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Epic Education Episode 12: The Speed Shroud

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 12: “How to Speed Shroud” alternatively titled “thisisashroudspeedcompletiononlynoddoorlootingchestsattheendstyleshroud”

 

Today I take a break from epic content and will discuss The Shroud.  It’s a raid that’s been around for several years but remains one of the most frequently run raids in the game due to its greensteel crafting and 20th end reward lists which consists of +2 and +3 tomes. Because of the nature of greensteel crafting, the shroud is a raid you will likely end up running hundreds of times if you continue playing end game for any length of time. 

 

This episode will not be a comprehensive guide to the shroud.  Instead I will be focusing on how to speed up your shroud raids. After a couple hundred runs, spending 40 minutes completing the shroud becomes tedious.  You don’t necessarily need to do all of these suggestions, but they will drastically shorten your shroud raids if you use them.

 

Before we start our shroud run, lets go over the ground rules.  Players put variations of ‘speed shroud’ in their lfms with increasing frequency but what does it mean?  Typically such a shroud will be run in 1 of 2 ways.  The important thing is to respect the rules the party will be following.  A quick word to the leaders – be very up front with how your party will run the raid and if you put ‘speed shroud’ in your lfm don’t get upset with people pushing the party forward – remember you asked for it. 

 

Most groups will allow people to leave the raid just before completion.  Many people like to farm the shroud and run it multiple times on each character, though generally such players only have a small number of characters to play or they are looking for shards to craft.  Such a group will loot their chests along the way (though some may choose to wait until after the raid is completed to loot).  Once Harry is defeated the second time players who chose to do so will leave the raid.  These groups will often put in their lfm that a Ddoor will be available.  It is very important that if your group is running this way that you do not activate the final altar until everyone who is leaving has done so. 

 

Those that are leaving should ignore any Ddoors cast and instead recall out of the raid.  This will allow you a chance to interrupt your leaving the raid if someone does activate the final altar so you can at least get a chance at the final chest.  If you take a Ddoor then you will have to go through a load screen to the beginning of the raid and once you have taken the Ddoor you cannot get back to the rest of the quest.  It happens all the time, someone is still in the load screen and the final altar is activated.  That player has not only got an unwanted completion and a raid timer, but they missed out on their last 2 chests.

 

So why do people always take a Ddoor if it’s a bad idea to leave the raid early this way?  The reason goes back far into the past when the raid was still new.  Recalling from the raid did not send you to meridia, but rather to the city of stormreach.  Players would then have to travel back to meridia for their end reward.  This bug was fixed long ago, but players still constantly cast Ddoor as an exit strategy.

 

The second way of running a speed shroud is to not allow for players to leave early. Generally such LFMs will say ‘no DDoor’ or ‘completion only.’ These groups may or may not loot along the way but once harry has been defeated in part 5 that final altar is going to be activated quickly.  Some of these groups will ask that you not loot until after the raid is completed.  The reason they will do this is to keep everyone together.  Players tend to get strung out more if they are looting, dealing with full inventories, passing extra shards around, and waiting for players who have disconnected.  Its not because the actual task of looting takes too much time, its because of how much different player pacing becomes when looting.

 

The big idea with the ground rules is to read the lfm and listen to any such instructions given by the party leader.  Players who run shrouds in this manner can be very understanding of a brain fart and an accidental looting – but they will not tolerate players who continually refuse to follow these instructions and do not contribute to the raid.  Leaders be up front about your rules, everyone else follow those rules or find another shroud group that fits your style.

 

So, now that our ground rules have been established, lets begin raiding.

 

Many parties zone in and start buffing.  We’re not going to do that.  Zone in, talk to the lady at the entrance and head on through the portal.  While you are waiting for the portal to be opened, cast a haste and a rage, and any other quick group buffs you can get off before going through the portal.  If you need more than a haste to kill the scouting party in phase 1 your entire party should consider rerolling.  You will find that stopping before every part to buff is the majority of the time you spend in the shroud, and you will see a trend here to cut that out as much as possible.

 

Phase 1 consists of killing just over a dozen portals.  Once the first of these portals opens the entire party will congregate there.  Lets take this opportunity to make sure everyone gets a haste, rage, bard songs, prayer, and anything else you can use to increase sustained damage output.  Casters will make light work of any trash, though the main party can kill any leftovers.  The big idea with the portals is that everyone participates.  And when I say everyone, I mean everyone – no one should be watching even the healers.  Anyone can use a 2 handed smiter or greater construct bane weapon.  These portals don’t have a high armor class.  Chaotic and holy weapons also apply their damage to the portals.  Now its not necessary that everyone go out and find the bestest portal beaters available, but everyone can swing a weapon and divine players can also use divine punishment while fvs can use their lantern archons.  However, players should not use all of their action boosts – save some for part 2 because at the end of part 1 only the casters and perhaps the healers should use the shrines.  Everyone else should have no problem continuing on to part 2 without shrining, and often even at least 1 healer wont need to shrine either (if you want you can assign a healer to be this person so they can plan ahead with their spell points).  Really, you are fighting portals…they don’t even hit back.

