healthy contempt for his or her players."

  3. #3
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    Explorer Quests are the same thing as Walkups, right?

  4. #4
    The Top Side GoldyGopher's Avatar
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    I spent a while in the Cogs on level 32 difficulty with a moderately well equipped 32 point build solo and here are my impressions

    1) There is something wrong with the stating of the mobs. Getting hit for 1 to 6 points of damage from a Daarsk Gargoyle cannot be correct.
    1a) The only attack that hurt was the magic missile attack from the Security Constructs
    1b) It was odd to keep getting the same encounter between generic mobs, look a Gargoyle, Muscle and Troll again for the fifteenth time.

    2) Many Many mobs were slow to activate. Let me run up to a group of three mobs, beat the first one down before the next two decide to take action.
    2a) There were mobs hidden in the darkness I practically tripped over but never saw that activated like a minute after I went by and started chasing me around the zone.

    3) The Cogs as a whole felt small, it probably felt a lot smaller than it actually is, but still it felt more like The High Road opposed to the Stormhorns.
    3a) Is the mini map in the same scale as other maps?
    3b) I spent time looking for a way to get to a lower level, ala Thunderholme, but I now believe the Cogs is a single level.

    4) There are a few spots where you can get up to the black invisible wall on the edge of the zone on the other side of the decor.
    4a) There are several magma pipes that end in a black wall a few feet in that players can get to.

    5) You can get the walk up quests in some bizarre locations (like "The Magma must Flow" while running through the pipes)

    6) A distinct lack of Collectibles and Shrines

    7) The Boromor Healer has a enlarged Halfling head on a human body, it looks wrong.

    8) If you go beneath the surface of the lava it's water. (you still take damage)
    8a) There are a couple of magma flows that if you fall in there is not an easy way out.


    A) The new art assets are impressive
    A1) I loved going into the pipes and later running on top of those same pipes.

    B) Loved how the various locales were distinctive different, The Ruins, The Shanty Town, The Ruined Forge, the Working Forge.
    B1) There are several spots I thought were visually stunning, very impressed.

    C) There seemed to be a story about what was happening. The poor Dwarves in Shantytown attempting to keep the "monsters" away.

    D) There appeared to be a decent number of mobs to fight, I had 350 kills in about 90 minutes without a pot.

    Questions
    Do the mobs respawn in the Adventure Zone?

    What was the randomness that Severlin spoke of in the early interviews?

    Are the locations of the scrolls random or do they have multiple spots to spawn?

    There are several spots that are "tricky" to get to (run across a Magma Shot, jump on a bucket to get to a ledge with boxes near Shanty Town, run across the itsy bitsy ledge, jump up the rock formation to get ot the ledge near the forge, is there any purpose to these spots, they were all (I found six) empty with no good way to get to them, and with a fairly large decorated space at the end.

    The Twilight Avengers are always recruiting - http://twilightavengersofeberron.yuku.com/topic/655

  5. #5
    Cosmetic Guru Aelonwy's Avatar
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    I was in the Cogs explorer zone for almost 2 hrs. I found all but #10 of Mattie Thorne's Journals, although #11 was problematic for me without some form of Leap of Faith or Propulsion. #11 also had a typo, it said too but should have been took I think. On the other hand I was still missing Vaunt's Notes #5, 7, 9, 10, 13, and 15. I was getting turned around in the pipes a lot.

    Zero Rare encounters spawned in that entire time which was very disappointing. I was solo with my Shield Guardian and a pocket healer just-in-case but he wasn't really needed because the spawns were very low. However, I mostly play casters and the complete absence of Shrines was bothersome.

    A few Dragonborn Boromir Muscle spawned in the Factory area and would just stand there doing nothing, not fighting, not interacting just standing in their undies.

    Finally, I encountered Elminster in an area with Light Gravity. (Standard): You are at: r1 lx1521 ly809 i14 ox39.23 oy38.58 oz147.51 h180.0
    That^ should be the /loc where he was walking about. He didn't speak and you couldn't interact with him either.

