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Epic Education 30: Caught in the Web 1

Caught in the Web pt 1

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 30: “Caught in the Web pt 1” – “Ladies of the Web”

Caught in the Web is the capstone raid of the Menace of the Underdark expansion pack.  Flagging for this raid involves running all 3 quest chains in the pack (a total of 12 quests).  To do this you must first run the Lords of Dust series and the quest Beyond the Rift to get to Eveningstar.

To prepare for the raid you should make sure to have a couple of things.  In addition to fighting Lolth herself there will be an assortment of drow, bebiliths, hezrous, glabrezus, dretches and spiders.  While Lolth, the spiders, and the drow do not have any damage reduction, all of the demons have damage reduction good.  You will also fight undead versions of the drow, spiders, and bebiliths (usually after you kill them).  This gives you a wide variety of available weaponry since the only damage reduction you need to bypass is good damage.

You will need some additional supplies.  Lolth has 2 attacks that must be considered when gearing up.  The first is a healing curse attack that also prevents warforged from reconstructing.  She does have a tendency to spam this attack so keep a healthy stack of curse pots handy.  The second attack is more problematic: a spell point drain attack.  While there is a limited ability to avoid this attack, dps in particular will be unable to do so.  Healers and casters should bring some mnemonic pots and plenty of heal and recon scrolls.  For a boss fight you can often get away with doing a surprising amount of healing with scrolls so even being drained of spell points completely may not require drinking pots, but you should be prepared to drink a couple.  Martial classes that have minor casting, such as rangers and paladins, should consider bringing some smaller versions of mnemonic pots.  Everyone should also consider bringing scrolls, wands, or potion versions of spells they would normally rely on casters for.  Some examples would be greater heroism, resist energy (acid is a common damage type), and even some healing options.

Finally, you might consider spending some time in the demon web explorer area.  Most of the raid is in fact comprised of some of the same islands in the same orientation. While it can seem confusing to navigate (and in the explorer area the web bridges will move around in different instances) it is certainly possible to get a good idea of the map layout by wandering around this explorer area.  Thankfully, the raid is mostly a linear path even with all the twists and turns and it doesn’t change.

The objective is to rescue Ana from Lolth by invading the demon queen’s home: the Demon Web.  You must first find her (this is easy, just go forward from where you zone in).  When you revive Ana you will find her in poor health.  She is immune to healing but not buffs.  It’s a good idea to give her at least a blur and an acid resist to minimize the damage she takes.  If she falls to a low enough health (and its an amazingly low amount) she will be sent back to where you first find her along with a couple of guards.  Ana will follow one person at a time, the last person to talk to her and tell her to “let me be your shield.”  If this person dies then Ana will become leaderless and act upon her own AI, which mostly means she hangs out where she is under her current parameters.  You can change some of Ana’s AI parameters.  First, you can tell her to ignore the orbs (more on this in a moment).  The second is that you can tell Ana not to attack mobs (this is generally considered her preferred setting).  To toggle these settings to “on” or “off” simply talk to Ana and pick the appropriate option.  Ana also has the ability to conjure up a rest shrine.  This costs Ana some health (and if you use this ability more than twice you will lose a chest) but she can summon multiple shrines thought the quest so long as she has enough health to do so.  If by accident you summon 2 shrines at the same time don’t worry, they generally only count as 1 shrine so long as they are summoned near the same time.  However, its usually left to Ana’s babysitter to handle shrine duties.  Often times talking to Ana in any way switches her babysitter so try to avoid that.  If you summon a shrine while Ana is draining an orb she will not use health and you will not “use” one of your available 2 shrines.

The only way to heal Ana is to drain the 4 orbs found throughout the raid.  The first of these is found where you first find Ana.  To get Ana to drain an orb she most have that AI toggled on and her babysitter must stand near an orb. She will then drain the orb over a period of time which will also give her more health.  The orbs are optional (except the first), but you get extra chests by doing so and 1 of the chests is determined by how many hit points Ana has left at the end of the quest.  While these chests do not drop commendations, they do drop the named raid weapons.  To keep Ana out of combat most groups will have a ranged dps or a caster control her.  However, mostly a melee just needs to keep her away from bebiliths (especially during the first Lolth fight).  Generally when attacking Lolth herself Ana will end up just to the side of where Lolth is firing at the melee.

When you first help Ana up Lolth will appear.  You can’t hurt her yet though, she won’t appear to be solid. To make Lolth vulnerable Ana must first shoot her with a magical beam (which she will do even if her attack AI is turned off).  Ana will not do this until she has drained the first orb.  Once Lolth is vulnerable she will appear more solid and the melee can go up and attack her.

