In the beginning, there was no God.
No, I’m serious. I’ve led players through countless dungeons in RecRoom, through grueling levels, and past the undead hoards, by GOD, this was no ordinary child. Collin-with-whatever-numbers-you-had-attached-to-your-name, had his heart set on seeing how long it would take to break our fellowship.
There are nine levels of Hell, or rather, nine levels that lead up to this epic witch’s cauldron showdown. I don’t know who the other two players were. I only knew them as the competent one and the dazed one.
Collin-with-his-many-numbers died…but not enough to set up any alarms. Again, I’ve played with a lot of players. I can usually tell pretty quickly when things are going to take a turn for the worse. If it’s level one or two, I bail. Colin-the-numbered-one flew below the radar for that first level, but I should have seen the signs.
“Oh, shit!” he would cry “Enemies everywhere!” he’d lament, running around. I heard him shouting as Competent, Dazed, and I took care of everything. It was one of the fastest completions of level one that I have ever done. So, honestly, those cries of “Where are you guys? Where are the enemies?” fell on deaf ears as I merely waited patiently for Collin-of-the-simple-numbers to get his sh** together and join us on the platform.
It’s this raised up part that has a lock symbol on the wooden tiles. In order to unlock it, all players have to stand on it at the same time. This unlocks the door that lets you move on to the next level. If anyone leaves the platform after it is unlocked, it’s no biggie. You can continue through the door and drag them with you.
Again, the warning signs went unheeded as the next level became unlocked in a relatively timely manner (level one really doesn’t have that much space, so it’s pretty easy to figure out).
OMFG. Oh, the Collin-of-who-cares-what-numbers must have set off some warnings, because I hid in my usual nook. By usual, I mean the nook where I can keep an eye on the enemies that spawn in the first hallway as well as the players around me. (It’s like an L-shaped area and I hide in that corner piece). Well, I shot off one arrow. Just one. Why not a volley? Why not kill off the measly three goblins? Well, well, well. I would have. But, I am true to my nature, and I restrained myself out of habit. And glad am I that I did! Any time you play with anyone, it is polite to not hit your teammates and kill them, even if they are stupid and jump in front of an archer loosening arrow after arrow. Competent held back, but Dazed went right into what would have been my second shot, had I not restrained myself.
When Competent saw that Dazed did not die, for he saw that I knew what the F*** I was doing even if Dazed didn’t know what was happening, Competent charged in.
Both of them.
How? With a mere three goblins attacking them? And them wielding two swords? (really difficult to die with two swords if you know what you’re doing, as Competent did and Dazed appeared to know how to do as well). Well! Who could possibly be to blame?
Me. They blamed me for that one. I kept my mouth shut as I didn’t care. I saw Collin-I-think-there-was-a-two-in-there fire the most hated weapon in The Curse of the Crimson Cauldron – the wand. And who did he hit? Not enemies! Just Competent and Dazed. One hit. Dead.
Then he charged in and more enemies spawned. More cries of “Enemies everywhere! Help me! We’re going to die!” rang in my ears as he panicked and ran in a circular movement.
I killed the enemies with my bow, nimbly avoiding the Collin-pretty-confident-about-that-two as he meandered around and deftly avoided reviving our fallen companions. Then I revived the two and we started the next part of the preliminary part of level two.
Remember how I said there were nine levels? Yeah, you’re in for a bit of a read. Why? Because I can’t let it go. Enjoy the rant, or escape now. You have been warned.
Where was I? Oh, Competent and Dazed were dead under the old tree just before the serene cabin (totally a nice setting, until all the imps spawn and shoot fireballs at you. Not cool.). Oh, I know I said they were revived by me, but you see, as we exited that L tunnel, it did another L and they died because while they were battling oh, I want to say six or eight imps, Collin-with-a-two-in-his-name turned the corner, screamed about enemies and being surrounded, and killed Dazed and Competent. To be clear. They were kicking butt. Until they were shot by a child with a wand who panicked easily.
I wasn’t blamed for that one.
