Monthly Archives: October 2009

October in Review

The Site

I’m now fully a month into the fourth year and I still manage to pollute the blogosphere with 20-25 posts a month, many of which contain a “TL;DR” amount of text.  I am surprised I have kept going this long.

Of course, we are at a bit of a crisis point, what with the main thread of the blog, the instance group, at something of a crossroads.

On the other hand, I have apparently not mined out the rich vein of gaming nostalgia yet.  Of late I have been returning again to TorilMUD and how things used to be.

TorilLogon
Of course, unlike a lot of past online games, TorilMUD has the advantage of still being around so I can go refresh my memory.  Even it has changed a lot over the last 16 years though. (But they have a nice new web site up now!  Heck, they even have a Twitter feed!)  And they have been trying to align the combat systems more with the current d20 system that D&D uses.  Farewell THAC0!

One Year Ago

In one of the worst kept secrets, it was announced that BioWare’s MMO project was in fact Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Their subscription goals were, of course, quite modest. (NOT!)

I celebrated my 15 years of playing Sojourn/TorilMUD with the first in a series of posts that I am still working on.  Nostalgia FTW!

And speaking of Nostalgia, Tipa was out looking for EverQuest blogs.  I’m not sure any were discovered.

The instance group formed up a guild and was running in Warhammer Online.  We had our best night and our worst night, plus a few that were somewhere in between.  All in all though, things were not as exciting as we had hoped.

Mythic was trying out incentives to get better server balance while starting to talk about new stuff coming soon.  Not a word about the quest log however.

In EVE Online Potshot, Gaff, and I were playing with fleets and I was flying a shiny new ship.

And I stared logging into World of Warcraft again to get things lined up for the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion.  I managed to survive through the controversial scourge event and was intrigued by these shiny new achievements.

New Linking Sites

The following sites have been kind enough to link here.  Please take a moment to visit them in return!

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. Professor Oak’s Letter and Shaymin
  4. Heroic Deadmines!
  5. Arceus Event Annouced!
  6. Scouting DDO
  7. The Battle.net Conversion
  8. XP vs. Vista vs. Windows 7
  9. Diablo! I mean Torchlight!
  10. DDO Guild Creation FTW! Almost…
  11. Exciting Ways to Die in Kobold Village
  12. Weighted Jack-o’-Lantern Fun

Search Terms of the Month

dead disney caracter
[Bambi’s Mother?]

explosive mushrooms
[not the kind with which you want to experiment]

i got to the place where shaymin is but
[but?]

“i own a freighter”
[me too!]

how to do headless horseman twice
[first get him drunk…]

herve villechaize
[Da plane!]

Spam Comment of the Month

Don’t let porksword rust
[Is that a Kingdom of Loathing thing?]

Dungeons & Dragons Online

As part of the continuation of the instance group, we have begun scouting other games that might lend themselves to our play budget.  Dungeon & Dragons Online, now available with a free to play, item store supported option seems like a possible fit.  Potshot, Gaff, and I have rolled up characters, but we have not decided yet whether the title is worth pursuing in the long term.

EVE Online

Still mostly dormant for me.  I have been skilling up my main character.  He will be able to fly a Hulk soon, so he will have some flexibility in mining ops if/when we get back to New Eden.  Since flying the Orca got me most of the skills for a Hulk, I figured I ought to finish that off.  After that, I’m not sure what training goal I will go after.

Lord of the Rings Online

I pre-ordered that Adventurer’s Pack, which means that the Siege of Mirkwood expansion will be available to me come December 1st.  Of course, I still haven’t seen Moria….

Star Trek Online

I didn’t get in the closed beta, but I am on the press release email list, so I get nothing but teases about the game.  Still, I hear it is coming out next year.

Torchlight

Another distraction!

World of Warcraft

The instance group still lingers in Azeroth.  Certainly the “swap to horde” idea was an easy decision for the group, since the barrier to entry were so low.  We will see how well that sticks.

In fact, we haven’t played the horde guys too much over the last two weeks, since Hallow’s End has been going on.  Instead we went after the Headless Horseman and the achievements, stopping off at the Trial of the Champion while we were there.  But if you go to Pugchecker now, you’ll see that we are flagged green for all of the standard 5-person instance bosses.

Coming Up

I am sure there will be some more highs and lows with Torchlight.  It is a v1.0 (or v1.1) product, so there are always issues, some of which I have already encountered.

There is more nostalgia to be squeezed from TorilMUD.

And we’re getting to the point where I am going to have to look back and see if wacky predictions I made at the start of the year have managed to come true.

