Back when I was shooting for level 50 with Blintz, I hit a point where I wasn’t sure what experience path I should pursue next.
I wasn’t quite ready for Greater Faydark, Zek had gone grey, Steamfont helf only heroic quests for me, and I had not made the trip out to Sinking Sands yet. I was 30% into level and really wanted something that would give me a boost towards 50.
Then I remembered The Splitpaw Saga. Specifically, I remembered one quest within the Splitpaw Saga, The Trial of Harclave.
The Trial of Harclave!
Now there was an experience machine. A number of my characters have The Trial of Harclave listed on their adventure level history, sometimes more than once. Splitpaw scales to the level of your character or party, so it is supposed to be good for any characters between levels 20 and 50.
I remember when a run through the Trial could be worth 40-60% of a level.
Of course, I am writing about the past. I knew that they had toned down the experience and the chest drop rate in the Trial. But it couldn’t be that bad, could it?
I ran to the Thundering Steppes to find out.
I had previously completed the first stage of the Splitpaw Saga and was set to find my way through the upper tunnels into the Splitpaw Den.
I managed to get through the upper tunnels without getting too lost. I have made this trek a dozen or more times (I have never completed enough quest to get the item that lets you teleport in directly) but it has been more than a year since I last did it. Still, even lost, it is easy enough with some basic knowledge (how to blow up walls), stealth, and my fae wings for gliding.
After about twice as long as it should have taken, I made it to the Splitpaw den. I immediately ran over to Sarchel the Storyteller and… and… sat there and listened to him for a while. If you’ve been here, you know what I mean. If not… well… to get the quest The Arc of Harclave you have to sit and listen to Sarchel tell the background story. Once you get to the right point in the story, you get the quest window. If you show up at the right moment, you might not have to wait. If, like me, you show up a few seconds late, you have to sit there for the whole cycle.
Sarchel is a slow story teller, and there is nothing you can do to speed him up.
Eventually he meandered back to the point where I could get the quest. I accepted and headed off to the instance.
I entered and grabbed the torch. I’d hate to mention how many times I rushed into the instance, made my way to the first brazier, then realized I did not have the torch to light it.
Anyway, torch in hand and stealthed. I headed in. I never bother fighting the gnolls that start in the instance. They were never really good experience at any time. I snuck around, lit the braziers, made my stack of boxes to get to the last two, lit them, received the Blessing of Harclave, and started the first fight.
Blintz versus a level 50 heroic encounter. The blessing gives you the ability to defeat heroic encounters if you are careful and steer clear of any adds. This was where the experience was. I watched my experience bar as I slew the last mob.
Is this thing on?
It did not move.
I slew a few more heroic encounters. Very little movement on the experience bar.
They really turned down the experience in the trial I guess. That, plus I finally noticed that there was no little message about bonus experience for defeating a heroic mob solo. When did that get taken out?
Well crap. I was in the instance, I figured I had better finish it.
At least with stealth I could walk past most of the encounters rather than having to plow through them. Go swashie power!
I went quietly, slaying a few groups to make space for the fight with the Spore King. It wasn’t a dramatic fight, but at least he counted as a named mob, so I got some AA experience for him. Here he is trying to put the hurt on Blintz.
Then, back into sneaky mode to go find Rosch Val Gornas, slay him, and finish the quest.
That was a bit trickier. There are quite a few groups around Rosch and some wanderers, so you have to find just the right spot to start pulling and clearing. I almost blew the quest at this point, as I started on a group, got and add, managed to muscle through, then got another add. My health bar was a sliver of red when the last bad guy went down.
I went into stealth, healed up, and vowed to be a bit more careful going forward.
I managed to pull the rest of the groups surrounding Rosch without incident. Then I lined up the big guy and his two minions, pulled them back to a quiet spot, and went to work.
Rosch is a tough fight for a swashbuckler. It wasn’t as near run as the double add encounter I had previously, but I was down in the last health bubble before I finished of him and his pals. Swashies hit hard, but do not take damage very well.
With Rosch dead, I built another set of box stairs, grabbed the throne, and finished the quest.
The net result was about a 10% exp bump. Ouch. Even in abbreviated mode like I just did that run would have been worth 25% in the old days.
I guess Harclave won’t be on my regular rotation. But since I was down there, I figured I might as well do the arena.
In the end, doing the arena fights were worth nearly as much experience as Harclave, plus I got the nice flaming hog’s head trophy, the sporling pet, and more AA exp. Half the mobs you face in the arena are named. I even think the hog gives you AA exp.
So it looks like the Splitpaw Saga is no longer the experience gold mine it once was. While it has its fun aspects, I think there is enough else in the game that I won’t miss it much when I let Station Access lapse.
The next night I hit the Desert of Flame and moved on in my quest for 50.