There was some unhappy grumbling from Dazed and Competent. There were fewer as I took out the enemies that the child with the wand failed to hit (seriously don’t think he killed any, but he was firing that wand). Thankfully, the wand was always facing forward, so my being in the back kept the party intact.
Oh, and once again, he ran ahead and left the dead to me to revive. His cry as he ran? “I can’t revive! I have things in my hands!” -_-
There were no enemies. It takes the push of a button to drop a weapon and slap an ally’s hand to revive them. Then, click another button to pick up the weapon again. This is proper etiquette…particularly when you’re the one who killed them!!!
Ha ha ha. We expected too much.
At this point, I was torn on what to do.
So yeah, I went with option 3. Collin-who-cares charged into the cabin, drank potions willy-nilly, fired off a new crossbow, and then died shortly after that as the enemy spawned all around the cabin without him knowing because, as predicted, he wasn’t paying attention.
Competent and Dazed did too well. They didn’t run ahead and trigger too many enemies, so we actually succeeded in clearing the area with only two friendly-fire deaths from trigger happy Collin-seriously-don’t-care-right-now.
Oh, and I wasn’t one of those deaths. The cautious nature pays off. It doesn’t get your husband in the game with you, though. Ah, well, plenty of time for strategizing that. (Oh, what a fool I was!)
Yeah, so from there, I charged forward, killed a wave by myself, and then promptly retreated, as is the smart thing to do, regardless of other players, but also especially with other players. And I promptly ran into a dead Dazed. He was happy to be revived, seeing how the other two left him.
Oh, did I mention that Collin-whatever-number was dead and crying out for help? Oh, and did I mention that he was waaaaaay far ahead of the team? Surrounded by enemies? Well, I ignored him and sought out Competent, who was also dead. I have no idea what killed him, other than the wand-happy child triggering too many enemy spawning events. Yeah, that was probably it.
Three revived comrades later, and someone is shot by you know who. They’re revived. Chaos and screaming ensues as you know who kept running around the final section screaming about enemies dropping from the sky and we’re all gonna die. He died. We lived. Moving on.
The Goblin camp level is one large room (relatively open and easy) with trees everywhere and a stage with a fire and some goblins on it. Whatever. Scene set. And, besides some deaths, some screams for revival, some screams about enemies everywhere, yeah, that level actually went pretty well.
I became complacent. Lulled into the belief we would be just fine.
The level before the swamp. It’s a…uh…introductory level? Like, it introduces two new types of enemies to the player. You need a sword to kill the small witches that show up and blast orbs at you. It’s a lot like fighting Ganon (Legend of Zelda), only on easy mode because you only have to reflect the orb back once. Easy mode isn’t easy for noobs.
Now…uh…how do I describe this? I mean…there are…uh…methods that work, and there are methods that work that have a low probability of success. The three I was with all opted for low chances of success options. Collin-was-there-really-a-two-in-there opted for no sword and blasting with a wand. He died. Uh, Dazed opted for standing directly below the witch and swung his sword haphazardly. He died. To clarify here, the wand does nothing and standing below the witch means you have to have impeccable timing for hitting that orb or you have zero chance for recover, and by that, I mean ducking and avoiding the attack. Competent also opted for directly below the witch. He at least had two swords at this point and was flailing them like a crazy person flails their arms while screaming about ghosts in their hair.
Competent survived one attack, killed the first witch, and died from the second. I revived the other two and settled in for a long level.
The witches, for the first part, were easily taken care of, and we progressed. Well, no one communicated very well. I had tried giving tips, but I was ignored.
Anyway, everyone died in the swampy room, pretty much mere seconds after one another. I had saved Dazed maybe three times in a row as goblins swarmed behind him. He was so not paying attention. It was too funny seeing him turn around only to see a goblin fall dead right at his feet. I wasn’t so quick on that fourth goblin, and he died. Still, I cleared the immediate area and he was back to slashing away at things.
Well, like I said, they all three died within seconds of one another. I was on the upper stairs and heard the other two go down in the swampy area below while ‘Wand-y’ there decided to stand still and fiddle with a sword and take a direct hit from a fireball and go, “Oh.”