And, as always, tales of the instance group.

LOTRO – The Benefits of a Lifetime Subscription

I get notes from Turbine every so often about offers and upcoming events related to Lord of the Rings Online.  As somebody with a lifetime subscription, I am always “on” as far as they are concerned, and I do not mind even when I’m not spending time in Middle-earth.

The latest items in my inbox are, of course, focused on the upcoming Siege of Mirkwood expansion and the new Adventurer’s Pack, both of which will be live on or about December 1st.

If you are on a standard subscription plan, you can get Mirkwood for “free” by upgrading your account to a multi-month payment plan by October 31st.

As a lifetime subscriber, I cannot change my subscription plan, so that deal is lost to me.  Instead they have something else for me.

LOTROGrabYourPack

As a lifetime subscriber, if I pre-order the Adventurer’s Pack by October 31st, I also get the Siege of Mirkwood expansion as part of the deal.

Now, you can debate as to which is the better deal.  I am sure people will have their own preferences.  But for me, the Adventurer’s Pack is probably the more beneficial of the two items for sale, so I would probably end up buying it either way.

And the key item for me in the Adventurer’s Pack is this:

Shared storage: A storage space capable of storing 20 items accessible by all your characters on the same LOTRO server/world.

As a crafter/pack rat, one of the annoyances of coming back to play the game every couple of months is finding that all my bank slots are full and that I have items for one character stored up on another.  This package will, improve my quality of life some.

The other items, the two extra character slots, the new mount, and the speed boosting cloak are all nice, but storage is always a pain for me.

So I would have bought the Adventurer’s Pack no matter what, but now I get Siege of Mirkwood as well.

Torchlight

I went and grabbed Torchlight from Direct2Drive on Wednesday night, letting the game download while I slept.

Not that it was a huge honking download.  It was just convenient for me to do it that way.  I prefer to let downloads that last more than a minute or two happen while I am away from my computer.

So the next evening I installed it to give it a try.

After about 10 minutes I realized I had been playing for an hour.  It is one of those.

It is slick, smooth, and quite clearly acquired some of the greatness that the Diablo series showed in the past.

If you have played the Diablo games of the past, the learning curve will be very short indeed.  There are some deviations from how things worked in Diablo II, but Diablo II first shipped over nine years ago, so it is quite possible that reflection over that time might have lead the developers to different choices.

The main departures from the Diablo series are in art style and story tone.

The art style is cartoon-y, in the same vein as Team Fortress 2 and Battlefield Heroes.  To wit, my Destroyer:

TLchar

Vikund the Destroyer

Some people won’t be able to get past that I am sure, but it works for me.

And part of the reason that it works is that the tone of everything is a little lighter than it was in Diablo.

Diablo was very dark (though not without humor) while tone of Torchlight is more befitting its look.

If you can get past those two items, the game feels like Diablo II brought forward 9 years.

Click to move, click to attack, right-click for your secondary attack, click to loot, click to do just about anything.

The settings are stone simple for a modern game.

TLsimplesettings

Torchlight Settings

I’m not sure what “Netbook Mode” does, but I gather that Runic is shooting for a large audience by trying to support very low end systems.

You cannot even remap keys.  Not that you need to, since there are not all that many keys to learn, and almost everything you need is clustered on the bar at the bottom of the page.

TLBar

Belly up to the bar!

I am a little leary about having the hot keys split up the middle.  I tend to memorize the few keys I use all the time and go click on everything else.  On the other hand, having health and mana moved in from my peripheral vision seems to be quite effective.  Many of my Diablo deaths could be attributed my no glancing down to the corner of my screen to check health during a hairy fight.

But most other things will be remarkably similar to Diablo fans.

TLCharsheet

Character Sheet

TLInventory

Inventory Sheet

There are also health potions, mana potions, identify scrolls, town portal scrolls, three skill point trees, and all the equipment in the world dropping in various forms.  There is even a hardcore check box at character creation, which I am going to assume means perma-death.

Which is not to say that there is nothing new.

The simple fact that the game runs on my home system at 1600×1200 versus the 640×480 for Diablo and 800×600 for Diablo II is a big deal to me.  And on my system, a two year old quad-core with an nVidia GTS-250 video card, it runs very well.

It also runs well on my soon-to-be five year old laptop, though the CPU usage is such that I wouldn’t count on doing anything else on the machine while I was playing.

You also get a pet, either a cat or a dog, which fights along side you, has its own inventory slots, and can run back to town and sell stuff for you, though I haven’t check to see if he is getting short changed.

