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Epic Education 18: Tower of Despair pt1

Hello and welcome to Epic Education – a show of tips and tactics for surviving epic content.  I’m your guide Shamgar and this is Episode 18: “The Tower of Despair pt 1” alternatively titled “Dressing for Success.”

The Tower of Despair was the first level 20 raid released in DDO and is also known as the quest “The Devil You Know” or simply ToD.  It is part of the Devils of Shavarath adventure pack and requires adventurers to actually travel to the Plane of Shavarath.  This pack continues the storyline of the Vale of Twilight and the events replayed in the Chronoscope.

Flagging is a fairly simple process.  There are 4 quests required for flagging: Sins of Attrition, Bastion of Power, New Invasion, and Genesis Point.  Once you complete all 4 of these quests you are flagged, you do not need to rerun them.  You do however need to perform one more task before you are ready to run the raid.

The entrance to the raid is in a small public area called the Tower Cave.  It’s entrance is located deep within the Devil Battlefield adventure area. That’s a problem however because you can’t enter the Battlefield when you are in a raid group.  You can however teleport directly from the town of Amrath to the cave via the same portal you use to enter the Battlefield, but only after you have run to the cave.  New players will

likely need someone to show them the way but the fastest way to do this is to stay invisible while you run there.  This will keep the alert somewhat manageable and let you avoid fighting.  Of course if you want to you can kill everything on the way, it just takes longer. When you first get to the cave talk to the Yugoloth standing near the entrance to the Tower of Despair.  He will give you 4 options, one of which asks if there is a way to come back to this cave quickly.  Be careful though, one of the options is if you can return to Amrath and if you take this option before marking yourself for the quick teleport back you will have to run back out to the cave again.

Be warned, if you join a group and you haven’t yet run to the cave you may simply be booted from the group, especially if it is full or near full.  After you join a tower group, if you haven’t run out to the cave and you don’t know the way there you should immediately ask if someone would be willing to show you the way.  By being up front, timely, and polite you increase your chances of being helped.  Waiting 20 minutes until the group is full before asking is poor manners and a one way ticket out of most groups.  I confess that I have flat out left people behind that have waited this long to try and run out on their own.  Those that are quick to ask I will help find someone to show them the way when I’m leading a group.

Party make up is mostly determined by the final fight of the raid.  This fight has not 1, but 2 bosses to fight simultaneously. While it is not required that both bosses are defeated, they do need to be controlled.  This is most commonly done with 2 tanks. The optional boss doesn’t do to much dps and his tank can easily be healed by 1 person and certain characters can even self heal. Because this boss uses healing curses it is common for parties to use a warforged tank with a caster using recons, but this is not required.  Fleshy tanks just need to be decursed regularly.  Bards can also serve as this healer, even non healing bards (though they may find this increasingly difficult on higher difficulties).  It is worth noting that you will fight this boss for a shorter period of time than the main boss.

The second and primary boss does more dps and is fought for a longer period of time.  If you want the optional of defeating the second boss you must do so before defeating the main boss.  While it is not necessary, especially at lower difficulties, most parties will  use 2 hardcore healers on the primary tank.  An experienced healer can solo heal this tank, but it will likely be more resource intensive depending o the tank build.

These bosses will determine 4-5 members of the party: 2 tanks and 2-3 healers for those tanks (possibly 1 or 2 of these are arcane casters if using warforged tanks – but we will still need some healing for the fleshy folks).  The rest of the party can be pretty much anything.  If they aren’t included in your healing solutions a bard and 1-2 casters can be helpful and some extra healing can also be handy.  However, much of the rest of the party should be dps because when it comes down to it, the faster you can kill the bosses the easier your raid will be.  It is certainly advantageous if some of your dps party members have some versatility (bards and rogues are especially useful for this). Finally, while its not necessary, a light monk can be a great benefit to the party as well.  This is because they can use their special finishing move ‘earth grasp’ to prevent the party (especially the healers) from getting stunned by the primary boss.

While it is not entirely necessary, there is one more preparation to consider before we start the raid.  The primary boss in the end fight uses a special spell called blasphemy. This spell has 2 primary effects.  The first is a stun effect that has no save (hence the popularity of light monks).  The second effect does have a will save, but it’s a banishment effect.  If you fail your save you will be immediately transported back to Stormreach.  While you can re-enter the raid (even after its been completed so long as someone stays in to wait for you) and get a completion, you won’t be able to get back to the end fight to help finish and you won’t get any of the end loot.