Fast forward, and I take on the big bad barrel knights with an arrow to an explosive arrow. All this while Collin-no-one-knows-these-numbers was screaming, “what are those things?! It won’t die! AAAAAAAAAAH” and so on.
I said I used a barrel, but no one cared. I was ignored.
Then, I did my usual kick-assery and killed enemies before they could fully spawn. To be clear, I have a favorite high-ground spot that keeps me out of enemy range and out of friendly-fire range (so long as the one who does friendly-fire isn’t shooting randomly, which Collin-not-feeling-so-sure-about-that-two-anymore didn’t usually do).
The level was conquered with only a few more casualties and some more kick-assery from me. If I do say so myself. Also, I was ignored again as I single-handedly took on and killed a barrel knight. Lame. I deserved better.
This has got to be the most annoying level ever. This is the only one where the swampy floor is deadly. Two were dead right off the bat (Can you guess who?). Competent and I cleared the first section, and I took off for the middle portion.
Before I did, however! I must point out that somehow, Collin-the-kid-with-the-numbers-in-his-name lost all of his weapons. I don’t know how that is possible. Like, seriously. Only the lava level destroys weapons. That means, he dropped them and left them behind somewhere. Instead of doing the responsible thing – oh, no! That would have been too good for him! – he opted for the irresponsible thing. Screaming his head off.
“I don’t have any weapons! Give me your bow! I need weapons! Give me a weapon! I’m going to die without one! HELP ME!!!!”
I would like to point out that as he yelled these things, there was no combat going on. There were no enemies spawned. We were all safe, unless you were Dazed and thought the green swamp water looked like fun and ope! He’s dead again.
Well, I knew where spare weapons were, so while Collin-the-child-who-probably-doesn’t-even-know-his-own-numbered-name cried out for mercy, I threw weapons at his face. I was already moving away before he even realized what I’d done. He did say thank you, but I’m like 50% confident there was an “About time” attitude or statement to it. Make that 70% sure. Oh, heck, it’s my retelling. The kid was an arse. His reply was 100% full of sass.
Anyway, back to my going to the middle section. Competent watched me clear the middle and then I cleared, also on my own, the second to last section. All on my own. All while hearing the pings of death as my comrades failed to be useful. Ok, to go back a bit, Competent didn’t have any long-range weapons, and he went back to find some so he could do a better job of participating.
All three were dead at that point, so I had to go all the way back to the beginning, a winding snaking path through the swamp, and revive them all. Lame.
Meanwhile, Competent ran off and triggered the final enemies and took them on alone. He did well. I helped clear them up, and then we both noticed that Dazed and Collin-why-do-the-names-always-have-numbers were not with us.
Go back. Both dead. Revive. Walk behind. Revive. Patiently guide them both through. This requires building a child proof bridge. Oh, and only to learn that the reason Collin-6-may-have-been-in-there can’t jump. The reason? One of his controllers isn’t working. I told him you have the same button on the other controller. He didn’t respond. I checked my mic settings to make sure I was in fact not muted, and lo-and-behold! I had muted myself. I unmuted, but Collin-there-may-have-been-two-sixes argued about the button and kept dying because he refused to jump.
I did my best to get him across, but when I lost my patience, I went to the exit and I stepped on it.
This is a big deal here. This is the only level where you trigger a mini-boss, and you do it by clearing the area and stepping on the exit. It’s a bad idea to fight it alone, but I was angry. And just for clarification here, the mini-boss is a bog monster with a big fishy head that’s about half the height of a tree (in-game). It has several tentacles that shoot bombs at you while its face fires three round blasts (none of which can be deflected and must be dodged). Oh, and did I mention he’s inside the you-touch-you-die, you-fall-in-it-you-die, or if-your-name-is-Collin-and-you-look-at-it-you-die swamp? I’ve solo’d this quest before, so I wasn’t too worried about boggy (yes, I’ve nicknamed it boggy).