And speaking of inventory, you not only get the usual chest in town to store your excess goodies, but you get a shared chest that your other character can access.

Then, finally, there is fishing.

TLFish

I caught one!

I haven’t actually fed a fish yet to my pet, nor eaten one myself (I’ve been too busy simply smacking stuff), but various fish are supposed to endow you with special benefits.  Something to look into.

Sound great so far?

Now the killer.   No multiplayer.

I know, what do I want for just $20?

But seriously, if the game had multiplayer, I could tell you what the instance group would be doing for the next few weeks.

Without multiplayer however, I get to decide if I go play with my friends or play Torchlight.

So that is a let down.

But, since the plan seems to be to move to a Torchlight based MMO of some sort, we may get multiplayer in some form in the future.

And since the game was designed with MODs in mind, I expect that the game will take on a life of its own if it achieves large scale success.

In the end, for $20, the game delivers enough sheer Diablo-esque joy for me to not fret too much about the missing multiplayer aspect.  I am not that far into the game, but I can already tell I will get my money’s worth out of it.  And there is something to be said for keeping things simple.  I hope it finds enough success to finance the follow-on plans.

If you miss Diablo, you will probably be able to find a home in Torchlight until Diablo III ships.

But if you didn’t care for Diablo, this probably isn’t the game for you.

Horsemen and Champions

While we finished the last, real, official, current, canonical five person non-heroic instance last week, swatting down King Ymiron like the bug he is, there were still things on our agenda.  Some loose ends to tie up.

The whole group was on.

80 Priest – Skronk
80 Warlock – Bungholio
80 Mage – Ula
80 Warrior – Earlthecat
80 Paladin – Vikund

And the first order of business was the Headless Horseman, a Hallow’s End standard.

This is our second year hitting the Headless Horseman in hopes of getting his mount.

HHTOCflyingHH

The Headless Horseman Takes Off

For the group this represented attempts 16 through 20 to get the brass ring.  But it was not to be.  We now have quite a selection of rings, so many that we had to leave one horseman corpse unlooted, but no mounts.

Going after the Headless Horseman did not take us long though.  Compared to last year taking him down seemed quite easy.  There was no question that we were going to win.  Last year we lost once and it was work to win the rest of the time.  This year we previously went at him minus Earl and with a level 54 shaman in tow and it still seemed more like a chase than a fight.  (The shaman died a couple of times, but that didn’t change the balance of the fight.)

I don’t know if this means that were are just better this year in skill/equipment or if the HH didn’t get big enough boost over last year, but we beat him down 5 out of 5 times on Saturday and are 20 out of 20 overall so far.

Which left us enough time to go take a full group run at the Trial of the Champion.

We tried to do this as a four person group previously, and were not successful.  This instance is supposed to be a bit of a step up from the other five person instances in Northrend, so we were back again to give it a try.

HHTOCLineup

Mounted for Battle

The first part, the mounted combat segment, was a bit chaotic as before.  Three of us died during that part.  However, the graveyard is close and if you run back you can mount up and join the battle again.  So after a lot of running around, we defeated the first three bosses in mounted combat.

Then we were treated to a change.  The event has been altered since last we ran it so that now, once the mounted portion is done, the bosses don’t just turn around and start wailing on your lance equipped character.  Instead, they just retire to the gate through which they came, allowing us to get ourselves together and plan out attack.

We faced Morka the Skullcrusher, Zul’tore, and Deathstalker Visceri.  Visceri had a mana bar, so we figured he ought to be first on our list.  We went straight after him.

Earl was able to keep all three on him and, while healing got a little scary for a moment or two, once Visceri was down, the drama ebbed and we were able to drop the other two.

The first round was complete.  We were now further than last time.

Next up was Eadric the Pure, who shows up with nine trash mobs in three groups of three.  We were surprised to find that none of these groups were linked with Eadric, so we were able to mow them down and then move on to the big guy.

His big move is Radiance, a flash of light that damages and blinds you for a short time.  However, this attack can be defeated by simple turning away from him, which the announcement that heralds the attack pretty much tells you to do.

We figured that out pretty quickly, though we all turned around at the announcement of another of his attacks, having fallen for the old “Simon Says” gambit, which did not diminish his Hammer of the Righteous.

In the end, Eadric went down.

Which left us facing the bonus round, the Black Knight.  He was a pushover out on the tournament grounds,  but now he was back from the dead and seemed a bit more formidable.

