As I mentioned in a previous post, I created a Drakkin character, a Shadow Knight, with the idea of playing through some of the new EverQuest expansion, The Serpent’s Spine. I haven’t been able to con anybody into joining me in this (Tistann on Luclin server if you happen by) so I will be testing the soloability of the new expansion I suppose. That will make for a direct comparison with WoW.
When you first make your Drakkin character, you are given the usual choice of entering the tutorial or entering the world. The quests in Crescent Reach start you off at level 1, so if you start there, you are placed right in front of the first quest giver.
The problem is, the quests you get are not a substitute for the tutorial. If you are new and do not know the game, you should run the tutorial. Even if you do know the game, you get some items in the tutorial that will make your life easier. But if you run all the way through the tutorial, the initial quests you get in Crescent Reach will be way below your level.
Of course, if you are rich, you can go shopping at the bazaar and twink yourself out far beyond what the tutorial will give you. Since I am not rich and since I am trying to keep in the spirit of a new player entering the game, I am going to keep twinkage to a minimum.
As something of an accidental compromise, I did the tutorial up to level 4, then exited. When you leave the tutorial as a Drakkin, you end up in Crescent Reach and not in the Plane of Knowledge. I have not yet found the PoK book, but I am sure it is around somewhere, as I have seen a number of non-Drakkin running about Crescent Reach.
On leaving the tutorial you end up in a very nice little corner of the city zone, a pool with a tall waterfall behind you and the first quest giver before you. You hail her and get your first quest, which is called “Welcome to Crescent Reach.”
This is the first of a number of “showing you around” quests that you will pick up. The first thing you have to do for the quest is find you guild master.
All of the class guild masters and tome sellers are crammed into one building just up the path from where you start. You cannot miss it. Even I, famous for missing anything that can possibly be missed, found it on my first try. As I said before, all packed in there, they will hurt your frame rate. On the other hand, just toss in some booths and you’ve got a simulation of the vendor room at a small town fantasy/science fiction/gaming convention.
You then run along to find Initiate Dakken. Dakken the Drakkin. How cute.
You can get three quests from him.
The first is “Ways of Nature.” This is the classic “kill and collect” quest, only in this one you have to kill mushrooms to, uh, collect mushrooms. An oddity of EQ is that there is no harvesting as there is in newer games, so you have to attack and kill some mushrooms patches out in The Hollow then loot them to collect your mushrooms. There were two mushrooms per patch, so this went pretty fast. There were four patches of mushrooms visible when I ran out into the Hollow.
You then run back to Dakken and hand him the 5 mushrooms. This is where the tutorial comes in handy as it covers this early on. You cannot hand and NPC a stack of items, you have to hand them in one at a time, which means you have to pick them up one at a time, which is something I always forget how to do in EverQuest, even when I have done the tutorial. Some experimentation found that Control-Clicking on the stack of mushrooms will pick up just one.
When you hand Dakken the first one by picking it up and clicking on him it brings up the “give things to the NPC” window. A new player might get confused by this, as you are trying to hand him 5 items but the window only has 4 slots. It gave me a moment of pause. But the mushrooms are easy enough to harvest, so I clicked “Done” with 4 in the window and was rewarded with credit for 4 out of 5 mushrooms in my quest log. So I handed him the 5th mushroom and finished the quest, which did not yield very much exp at level 4. The quest is appropriate for a level 1 player however and probably would have given significant exp at that level.
The second quest is “Snake Sacs.” This quest is an introduction to “kill and collect” quests with drops that are not 100% and an introduction to confusing names in quests. In this one you have to kill snakes to collect 5 Snake Sacs. Not 5 Snake Venom Sacs, a drop that make makes more sense, shows up more often, and which shares the same icon with Snake Sacs. Snake Sacs.
The snakes are all over the place and killing them was pretty easy at level 4 as they all conned blue at the maximum. Snake Sacs dropped off about 1 in 5 snakes, so I ended up killing quite a few snakes. The Snake Sacs are NO TRADE flagged, so you can’t go into business selling them to quest runners.
The work of snake slaying went quickly with my tutorial upgraded sword and almost no armor except the tutorial skull charm. The skull charm is reason alone to do some of the tutorial if you aren’t getting Bazaar equipment help. As with the mushrooms, you hand the Snake Sacs to Dakken and get a bit of cash and exp. A little more exp than the mushrooms, but I was still only 30% of the way into level 4 at this point.
The third of Dakken’s three quests is called “Diseased Spiders.” This one teaches an important lesson for EverQuest, spawn table management. You have to kill 4 diseased spiders. You are told they are rare but that they show up if you kill normal spiders. There are lots of normal spiders running around. Well, normal if you consider spiders with a 3-foot leg span normal. They would be huge if you saw one in real life, but in MMOs these are tiny.
Out in the hollow there are some spiders running around and some spiders sitting in still in out of the way places, like in wagons, in the tall brush along the edge of the area, or under the bridges. Killing the moving spiders does no good as far as I can tell. I never saw a diseased spider in motion. Killing the stationary spiders over and over will get you a diseased spider every so often. I lucked out and found two diseased spiders right away, so I did not have to kill spiders for too long. The spiders also gave decent exp and I was level 5 by the time I went back and hailed Dakken to finish the quest.
Also, while killing the spiders, I got a number of very nice low level equipment drops. They were narrowly class specific, so I could only wear two of them, but they filled two empty slots, so I was happy.
The Mistake I Made
These three quests would have gone much more quickly had I paid attention and gone to the right place. There is a place called The Hollow. There are big signs that tell you which exit from Crescent Reach to take to get to it. I ignored that and went back to the place where I first entered Crescent Reach, it being a geographical feature one might refer to as a hollow. It also had snakes. In fact, I did the snake quest there. The area lacks mushrooms and spiders, which makes the other two quest hard to complete. (There was actually one spider in the area, a rogue that somehow worked its way through the cliff, and once I killed it, no others appeared.) You will know you are in the right place because there will be plenty of spiders roaming around.
And then I finished up “Welcome to Crescent Reach” by finding Innkeeper Fathus who had a quest of his own that I may write about later.