I died. I did significant damage before I died, but I died. Must have been all the rage, because I took a blast right to the face. I know I should have dodged, and I’m sure I tried, but I was angry, and I didn’t care enough. Maybe rage works in real life (or anime) for taking hits that should kill you, but the game don’t care!
Well, at around that exact moment, I heard two more death pings, and I had some serious regrets. Also, there was a glimmer of hope as I thought the torment might be forcibly over. No such luck. Competent killed the bog monster. Then Dazed showed up, and we waited. And we waited, and I went back for the non-jumping dead kid.
He was in shriek mode. All the words were shrieks as he couldn’t jump. More bridges were made, by me, because the other two had had enough. Ten minutes later, and we main three are waiting as Collin stands beside the locked platform. He would not get on. We asked him to. He said no. Not yet. Then he kept standing there. After pulling his sorry a** through everything, building him bridges, dealing with his friendly-fire, gritting our teeth against his backfiring attempts at being useful, he was pulling this shit.
Yes, we waited for Collin-the-6-6-6-kid to do…something. Then, he finally tells us he is getting batteries for his controller and that his dad is helping him. I was seconds away from finding the Vote kick button and kicking him out and getting my competent husband in the game.
I should have done the Vote kick.
The first set of mines is fun. It’s pretty. It has a lot of death traps, which includes steam that comes out of pipes. Competent gave a warning for Dazed and Collin-the-seriously-considering-that-6-6-6-number-in-his-name so they wouldn’t rush in and die. They both died, but with separate steam vents. Neither of them ever learned their lesson. All steam traps killed them. Sometimes multiple times!
Now, this level has stairs. There is a point where you can wait at the top of the stairs in relative safety. It’s the safest route when you have a chaotic team. I tried being patient. I really did, but Collin-the-unlucky-numbered-child had destroyed my usual patience. I’m serious. I am usually a bad teams last resort, and I am usually very good at that role. My patience is usually ungodly high. It’s why most players love playing with me. They get to charge in, test their skills, be all chaotic, and there are few consequences as I am the failsafe that lets us complete the level and continue on without having to start over.
I will say this. After a certain point, no one wants to fail. After the swamp level, I didn’t want to start over. That was one of the most incredibly painful, snail-crawls-for-no-discernably-good-reason-playthroughs that I have ever had of that level.
I did it, I embraced the chaos, and I kicked butt.
Oh, but Dazed and Collin-why-do-I-even-care-about-those-numbers continued to die from steam, even after all the enemies were dead. It was great. Just great. Just three levels left. That’s all. Just. Three. More. Levels.
They couldn’t be as bad as the swamp, right?
This is the mines part two section. It’s also the don’t-miss-the-shot section of the game. To clarify, there’s this ramp with a whole bunch of visible enemies and an explosive barrel behind them. Shoot the barrel, enemies all gone. Miss the barrel, activate the enemies, most likely all die. Let me clarify here, the most likely all die is often true because the barrel is most often missed when you are with the least competent players. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy type sitch.
Well, this was a new one on me! They fired at the enemies immediately. And who did it, you might ask? COMPETENT!?! Yeah, we barely made it through that, and only because I dripped sweat as I rapid-fired the swarm. FML. WHY COMPETENT? I TRUSTED YOU!!!! YOU KNEW ABOUT THE STEAM! THE STEAM!
Moving on from the betrayal.
We wandered through steam, and Competent and I fought the next area by ourselves as Dazed and Collin-was-there-a-one-and-did-it-follow-a-two were dead from steam. I also heard, faintly, Collin-ok-there-was-a-one-I’m-like-99-percent-confident-about-the-one crying out for help. He really wanted to help fight, even though he really couldn’t.
I uh…shot Competent as he jumped in front of my shot. I revived him and then ditched him to go save the other two. They went from one steam trap to the next, slowing us down. And was this slowing down necessary? No! And all because they hadn’t taken the time to pay attention to their surroundings while they were downed (dead, KO’d, out, unconscious, useless except for talking…which let’s be honest at this point, they weren’t the type to give useful info while they were out – info like: “Hey! There’s an enemy coming up behind you. Watch out!” That’s useful. They tended for the: “Hey! Revive me! Look at me! Hey! Hey, LISTEN!”). Where was I? Ah, yes. We finally made it to the lava area.