We had to face the Black Knight three times to get through the encounter.  He comes at you in three phases, first as a scourge, then as a skeleton, and finally as a ghost, and each segment has its own flavor, which we had to learn the hard way.

The first phase was straightforward.  We never had a problem there.

The second phase, when he is a skeleton, sees the Black Knight summon a group of minions who got out of control the first time we ran into them, leading to a wipe.

The second time around, we took care of the second phase by getting Earl to collect all the minions and then Bung and Ula rained area attacks on them, swatting them all down pretty quickly.  Then we smote the Black Knight, which lead us to the third phase, where we wiped again while trying to come to grips with the constant damage to the whole party and the “Marked for Death” special that hit and caused the death of Skronk early in the fight.  Another wipe.

So we ran through the the three phases one more time, there being no partial credit for the Black Knight, and at the final phase just had everybody keep a close eye on their health while we burned him down with maximum DPS.  We still ended up losing Ula and Bung in the fight, but they poured enough damage onto the Black Knight that we were able to finish him off.

And so we stood in victory over the orb that was all that remained of the Black Knight.

HHTOCvictory

Black Knight - Not Invincible

Unfortunately, there was no achievement.  The Trial of the Champion achievement requires you to defeat all the possible bosses in the instance.  One pass through leaves at least three bosses left undone.  So if we want the achievement, we are going to have to come back for another visit.

On the upside, the loot chests were pretty nice, with a couple of nice, purple upgrades for the casters and a good cloak for Vikund.

And so we made it through the Trial of the Champion.  Since it was Hallow’s End there were a few out takes from the victory shot, since everybody seemed intent on scarfing the candy from the Headless Horseman.

Skronk Hurls HHTOCEarl HHTOCbung

We all had the Out With It achievement already, we just like throwing up in public.

As for next week.  I’m not sure what we’ll do on Halloween.  Probably five more shots at the Headless Horseman and some more puking.

Hallowed in Alterac Valley

Like Potshot, I have been trying to finish up the Hallow’s End achievements to get the meta achievement and the title of “The Hallowed.”

Once I figured out that the flimsy mask achievement was not a prerequisite for the title, I figured getting the meta achievement would be easy.  After all, this is our second pass through Hallow’s End achievements.  I picked up most of them last year at this time, so there were just a couple more to get.

And I was even more encouraged that I got the Sinister Squashling on my first trick-or-treat.  Things were looking good.

In fact, very quickly I was only waiting for somebody in the group to get the Leper Gnome wand.  That was all I needed to complete the  Masquerade achievement.  And nobody in our guild had one.

I could have paid somebody to hit me with the Leper Gnome wand.  People were shouting offers to do so for 5-20 gold.  However, after my daughter got ripped off by somebody offering that service, my faith in my fellow man dipped just a little lower.  There is no real recourse if you give somebody money and then they decline to wand you.

And so I waited for somebody in the guild to get one of those wands.  A week went by.  No Leper Gnome wands.

Well, actually, there were five Leper Gnome wands, but they were all on my account.  I was having no problem getting them.

At one point, Skronk got the random wand.

We met up and he hit me with that.  On the third try, I rolled Leper Gnome!

And I didn’t get the achievement.

The achievement is quite clear.  You need to be transformed by the Hallowed Wand – Leper Gnome, not just turned into a Leper Gnome by a wand.

Back to trick-or-treating.

Then, one afternoon I was in the Alterac Valley battleground.  I was just shy of the honor points I needed to buy something new.  And as we say waiting for the battle to start somebody said, “Anybody have the ninja wand?  I need it for the achievement.”

I had the ninja wand.  Heck, by that point I had most of the wands.  So I hit him with the ninja and he got the title and the achievement.

Seeing his success, I asked in the raid if anybody had the Leper Gnome wand.

Nobody responded.

Seconds passed.

The gates started up and the battle was just beginning when suddenly somebody hit me with the Leper Gnome wand.

TheHallowedAV

Hallowed in Alterac Valley

The title was mine!  I am not sure who got me, but thank you very much!

And then we went on to win AV in record time.

Of course, about two hours later, Ula logged on and got the Leper Gnome wand trick-or-treating.  That is the way it always seems to go.

Now I just have to work on that flimsy mask achievement while we wait for the next big WoW holiday event, which is apparently Pilgrim’s Bounty.  I’m not sure how that is going to play outside of the US, but we’ll see.

Diablo! I mean Torchlight!

Diablo ships today!

erm…

I mean Torchlight ships today!

Or whatever the electronic distribution equivalent term is, since they don’t appear to be shipping physical boxes.