There are a few ways to prevent being banished.  The first is not foolproof and for some characters it’s a very weak defense: the will save.  The needed save is in the high 30s to low 40s on normal and gets higher on hard and elite.  It’s worth noting that key players (mostly the primary tank and healers) should not use this as their primary defense and it is advisable that at most 1 maybe 2 people in the party use this defense.  This spell does have a range to it and the secondary boss is usually fought outside this range but the spell range grows on higher difficulties and even on normal it fully encompasses normal healing range (enlarge spell will allow you to heal from beyond blasphemy range at least on normal).

The second method is to use a spell absorbing item.  Scarabs of absorption are good for 50 spell levels of absorption, but they are only a one time use item.  Once they absorb 50 spell levels the item disappears and if it doesn’t have enough charges left it won’t stop the spell.  A similar item is the pale lavender ioun stone.  If it is not upgraded it will stop 20 spell levels, but if it’s upgraded it not only stops 50 spell levels but it will recharge 15 charges per rest.  There are 2 more similar options: the mantle of the worldshaper and the epic phiarlan mirror cloak both have 5 charges that absorb 1 spell per charge, regardless of level and recharge 1 per rest.  Any one of these items should be sufficient for a normal or hard run if used effectively and can even suffice on elite.  But there are some things to know about using these items.

The first is that blasphemy will actually hit these items twice, once for the banish effect and once for the stun effect.  This means that their charges will be used twice as fast as you might think.  However, there is some good news – these effects trigger AFTER other defenses like the will save and a monk’s earth grasp which can save some charges.  We must be mindful that these charges should be protected as much as possible though.  That means you don’t want to wear these items until this last fight begins.  These items also stop ALL harmful spells so wearing them before this last fight will drain their charges. You also need to watch out for other spells the bosses cast.  Meteor swarm in particular will drain charges for each of the 4 balls severely depleting any of these items.  For this reason these items are not a viable option for melee characters.  Healers, casters, and ranged characters can however use them without losing much of their contribution to the party.  Of these items the easiest to acquire is the mantle of the worldshaper.  It is on the end reward list of the Ruins of Threnal quest chain which can be run in under an hour by someone who knows what they are doing and is over level.

Some spells can assist in protection from blasphemy by providing an additional layer of defense for those relying on absorption  items or their will save.  Spell resistance does work to block the spell and will do so before using absorption charges.  This means items, abilities or the spell can help protect from both the stun and banish effects.  The spell holy aura will also give a boost to saves against blasphemy and as an added bonus gives everyone a blindness guard which will help against the trash mobs. Used in combination with a high will save and an absorption item these spells can be an effective solution to being banished.  However, particularly on elite this end fight can last  for quite a long time and most strong melee don’t have a high enough will save and will be hit by far too many spells to use an absorption item while fighting the bosses.  Therefore we need another solution that works for these characters, otherwise our tanks and dps would all be tossed from the raid.

By far the most effective preventative solution to being banished are the boots of anchoring.  You can get these boots by turning in the following 4 ingredients to the planescaller in Amrath: devil’s keepsake, demon’s blood, mysterious artifact, and pure iron.  These ingredients can be found in the flagging quests Sins of Attrition, Bastion of Power, New Invasion, and Genesis Point respectively.  You can also find iron and keepsakes in the quest Weapons Shipment and blood and artifacts in the quest Wrath of Flame which are both also in the Battlefield.  Additionally, boot ingredients can be found on the higher difficulties of Devils Assault and as rare end rewards for The Shroud.  By turning 1 of each of these you can get a pair of booties.  So long as your boots are on you can’t be banished, but you can still be stunned.  For this reason some healers and casters use both boots and a spell absorption item.  This way they are protected from stuns and banishments for a longer period of time.

That will end this week’s Epic Education.  If you have any questions, comments, or corrections you can email me at DDOEpicEducation@gmail.com or visit myDDO blog at my.ddo.com/pjstechie. Join me next time as I continue discussing the Tower of Despair.  Thanks for listening.

Comments (3)

  1. DeadRabbat

    You should’ve added the Boots of Anchoring. These are boots for the Raid. There are 4 pieces that are required to make the boots. One part is located in each of the 4 flagging quests. Or you can do the two side quests for chance to get the pieces as well, for the 2 side quest each drop 2 of the ingreds but this is lower then the flagging quests.

    Once you have the four pieces you go to the One who can teleport you back to the twelve, and she will make the boots for you. If you have these boots, you can stand around all day and no banishment. Only draw back is No haste or Rage can be applied once you wear the boots. The Boots are only needed for the End fight.
    Also Mantle of the Worldshaper is good as are the dusty rose Ioun stones (i believe those are the ones.)

  2. DeadRabbat

    Bah, read it all except last paragraph. My bad. sorry for the reiteration.

  3. […] offers tips on running Tower of Despair on Epic in his latest Epic Education. Click here for Part 1, and click here for Part […]

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