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 Epic quest setting
Epic quests are quests with content only available to level 20-25 characters.
Previous to Update 14, only a few quest arcs were available to play on epic difficulty. Following Update 14, almost all quests in the new Forgotten Realms campaign setting are only available for epic difficulty. Update 14 significantly changed the epic system (as seen in the Pre Update 14 section, far different). Epic quests can be played on epic casual, epic normal, epic hard, and epic elite. Epic casual, epic normal, and epic hard are essentially no different from heroic casual, normal, and hard for quests of the appropriate difficulty. In fact, on some epic hard quests (base level 20, effective level 21) most mobs have under 1000 health, while in elite Dreaming Dark chain many mobs have 2000+ health (base level 19, effective level 21). Epic elite difficulty provides roughly the same challenge (maybe more?) to characters as pre Update 14 epic quests, for those seeking extreme challenges. Also, as should be noted, completing an epic quest prior to Update 14 is now recorded as completed on epic elite in the adventure compendium.
Other major changes:
- No epic ward
- Appropiate level loot and end rewards for epic Eberron quests
- Forgotten Realms epic quests do not offer epic chests at the end
- Epic Dungeon Tokens no longer can be obtained from above the epic chest (although they do appear). Instead, groups of Epic Dungeon Token Fragments instead appear (and rarely whole epic dungeon tokens)
- Epic quests no longer have a 24 hour reset time (and so now can be farmed for shards, scrolls, and seals in Eberron)
 Pre Update 14
Only a handful of quests are available in Epic difficulty mode (as opposed to Casual/Solo, Normal, Hard, and Elite settings which are widely available). The Epic option will only be available on entering a quest with Epic Difficulty available and you can only enter if you're level 20+.
Epic quests are a beefed-up version of the original quest. They are more difficult than endgame elite quests and are rated as quest level 25 for the purposes of guild renown. Traps are more deadly. Dungeons may have extra twists (added traps, additional enemies, stronger bosses, and so on). You can't re-enter an epic dungeon once you leave a quest in progress.
Each and every monster you fight has massive hit points and much higher attack bonuses than anything else encountered in the game. They also have some special resistances against certain tactics (see Epic Ward for details).
Due to this, tactics used for epic contents are very different from normal quests or even raids. Armor class is considered useless by most of players. Stat-damaging focused finesse builds and such are often considered inefficient. Defensive tanks can still be considered useful, if only for tanking the end-bosses which tend to be challenging enough to encourage having one.
An epic dungeon also has rewards. You can upgrade most of the normal quest-specific named items from their locations to a more powerful epic version by collecting rare scrolls, seals and shards found in the epic quest version (see Epic Crafting).
Completing several can also give you Epic Dungeon Tokens which can be used to further customize these items, or be turned in for a True Druidic Heart of Wood, used to reincarnate your character without spending your money on the DDO Store.
Due to the opportunity to make exceptional "Epic" gear, quests can only be played on this difficulty setting once every 16 hours. The exception being epic raids, of which the standard 2 day and 18 hour raid timer applies.
See the list of epic-capable quests on Category:Epic quests.
Note: Epic Challenges ignore most of these rules as they are essentially normal difficulty, with slightly scaled up levels, rather then true epics.
 What to run for shards and seals
Against the Demon Queen. Epic setting is first introduced to the game with this update, and is advertised that this is "for the best of the best" players. This initial design of epic was far more difficult than what you will find in today's DDO. Unlike newer epics, every single bossfight was heavily adjusted to be far more difficult. Traps were not yet properly scaled and in fact did less damage then elite versions.
Vault of Night adventure pack was given an epic difficulty option. Some changes were done to the Against the Demon Queen quests to make them less brutal, such as reducing the spawn rate in An Offering of Blood and lowering the damage done to your weapons. However traps were also massively adjusted upwards, making the quests more difficult in other ways.
Sentinels of Stormreach. Epic Dungeon Token Fragment implemented, although new epic quests were bugged and didn't drop any of these (fixed with Update 5). Trap DCs (and in some cases damage) massively reduced - VoN5 for example dropped from 80+ to 60.
Phiarlan Carnival. Minion debuff was applied to all non-boss epic monsters, bringing down their saves by 5 and giving a penalty to attacks to allow a wider range of armor class values to be work. Weighted weapons changed to Stunning. Stunning Handwraps finally fixed, bringing up Monks' CC roll. At this point player tactics had changed drastically, the most popular tactic now is to stun or hold monsters and make them auto-critted. Weapons with 3x and 4x critical multiplier are much preferred for this reason. Monk builds with poor stun DCs, and "nuking" focused casters with lesser spell DCs are also considered inefficient for the very same reason.
Epic scrolls are now randomly distributed to a player in the instance. Prior to this change, scrolls dropped on the ground from mob corpse, thus, before picking them up, players had to make sure letting other members know, then rolled for them later on. This potentially allowed "ninja looting" and was causing lots of issues.
Drow Spell Resistance tweak (changed to have 10 + Character Level) side-effected all the drow epic monsters, bringing up their SR to 10 + their CR where no caster can penetrate.
Major changes to Epic Ward - Nearly every immunity was removed allowing casters to insta-kill Epic monsters. Trash mob HPs were reduced by half. Minion save debuff to be reduced from -5 to -1 (+4 conpared to pre-Update 9). Changes to auto-crit state. These changes reduced the difficulty of clearing through epic quests by a massive amount, though the end bosses remained the same. Also notable: this was the first major update (DDO does major updates every other update) to not include any new epic content at all.
Secrets of the Artificers. 6-man flagging quests didn't have epic difficulty enabled in this adventure pack, however the two raids added did - with a different loot mechanic. All epic raid bosses significantly buffed in a few ways: increased HP, fortification, all given true seeing, some given maximize or empower. This has been toned down later, however.
Vaults of the Artificers challenge pack. Level 21-25 version challenges are considered "Epic"; however this is in name only, as they do not actually set the dungeons to Epic Difficulty. See Challenges for details.