Torchlight!  It was done by those guys who did Diablo!

I mean Mythos!

Wait, Mythos was done by some people who did Diablo.

And the same guy did that did the music for Diablo did the music for Torchlight!

But you get my point, which is that whenever we speak of Torchlight, we must also mention Diablo.

Diablo! Diablo! Diablo!

And in my view of the world, comparing it to Diablo, and bringing up the connections with Diablo, is saying something good about the game.

But I really liked Diablo.

And Torchlight does appear to have that Diablo feel to it, at least in the screen shots I have seen.

Torchlight

Screen shot from the Torchlight web site

It has been a PC game drought for me this year.  The only new title I purchased so far in 2009 has been Peggle.  (Yay for being totally behind the curve on that one!)

So Torchlight, with all its Diablo connections, may be my second PC game purchase this year.

If they will let me purchase it.  It is being sold through Perfect World, a Chinese MMO company with some ports in the US (Jade Dynasty, Ether Saga and Perfect World), and they seem to have an issue with my billing information.

They sent me an email telling me that they were sending me another email regarding a billing issue.

I never received that second email which had a key link I need to follow in order to solve this problem.  Or so they said in the first email.

I did, however, receive a third email (which was right in the spam folder that I was watching just in case the second email showed up there) which told me that since I did not respond to the second email (which I am going to guess had some time limit associated with it) my transaction was being canceled and my money refunded.

They took my money, had a problem with it, and are now sending it back.

So Torchlight may not end up being my second PC game purchase this year.

And this billing snafu certainly does not bode well for me looking into the Torchlight MMO franchise that the team at Runic Games, the Diablo pedigreed developers of Torchlight, is talking about.

It does, however, give the publisher’s name, Perfect World, something of an ironic twist for the moment.

Anyway, I’ll see about trying to buy the game again this weekend.  Perhaps they are suffering from the first day rush.

In the mean time, I’ll just watch the game play video over at Game Bunny.

Diablo!

Lost in the Faerie Forest

Leuthilspar Tales – Part IV

As an elf starting out in the early days of TorilMUD you were stuck on an island for 20 levels.  An island with a home town and three zones, Kobold Village, the Faerie Forest, and the Elemental Glades.

Kobold Village, once you got in, was the preferred place to grind levels experience the game as a young elf.  But a zone like Kobold Village begins to feel crowded when even a half a dozen people are active in it.

So, looking for adventure, you might opt for the second best zone for young elves on Evermeet, the Faerie Forest.

(Not to be confused with the Faerie Forest outside of Waterdeep in Crushk or the Faerie Forest that was later added to the Moonshaes.  Look for a Faerie Forest franchise near you!)

In the MUD learning experience, Faerie Forest had a few things to teach you once you had grown used to Kobold Village.

If you could find it.

The entrance was hidden.  You had to get to the right room, which was located in a loop of rooms off the forest road, and search for a secret door.

You find a secret exit south!

Ah, there it is.

Once you opened up the door (keyword “open secret”) and entered, you had to face a couple of aggressive monsters.

A scruffy wood rat is here slinking around in the gloom.

Okay, a wood rat isn’t exactly fearsome, unless you are really low level and/or naked because you are trying to get back to your corpse.  The thing with the wood rats, they were in a set of three single-file rooms, which meant you could not just spam past them. (Unless you figured out that you could “recline” and scoot under them.  I’d like to see that in real life.)  You would just bump into them, and then they would attack you.

Once past the rats, there was another door (keyword “open foliage”) through which was the Faerie Forest.

And once you went through that door, you were in trouble.

That was a one-way door you just walked through.  The way out of the Faerie Forest lay somewhere else.  You had to find your way out, which meant exploring the zone.

No exit on this map

Welcome to the Faerie Forest

Not that it was too dangerous.  Compared to Kobold Village there were only a few aggressive creatures.  There was another nest of wood rats and a anti-social goblin, neither of which were very fearsome.  Oh, and then there was Chacodyn up in his tree.

A malevolent chacodyn snaps into visibility.

OUCH! That really did HURT!

Now he was bad.  Stay out of the trees.

I well remember my first visit to the Faerie Forest.  I tailed in behind somebody else then went off exploring.

I explored for quite a while, then decided I really needed to get back to town.  So I explored some more.  I went back and forth through the zone.  I grew quite frustrated.

