Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Endless Tower

The observant reader will notice that I have no part in Timmie's story of reuniting with his friend. The reason? I was probably out cold at the time. My sleep "schedule" has been so messed up lately that...well, here's an example.

This post is being made at 12:20 PM, which feels approximately like 12:20 PM, since I went to sleep at a reasonable time last night. The pictures in this post come from approximately 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM yesterday...which at the time felt something like 5 in the morning. Never mind when I went to sleep before that.


So I logged in at my 'ungodly hour' to see what mischief I could get into as long as insomnia wouldn't let me sleep. Instantly I got a party invitation for some party called "Endless." Turns out I'd logged in right in the middle of the gathering place for people headed for The Endless Tower - a special dungeon of 101 floors filled with the hardest bosses in the game.

As people gathered, it became pretty obvious that I was outclassed: everyone here had 'tranced' - trancended, or rebirthed into the next level of character.

They also came with killer equipment, where I was using the basics: here's screenshot of one guy's equips (he'd unlocked it briefly to show a party member his helm). The pic was, if you couldn't tell, taken out of envy for his sprint ring...

Eventually, once people stopped arriving, we set off for the tower. I didn't take any pictures of it, but basically you go south a little way from where we were in the last screenshot, talk to a captain guy, agree to pay him 10k, and listen to his story. After he's done talking, he'll take you to a tiny island with a rock on it. If your party leader has created the instance already, click the rock, and it'll let you in.

Here we are on floor 23, blasting things apart:

We had some truly amazing priests along with us, by the way. There were three of them, and keeping track of who had been buffed with what at what time, who needed what at any given time, and who had done what so they didn't overlap buffs is an unenviable job. I don't have screenshots of it, unfortunately, but they also did an amazing job of keeping everyone alive - healing people (and yourself!) in the middle of a gigantic battle is no mean feat.

Of course, this is hardest dungeon in the game, and they couldn't protect us from everything:

I believe that's floor 45, with the Samurai MVP (Most Valuable Player; a kind of boss where players get prizes depending on how much damage they do to it) and his loyal Shinobi followers. Never mind the little guys, that boss did some kind of AoE attack and BAM everyone but the Lord Knights was dead.

As it said in the picture, we had to wait for one of our priests to run back up the tower - I think it's possible to skip to floor 25, 50, etc, if you've been there already and use Ashes (special item automatically acquired in the tower), and the floors are extremely small maps. That said, floor 25 to 45 is still a bit of a jog.

Eventually they began to cautiously revive people, starting with those furthest away from the (offscreen, fortunately) gigantic boss.

I wish I had a picture of him, but, well, this will have to do:

So we moved on. In the course of climbing the tower, it'd become apparent that I'd have to frantically bail out my inventory as we went: items are acquired automatically, and if enough built up, I wouldn't be able to regenerate HP and SP any more. For a mage, that means a swift, magicless death.

Losing items didn't really bother me, as I was in Endless for fun and exp, but there was one item I was really sad to part with: a massive 250-pound weapon known as "Bardiche." Given that Timmie had created a cast of Nanoha characters...well, who wouldn't want to see Signum with a Bardiche? ('Fate sama' wouldn't be able to use her precious weapon because she's a mage and this weapon is only for swordsman characters.) Alas, 250 pounds was too much for my feeble mage. It joined the litter on the floor.

Much bailing later, we arrived at floor 50, home of a motionless monstrosity known as Amon Ra. You would think that a monster that never moved and was unimpressively sized wouldn't be much of a challenge. You'd be wrong.

It's kind of hard to see, but take a look at that max HP: 1,214,318. What you can't see is the reason those people are dead: Amon Ra insta-casts Meteor Storm on anyone in his range. Additionally, he summons a deadly group of peons if provoked.

The fact that we got him down to anywhere near half HP is a testament to the kind of firepower we had, and the awesomeness of our priests. Apparently we were supposed to have brought a sniper along; when I looked up Amon Ra I discovered why. If you're in range, as I said, MS and summon. However, there's also a list of certain spells that will set him off (50% chance to summon more monsters). One of those spells was Storm Gust, which one of our High Wizards had been casting as much as possible on him...Add to that the fact that Amon Ra is weak against fire, not water, and you begin to see our problem. (Which is to say, most of us didn't know what we were doing.)

Add to that the fact that half of us spoke one language and half another...

...Well, in short, we didn't beat him. Around the time that picture was taken, our priests began to run out of blue gemstones (necessary to resurrect), and people began to give up and leave.

So while I was impressed with our group's firepower and priests, the teamwork and preparation left something to be desired.

I'm looking forward to trying this tower with a guild.

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