How To Zerg

“This is How we Zerg” is the tentative title of a new show I’ve been thinking of and discussing with the DDO Twitch viewer community.

This came out of my Twtichy Tuesdays #30 show on DDOStream 2015-06-23 with Special Guest Lessah.  We ran Spies in the House and I found myself teaching Lessah how to run it quickly, as well as inform others about the breakables bonus.

The core concept is to teach players how to run quests quickly while maximizing XP.  We would probably start off with a introductory show or two that covers preparation and a very quick low-level quest such as “Kobold’s New Ringleader.”  From there, we would go into other quests and perhaps eventually raids.

I feel that we need a team to host, consisting of myself and 1 or 2 others.  Each episode, we would also have 1 or 2 special guests who cover a specific quest.  We would probably have some intro, run the quest once just to see it, run the quest again slowly while pointing out details and how to handle them, and then finish up with a speedrun or two.  Depending on the quest, it might be worth covering solo vs group as separate runs.

We feel that this is valuable information, but we also want interaction.  With this in mind, it seems as if a livestream (preferably on DDOStream) seems the best choice for recording, and then we will archive each episode off to youtube as well for long-term reference.

As there is more background work and scheduling needed for this kind of show, it probably would not work weekly.  Perhaps every other week or once a month might be best.  We will see once we get the hosts set and figure out our schedules.

This could work as server agnostic.  As long as we can get in group with the special guests each week, it should not matter overly much what characters we run as.  For the first few episodes, we may not have special guests so whichever of the hosts are acting as guest should probably pick the server to ensure they have all the needed resources available.

Skunk_City and Mystwalker67 have agreed to help so far, and several others have expressed interest.

If you want to be part of this, please contact me with a list of quests you zerg regularly (that you would be willing to teach others, 5 quests or 1 chain maximum for now) as well as general guidelines on your availability.

Personally, I can probably do:

  • Spies in the House
  • Druid’s Deep Chain
  • Turn the Tide

And am available MWF after 5pm Eastern US time.

We will probably figure out some focused communications, as well as what we’re using for voice comms, etc shortly.


I ran an 8 hour stream today.
Everything has multiple viewpoints.  I have read the DDO forums for years, but rarely posted.  There is quite a lot of single mindedness in the postings.  There is also some, but not much empathy and looking at statements from different angles.  I don’t see the need to open myself up to the negativity by posting much.

When reading the forums and using only that as your basis for evaluating the game, DDO appears to be horribly broken, boring, annoying, glitchy, not fun, and you start to wonder why anyone plays it.  Which brings to mind the question of who is posting and why if the game is just so bad?

There are, of course, people who complain about everything. Nothing is good enough for them.  Others just find certain things to be aggravating wherever they are found.  But there is also a subset of people who truly enjoy something and get so focused on it that they want it to be perfectly tailored to exactly how they want to experience it.

In any case, I think the forum is not representative of my in-game experiences.  I do not find EE easy.  I do not find HE solo at level laughably easy.  I do not have a stable of TRs.  I do not have very much best in slot named or high end crafted gear.  I have not run every raid in the game at all, let alone 20’s of times. I do find some things annoying, but most of all, I have fun playing.

I was still pretty new when CC came out.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning it with everyone and saw it as a chance to get some really nice gear that I understood exactly how to get and level up.  It was amazing to me to finally have that experience, instead of reading about all this other stuff I had no idea about.  You just went around the zone until the challenge opened, found a group to do a couple runs with, then repeated until you had enough stuff to turn in for what ever you wanted.

A couple CC events later, I was running it every spare moment. I got up early, stayed up late, skipped meals (or ate quickly), and so forth.  It was mind-numbing to keep running that same content hour after hour, but I kept at it in order to get that next item, that next upgrade. Even if it was for one alt that didn’t see much play time and was low level, but would find it useful eventually.

Safe to say, I was glad when the event ended that time. I was so glad to not be running it that I stopped playing entirely for some time.  Which meant that the end result of grinding for all that gear was nothing, as it was not getting used at all. Zero. Ziltch. All that effort. All those hours. Gone.