    Blood Scented Axe Body Spray (Thelanis)
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  6. #6
    Community Member MasterKernel's Avatar
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    And just when you thought the devs have learned something, they give you this.

    Trying to create quests lobby ? Teleportation guys in Ravenloft ? Looks like not enough to learn. XD

    Cogs wilderness looks AWESOME, hands down. But. IT'S JUST ANOTHER HUMONGOUS ZONE NOBODY WOULD WANT TO RUN THROUGH !

    At least the quests there are short and fun, compared to the long and boring ones from the Sharn's story.
    Last edited by MasterKernel; 04-18-2019 at 03:25 AM.

  7. #7
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    Would it be possible to change the colors used in the lever puzzles a bit? I'm not colorblind, and telling the difference between the yellow/orange and yellow/green gems was annoyingly more difficult than it needed to be. I can't imagine trying to do these puzzles while colorblind.

  8. #8
    Community Member DYWYPI's Avatar
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    Following on from my last critique on: Masterminds of Sharn (Preview 1) [Post #59], we now move onwards to: Preview 2. I have mixed feelings about "The Cogs Wilderness". Most of the area to the west of "The Cogs wilderness" looked too tidy and well maintained. :-/


    Digging through ditches and falling to rust.


    Overall I would have also expected more major landmark style features or building shells to enter and perhaps even more moving cogs.


    Abandoned coalmines, we'll have a good time.


    It seemed like a patchwork quilt in places and far too fake. Whereas some of the small areas seemed to work; as a whole it was slightly disjointed (artificial) rather than looking organic.


    They spit pig iron, tell you nothing is wrong.


    By that I mean in places it didn't look as if it had naturally developed (evolved) over a long period of time... I didn't spend that long in the wilderness so I'm sure with more exploring I'd find more interesting features or places to venture within the area.


    The Cogs Explorer Dungeons

    I revisited one of Cogs Explorer Dungeons; I hadn't completed in the previous preview and visited two of the new ones available.

    The Magma Must Flow: this quest reminded me a little of 'Taming the Flames' and maybe aspects of one or two other quests. The idea was fine and the story fairly straightforward.


    The blood of tomorrow melts with the lava.


    I would have liked to have been able to interact with; Bryltin Cornerstone's, ice block via the Dialogue boxes or seen her freed, and the ice melted at the end. Other than that the quest was fine for its size.


    Beauty's burning but my backbone feels so cold.


    The Wraithcallers: at the start of the quest it erroneously said "Roll Call" bestowed. Basically it was stop the evil Cultists', and their dastardly plan(s). I think the design of the dungeon looked far more "natural" than some of the dungeons, which was a good selling point. It didn't just look as though things had just been drawn in long straight lines and planted there - it was fine.


    Smash and Burn: I revisited this dungeon because I didn't have time to complete it last time... Like I mentioned last time, the Grey buttons are a concern because they are not easy to distinguish from the surface they are attached to.


    Dear Life, I think the button is stuck.


    Can you please either turn those buttons into; tiny standard type pressable grey runes, or make small buttons that are: selectable - [Q Key] interactable - so you can actually use focus upon (locate) them at range.

    Seriously consider doing that because overall it could be a stellar quest, but few are going to wander around all day in darkness trying to see camouflaged buttons. The 'Jungle of Khyber' has runes though manages to utilise them well enough to provide fun in finding them.

    Openness and transparency speaks of integrity and a willingness to learn from mistakes. I'll reiterate: I strongly believe you should reconsider the (roundish shaped, octagon pressure) button design and replace them so they are 'selectable/targetable' with the 'Look key' as with standard press-able interactable rune type buttons.

    I managed to find the: Iron and Silver Keys, solved two puzzles, disarmed all traps and solved the 2 Codes within that main "grinding Cog room". Albeit I didn't manage to drop the force-field surrounding the Chest in that moving cogs room. Plus I don't think the "Fire Barriers" were dropped. I'm not sure if that's a bug or not regarding the force-field or firewalls.