Attacking Lolth can be a bit tricky.  Invisible walls exist that block attacks making striking Lolth more difficult.  If you are using martial weapons (melee or ranged) then make sure you are getting consistent die rolls.  If you have your dice turned off you should consider turning it on, it’s the best indicator for attacking Lolth.  You should be getting as many die rolls as swings.  If your die rolls seem slow, adjust your positioning – both your feet position and the direction you are facing can make a difference.  Make sure this is true for normal attacks – special attacks like cleave will hit consistently.  The first fight with Lolth is not very problematic, but the second time you face her is far more challenging to find a spot you can reliably hit her.  A final note on this: don’t get to close, you will fall off the edge (and die) before you run into Lolth (and she is too far away to use auto attack).

Lolth will spawn spider souls while she is active.  I generally advise 2 strategies to deal with these.  The first is to have casters deal with them, generally via AoE spells and SLAs.  Casting a cloud kill on the melee is an effective method of gaining aggro since it lasts for a longer time and the effects of the demon web augments its damage.  The other option is to have the melee kill them while attacking Lolth using their cleave attacks.  The big idea is to keep as much DPS on Lolth as possible.

Lolth only has 1 attack: laser beams.  These beams can be quite vicious however.  They can do a variety of types of damage including a healing curse effect and spell point drain (the amount is not bad on normal but scales up significantly even on hard to about 400 sp per shot).  Everyone needs to be able to deal with their own curses in a timely manner.  Casters and healers will tend to hide behind rocks to avoid Lolth’s eye beams and pop out to heal or shoot Lolth.  Some of the eye beam damage does come with a reflex save (not the curse or spell drain damage) and can be evaded, but dodge, AC, and PRR have no effect on reducing the damage.  However, as long as folks are able to deal with their curses (and she does chain curse so sometimes that’s difficult) healing is not generally difficult so long as trash mobs are kept off the dps.  This is more of an issue during the second Lolth fight.  Ranged DPS should stand with the melee for mass heals and those who find themselves in danger of dying should stay in the pack and not jump out. You can move back a tad to avoid being hit by some of the AoE damage, but going outside of mass heal area of effect is not advantageous because it does not affect Lolth’s ability to shoot you, only your ability to be healed.  Should you die during the Lolth fights on hard or elite you will have a death timer and cannot be raised for a short time.

Those players who run away from Lolth may find themselves running into spell ward traps.  Lolth will spawn these in the vicinity of players who are outside of her attack range.  Their disable DCs are not very high, generally its more problematic to not get interrupted.

During the first Lolth fight she will change tactics and attack you with her legs.  Her primary form will vanish and you will have to attack her legs.  These legs will burst through the ground and can throw players in that area for quite a distance.  If this throws you off the island (or if you fall) you will die and your stone will end up where Ana was found but you will not have a death timer.  You can see where the legs will pop by watching the ground (which can admittedly be difficult) and you can hear the accompanying tremor.  This tremor is perhaps a better indicator because it is more prominent if you a closer to the point of origin.  Once they have popped up, legs will stay up for a few moments and make some knock down attacks.  While a leg is up it can be damaged and you must kill 8 of them to move onto the next phase of the Lolth fight but they do regenerate fully after they retract.  When you kill a leg a bebilith soul and a couple spider souls will spawn.  Some groups will focus on the legs to get them all down and avoid player chucking and kite some of the bebiliths around. Some groups will alternately kill each bebilith as they spawn.  Other groups will split the difference and kill all but 1 leg to reduce the number of legs popping through.  Refer to the party leader for your group’s method of choice.

After the 8th leg is killed Loth will reappear.  Generally groups will have at least 1 bebilith soul to deal with and most groups will kill all of them before resuming their attack on Lolth herself.  When Lolth gets down to about 3% she will retreat. This will open the path for the party to return the way they came and search for an exit, which is beyond where you zoned in.  If you try to flee before this (or if you enter late) you will run into a portal that will teleport you back to the altar where Ana is first found.  There is a door that will briefly close once Ana is helped up but it will open after a few minutes to allow late comers entry.

Once Lolth retreats her hand will appear.  The Hand cannot be killed (indeed it can barely be damaged).  While it is slow it will touch the ground causing an AoE damage spell that includes a Wail of Banshee effect (with level drain).  The best way to deal with the hand is to run away.  Depending on how bad you beat up Lolth prior to the leg phase, her return may be extremely short and sometimes she doesn’t even return, she just sends her hand.  Also at this time a res shrine will appear at the altar you found Ana at.

A final tip, if you are going to have a caster babysit Ana, consider having a melee start her.  To get the first orb depleted you will typically get shot up pretty good and may end up with few spell points left.

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 shamgar.ddocast.com. Join me next time as I continue discussing “Caught in the Web.”  Thanks for listening.