I see some of the forum posts that people make, and I take them in that sort of light. If your experience is that negative, then maybe you should take a break from the game.  See where you are after some time away.  Do something else, play something else.  You will probably end up happier if you come back after that.

I came back again against my better judgement.  After all, I knew how obsessive I had been before.  I was worried about falling back into that trap.  This time, while I have seen a few times where I kept grinding something late at night, I have not been quite so bad continually or for long at all. And when I have started down that path, I took a break for a day or a week and it went away.  I can have fun just playing how I want to at the time and not get bogged down in the obsessive.

Part of that is the community. In my experience, I run with the same people quite a bit.  Whether it is guildies or pugs, when you play regularly, the same people tend to be on line at the same times on the same days. Sometimes, of course, you are at different levels. Other times, you catch them in the same range as you and do quite a bit of questing together.  I enjoy that.  Even if you aren’t really chatting, just having the shared experiences of a dozen quests is nice.

Back to the forums, I have read several long threads about etiquette.  Particularly pugging. And I understand most of the viewpoints I have seen.  Yes, some people are rude. Newbies and vets can be rude in both similar and different ways.  Some learn to compromise, others are set in their ways.

Ever since I started playing DDO,I have felt I was behind the curve.  So I approached it by reading quite a bit of wiki and forums.  I learned things for myself so that I was prepared when grouping. Most of the rest, I feel, is common sense and courtesy.

Every level, I look at the new quests available and try to find the giver of each.  This saves quite a bit of time when grouping.  Often, I have been the only party member able the share the quest.  It also got me familiar with where the givers are, not to mention the quest entrances.

I generally do not joint a group unless I am already standing outside the quest entrance, particularly when it is already in progress.  There is little reason to, anymore. Most groups do not fill quickly enough to make a difference. An exception can be made if there is a single slot left, you are close to the entrance, in the same zone, or on your ship and the entrance is close to the airship dropoff point.  I feel that being prepared and courteous lime this makes everything go much more smoothly.

I never ask people to wait for me, block quest progress, or go afk in the middle of a quest. Unless the SO can take over for me, or I am sure that nothing will suffer by my afk.  Yes, a real life emergency is a reason. Anything else is simply rude at least, if not stupid, mean, and disrespectful.  Many people only have so much time to play in a day, or maybe they are running with boosters that cost real money. In any case, there is no reason to put your time ahead of anyone else, let alone 11 others.

Some people pug to complete content difficult for their particular build, or to flag for a raid, or farm for an item, or get the most xp from the minimum amount of times, or other reasons.  Sometimes, the lfm has clues such as zerg, or flagging, or need guide which help inform you before you join.  If I know I am not in the mood for that, I simply do not join that group.  Otherwise, I show up outside the quest, ask to join, and head in as soon as I am accepted.

I was in a group recently where someone was kicked.  I saw the lfm, got to the entrance, saw it was in progress, and joined.  A few minutes later someone else joined.  By this time we were about 1/2 way done on EH and at a mini boss battle.  I had just caught up with the group.  The new person asked either what house it was in, or for a share, and was immediately kicked from the party.  Why?

Because the indications, that person would have been unhappy with the group anyway when they arrived to find the quest complete.  Or the rest of the group would have been unhappy having to wait for them. Probably something like that.  I did not ask, just accepted it and moved on.

What could have happened? What might have happened via tells afterwards?  What could the leader or joiner done before it got to that point?

The leader could have put some notes in the lfm. If the quest was not selected in the lfm, they could have done so to make sure the in progress timer was showing.  They could have welcomed the joiner and let them know we were already half done.  They had several options once the battle was done.

The joiner could have paid attention to the lfm.  They could have read the details of the quest in game or looked them up on the wiki.  They could have greeted everyone and asked politely for clarification.  They could have waited to join until they were outside the quest to make sure they knew where to go and not bother several other people who were occupied in the quest already.