    The last Forgewraith had a little bit of strange "trigger area" whereas the other in the Cogs room made more sense.


    Charm the wolves with the eyes of a gambler, now I see it's a comfort to you.


    Yes, I did Successfully Complete the Quest! Even though it took me all day, to smash the boxes with my Assassin and her trusted Throwing dagger... ;-)

    Overall you would have "diamond of a quest" there (for flower sniffers) if you resolved the 'non focusable' (round shaped octagon pressure) button visibility issues. Yes, I know not everyone's monitor will display like mine. However, if someone is prepared to spend a significant amount of time doing those Optionals in there. Then don't unfairly punish them with making those buttons too hard to distinguish. :-)

    I haven't gone into great detail and just reiterated those issues that I found most memorable.
    Last edited by DYWYPI; 04-24-2019 at 05:12 AM. Reason: The horn of plenty in a desert of hurt, the corduroy boy in the killjoy shirt. He's a stereotype on ice.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DYWYPI View Post
    Smash and Burn: I revisited this dungeon because I didn't have time to complete it last time... Like I mentioned last time, the Grey buttons are a concern because they are not easy to distinguish from the surface they are attached to.
    Thank you for excellent feedback. I'll see what I can do about those pesky buttons.

  10. #10
    Cosmetic Guru Aelonwy's Avatar
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    So will these guys from the Cogs wilderness zone get decently dressed or what?

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  11. #11
    Community Member DYWYPI's Avatar
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    Flimsy, you'd have possibly been able to get away with the current buttons; if the dungeon room was very brightly illuminated but that would ruin the "grimy industrial" atmosphere of the dungeon.

    Worst case scenario: if you cannot replace the current "buttons" with focusable style buttons or runes? Then you could have the initial "pressure button" in lit-up state (and you have to darken them) though I would still prefer a [Q Key] selectable style object.


    Roll thirteen and I'm out of luck...

    Furthermore: Ilya, I never actually talked much about the quest's [Smash and Burn] "Dice conundrums". I mentioned prior about me successfully solving the two Puzzles within that (Mario) Cog room, you can clearly see me ([Post #8]) sitting one of the solved puzzles.


    She presses a button, to make the gentlemen cry, she rocks a beat to make the hamburger fry.


    However, to be honest to solve that puzzle, which I'm sat on, I basically just used intuition rather actually knowing which value(s) I was aiming towards. Quite possibly the initial puzzle state was close to completed.

    The other two "Dice puzzles" I came across I had a play with for a good handful of minutes. Though didn't really have the time to figure out how they fully functioned. For example, specifically how my movements affected the adjacent columns "pip values". I'd need more time to analyse them before I could likely master it.

    Like I mentioned prior in (Preview 1) [Post #59]: "[...] one of the noticeable effects of my disability is I have a poor or faulty short-term memory and have trouble with sequencing. ...".

    I also get the feeling from the guinea pig player feedback; several other people that attempted the 'Dice puzzles' were slightly stumped. Perhaps if you had a picture of a final dice face pip value drawn on the wall near those puzzles so we knew which number to aim towards, it might help, e.g. 1 single dice face.

    Or perhaps maybe even a readable Scroll or Note (item) nearby, e.g. in unlocked chest that gave hints or a riddle. Like with 'The Prison of the Planes', it would be in keeping with the lore and possibly help a little.

    Its maybe one of those things where some people will kick themselves when they work out what the puzzle is "doing" to the other column values in the more complex versions? Perhaps at some stage someone will be kind enough to place hints on the DDO Wiki. Though I can conclude that some of those "Dice Puzzles" didn't appear to be amongst the easiest DDO puzzles to solve.

    I liked the idea but would need more time to work out how the more complex of those puzzles in that quest functioned.
    Last edited by DYWYPI; 04-24-2019 at 09:58 AM. Reason: Hey baby, you're real cool. We'll go fishing after school.

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