I’m actually a bit surprised to be saying this, but I don’t think – nope, Collin-there-was-a-one-and-a-two definitely fell in the lava a few times. He demanded weapons. I flung things at him. He was good. He found his shield. No one cared. People died from who knows what, because honestly, at this point, I was just trying to solo it and pretend they weren’t there. Oh, and I did. Like, seriously, Dazed and Collin-the-cursed-number-child were down the whole time, and I just didn’t have it in me to revive them and risk dying or worse, revive them only to make it back to my perch and discover they hadn’t moved and died. I had already done that once by this point. Quite literally, Collin-so-cursed-those-numbers died in the same exact spot as I had revived him. Oh! And in less than five seconds. Five seconds. He couldn’t go five seconds without dying.
Regardless, we succeeded. Competent saluted me, and I saluted him. Dazed seemed unaware, and Collin-the-five-would-make-sense-in-his-name-since-he-died-within-five-seconds-so-often, he wanted his shield back.
If you have ever played with a child before, then you will know what was coming next. If not, let me break it down for you.
One player has an item another player wants. How, pray-tell, does one get the item back if the other will not relinquish it? You friendly-fire them of course! Several deaths by friendly-fire later, and Collin-the-worst-numbers-ever flat out said, “If you don’t give me my shield back, I’m not getting on the platform!”
Eventually, Dazed relinquished the shield so we could be done with the quest. It took him a good solid ten seconds to finally do it. Ugh!!!!! Children!!
So close! So close to the end!! So close…
They cleared the bottom of the clock tower stairs, and I moved up to trigger the next part, but NO! Before I could, someone said they had to leave. So close! Who? Who had to leave? I really hoped it wasn’t Competent. I wasn’t sure if I’d simply leave and be done with them or pretend solo the quest.
The gods took pity on me. It was Collin-the-numbered-one. His father was upset with him (probably over his bitching over a shield and his stupid battery issue). He left us, but not in the polite way. He turned off his power rather than leaving the game. That means, his body floated in suspension, both there and not there.
Whatever, we progressed without his help. Then I died. Then Dazed died. Then I heard another death.
BUT WAIT!! Collin-the-useless-numbers had a use! His body was alive, despite the enemies around it! So often I had seen the glitch where players leave, but because of their limbo state, they are actually there, but not there, so the enemies can’t hurt them, but they do swarm to them.
I glitch walked to him, used his limp, yet totally alive hand to revive myself, cleared the lower levels, and I ascended the tower! I saved Dazed, and found an oddly alive Competent waiting at the top. Don’t know how that happened. Don’t really care.
Then it happened. Dazed had to leave. I was exhausted. My power was low. The odds of success were dwindling without a third player. While Competent was still there, I wasn’t confident we could handle the boss. And yes, I have solo’d this level before (a few times, in fact), but I was too tired, and my movement was diminished.
I called on my husband, and he answered the call.
The boss. Yes, we had our three players, and do you know what? Despite the difficulty of the boss level, I don’t think any of us died. No…wait…they both did. Reckless!! But you know what? I didn’t have to revive anyone. Plus, I did the last volley of five at the witch all on my own. To clarify here, each volley is faster than the last, and she was practically right next to me – remember how I said there is little room for error when a witch shoots an orb at you? Yeah, I did. And yeah, I did it five times in a row, with the difficulty increasing each time. Yeah. I did that.
And my reward? 100 tokens. All in all, it was worth it. Dazed and Competent friended me before they left (Dazed in the last level, obviously). And I hope I never see Collin-any-numbered-Collin again.
Thus concludes my most recent rant on playing publicly.
P.S. I really do hope I never encounter Collin66621-final-number-guess ever again. I don’t think I could mentally handle it. Sadly, there are plenty of others to take his place. Odds are, you’ll be hearing from me again.
May your adventures be many and your inspiration be endless!
Photo taken by me in RecRoom.