I see this particular instance as the joiner being lazy and wanting someone who is already occupied to do something for them that they are able to do themselves.  It is not that I expect everyone to just know everything, common sense is that people inside a quest are busy completing the quest. You are not grouped, not in a quest, so you have time to enlighten yourself before joining.

This is not to say that newbies should be shunned.  No, they can use some help. But someone joining EH is not a newbie.  And individual effort on your own behalf goes a long way towards keeping gameplay fun for everyone.

Inside a quest with a group, I pay attention to party chat and character actions.  Sometimes, particularly in raids, voice chat as well.  It is not hard to figure out the group or leader goals if you stick close to the group and do not aggro anything.  Some might run through groups of mobs while other fight each and every one.  Some skip side routes, others hit them all.  If you join, contribute as best you can towards the group goals.  Each group, even in the same quest, will teach you different ways of completion.

One of the best things I have found is to learn a role or route in each quest, particularly raids.  As long as you know your part, you can contribute every time.  Some leaders assign, some ask, some just let it go for everyone to cover everything. All can work. I have run von 5 maybe 40 times, and did not know what was going on for most of them.  Gradually, I learned to help get conquest at puzzle. Then I learned to clear each side before traps. Then I learned right side, then left side.  Finally, I got to voice and ring.  I have done that twice, not very efficiently, but I can complete it.  One of those, I was leader and no one else wanted to do it.  However, once I stated that I was willing but not confident, someone took the time to walk me through it again.

And that is what an MMO is about, is it not?

DDOStream Debut

DDOStream 2014-11-04 CMorrigu

I had planned on using ShadowPlay, which is what I had been using for all my recordings and streams.  Unfortunately, when I started preparing I  realized that there was no option for a different stream key.  So I had to give myself a crash course in OBS instead.

Obs isn’t that hard to deal with. I used most of the settings from the twitch page, which is out of date a bit.  Only I kept getting a black screen in the preview. And then when I tried to switch back to ShadowPlay, I also got a black screen. You have to shut one down to use the other, I think.

Anyway, I ran a bit on my own channel just to make sure nothing was broken, and ended up with a silent character overview vid at low res.  For some reason, ShadowPlay was set to stream in 480p instead of 720p.  I ended up re-recording a similar video in the higher resolution, which did quite a but for readability of items, etc.  Later, I finally got OBS working with DDO in windowed mode, according to the stream preview.  Just before going live, I tried speaking and that didn’t work.  Not unusual, for some reason on my 8.1 laptop, I have sound issues like that fairly often.  It took a minute or two, then it seemed to be working, so I went live.

I had 2 laptops, a TV, and a tablet all involved so I could keep track of things. Aside from those setup annoyances and having to run windowed, it went well technically.  I will probably look into overlays and other fun stuff for OBS in the coming weeks.

I didn’t have much of a plan, so I did a short hello then started running a daily epic series. Druid’s chain, DDtW, Partycrashers, and Devil Assault.  This kept the action going on screen while I did some commentary and background. I figured it might take some time for people to tune in, with it being the first week, time zones, and so forth.

Cordovan made a couple comments in chat, so I knew it was all working.  There was a comment or two from random viewers, but not much traffic at first.

From there, it took off a bit. Chatters grouped up with me in game, I joined a few groups running quests I wanted to play, and chat picked up. It worked itself out pretty well.

The most frequent question was which server. Thelanis. I’ll have to see about getting that put somewhere prominent.  There were some other questions about build, gear, quests, chat commands, etc.  I think I should make an email address for those, and advertise it so as to have some in stock to start out the stream with.

I won’t always be on the same character, but it will be on Thelanis. I gave an overview of my top 3 most played characters on stream.  Depend on schedules, my SO might be joining me next time. This first go was too hectic to give up a machine for, I think it will be fine next time.

I did look up some forum threads, so I have more topics for discussion if chat doesn’t prompt. And I tried to watch Cordovan’s stream earlier today for new topics as well, though I was mobile and didn’t catch it all.

Thank you to Cordovan for the opportunity, and the community for the support.