 

Parties that are going for speed records will often times split into 2 sometimes even 3 parties to kill the portals in an effort to reduce the amount of running they will do, but this is not necessary.  Follow whatever portal path is the norm for your server.  Near the end of the portals assign someone (typically a caster or a ranger with manyshot) to destroy the crystal in part 2 and do any lieutenant assignments your server uses.  This will save you time in part 2.  At the last portal cast a fresh haste, rage, bard songs and a deathward.  Those that need to can shrine, the rest should go directly to part 2.

 

In phase 2 everyone should run to the south part of the maze and pull any trash with them.  Gather here to kill the trash and then head to the center of the maze to activate the lieutenants.  There are multiple ways to divide the 4 lts and kill them and I won’t go into that, but here’s what we aren’t going to do – prep them down to 10% before killing them.  Aside from the kobold, bezekira (often called the cat or lion), and the fire elemental, these guys are pretty slow at getting back to the center.  Pull them to your kill zones and then slay them where they stand.  The party will need to do some coordinating, but decent dps will allow you to finish this part without having to wait until each lt is down to 10% before killing them off.  Make sure to kill the cat and the fire elemental last if you have them though and coordinate separating so they don’t keep each other alive.  The player on the crystal needs to be ready – you may not have a lot of time to destroy the crystal once all 4 lts are dead.  Casters can use mouse look targeting to stack firewall on the crystal before the shield goes down and once that shield is down, throw everything you have at it.  If you need to, you can always re-pull the lts.  Once you’ve done it this way a few times it will become second nature.  After the phase is complete, this would be the time to shrine before heading into phase 3.  No buffs are required, but you will need your thinking caps.

 

The 3rd phase is puzzles.  There are guides and solvers available and I’ll provide a link for an old forum post that gives an excellent description for how to solve the square puzzles and a few posts in also has a demonstration of how to solve the circle.  The key in this phase is for everyone to participate by solving their puzzle and running a water to their puzzle.  If you need help with your puzzle its no big deal, but you should consider running an extra water when you get let out to help in the parties effort to finish quickly.  Groups going for land speed records generally ignore the puzzles and just break the crystals for a faster, albeit slightly cheaper, completion.  Once this phase is completed head into part 4.  If you need a fire resist or a freedom of movement ask for it on your way and if you need poison neutralization drink a pot.  But don’t wait in part 3, we are going to gather in part 4 instead of buffing here.  Phase 3 requires at most some light healing, so since we just shrined in part 2 no one should need to shrine here.

 

Phase 4 is the first fight with Harry, the boss of the shroud, but first theres some devils to kill.  Once a healer lands start killing the devils.  When casters land they should toss haste rage, songs and mass protection of elements.  There is a brief pause before the final 4 devils that can be a good moment to group up and haste, but I generally also toss the melees a haste and rage a few seconds after Harry enters the fight.  The goal in part 4 is to kill Harry in 1 round.  That means that casters can and absolutely should nuke, maybe saving enough spell points to quickly kill 1 round of gnolls if the party cannot achieve a 1 round kill.  Stay in through the blades and healers be ready to make an adjustment for the extra incoming damage.  If lag is terribly bad the party may need to back out during the blades.  After Harry is defeated give everyone a chance to shrine before going through the last portal.  Many people either step in front of the altar or jump on top of it to indicate they are ready to proceed.  Your healers will appreciate the opportunity to shrine.  There’s no reason to buff here.

 

In phase 5 you will need to kill the 4 lieutenants again.  Most parties will leave one alive and either kite it or box him in while the healers and casters fill up on spell points.  We aren’t going to do that.  Seperation is key to killing these 4 minibosses – if you have agro for one of them try and drag him away from the others into an empty corner.  You can assign a kill order or even players to pull the lts, but its not necessary.  While this is going on if you need resist fire or freedom of movement you should again ask for it and drink a pot for poison neutralization.  Once the 4 minibosses are dead surround Harry and hit him with everything you have.  It’s the last fight so casters should again nuke until they are empty, then play in the pools and nuke some more.

 

With a little practice a decently geared competent guild can easily start completing shrouds in as little as 20 minutes even with several PUGs.  The key is to buff on the run and keep moving.  Most players I’ve seen introduced to this method have found it vastly more enjoyable as the pacing keeps everything moving.  Some people refuse to even run shrouds any other way now.

 

Oh, one last thing, if you didn’t loot your chests along the way, don’t forget to use the portals to go back through the quest to get your loot.

 

That will end this week’s Epic Education.  If you have any questions, comments, or corrections you can email me at DDOEpicEducation@gmail.com that’s all one word.   Join me next time as I discuss Epic Demon Queen.  Thanks for listening.