You see, I had not yet learned the secret to getting out of the Faerie Forest, a secret that can be summarized as:

nueuuedenensn

No, that is not the capital of Estonia.  Those are the directions to get from one landmark, the legendary Finn McCumhail, a verbose NPC on the path through the Faerie Forest (“Travel these realms with care!”), and the front door of Anna’s cottage, inside of which was the exit from the zone.

That translates as “North, up, east, up, up, etc.”

There is a trick in that path though.  You’ll notice that the last three directions you need to travel are north, south, then north again.  If you don’t do that little trick, you just end up back on the path you just came through.

I had narrowed down that area as the most likely way out, but could not get past that trick.

So I shouted.  I yelled for help.

Fortunately, back in those days it was uncommon to be alone in any of three Evermeet zones.  Eventually a ranger named Morianthis found me and led me to Anna’s house, telling me the path and its trick, so that I wouldn’t get stuck in the Faerie Forest again.

Morianthis became one of my friends in the game from that point forward.  And, in an ironic twist, it later came to pass that I was the mapper of zones and rarely lost if I could find a landmark, while Mori tended to get turned around once off the beaten path so that I got to come to his rescue a few times in later days.

But this time, Mori was the hero, delivering me to Anna’s house.

Before the Oak Tree Cottage

This is a pathway before the front of a large cottage which fills a clearing in the Faerie Forest.  The cottage is an interesting sight to behold.  Mammoth oak trees support the four corners of the cottage; the walls of the cottage seem to be grow right out of the oak trees. The branches of the four, towering oak trees, grow so close together they seem to form the roof of the cottage.  One cannot begin to fathom the time it must have took for this cottage to have been created. There is a small gravel pathway which extends around the cottage to the east and west.  The front door of the cottage is directly to the north.  To the south is the beginning of the clearing.

And quite a house it was.  The previously mentioned Chacodyn lives up one of those trees that forms the cottage.

AnnasHouse

Anna's House

Once at Anna’s house, you went inside, up stairs, and to the library:

Library of the Oak Tree Cottage
Exits: -S
A mysterious orb of shifting colors and light floats here.

Fortunately, the orb was labeled.

The orb is a giant globe of swirling colors and humming magical energy.
In tiny letters near the bottom of the orb it reads:
“For proper use, see library entry on returning home”

And once you figured out how to use the library (there is a sign in the room) you will find out how to use the orb.

Simply touch the orb in the library and you will be teleported out of the realm back into mortal lands.  Be warned though that once leaving the faerie realm, few find it easy to return again.

Well, as easy as getting past those wood rats again, anyway.

And once you touch the orb (assuming you are not wearing or carrying  something with the keyword “orb,” in which case you will have to take it off and put it in a container) you are teleported out to the start of the zone, on the other side of those wood rats, able to head back to Leuthilspar.

You now know the way out.  You need not feel lost in the Faerie Forest again young elf!

Next time, the bounty of the Faerie Forest.

Leuthilspar Tales – Part IVAs an elf starting out in the early days of TorilMUD you were stuck on an island for 20 levels.  An island with a home town and three zones, Kobold Village, the Faerie Forest, and the Elemental Glades.Kobold Village, once you got in, was the preferred place to grind levels experience the game as a young elf.  But a zone like Kobold Village begins to feel crowded when even a half a dozen people are active in it.So, looking for adventure, you might opt for the second best zone for young elves on Evermeet, the Faerie Forest.(Not to be confused with the Faerie Forest outside of Waterdeep in Crushk or the Faerie Forest that was later added to the Moonshaes.  Look for a Faerie Forest franchise near you!)

In the MUD learning experience, Faerie Forest had a few things to teach you once you had grown used to Kobold Village.

If you could find it.

The entrance was hidden.  You had to get to the right room, which was located in a loop of rooms off the forest road, and search for a secret door.

You find a secret exit south!

Ah, there it is.

Once you opened up the door (keyword “open secret”) and entered, you had to face a couple of aggressive monsters.

A scruffy wood rat is here slinking around in the gloom.

Okay, a wood rat isn’t exactly fearsome, unless you are really low level and/or naked because you are trying to get back to your corpse.  The thing with the wood rats, they were in a set of three single-file rooms, which meant you could not just spam past them. (Unless you figured out that you could “recline” and scoot under them.  I’d like to see that in real life.)  You would just bump into them, and then they would attack you.

Once past the rats, there was another door (keyword “open foliage”) through which was the Faerie Forest.

And once you went through that door, you were in trouble.

That was a one-way door you just walked through.  The way out of the Faerie Forest lay somewhere else.  You had to find your way out, which meant exploring the zone.

Not that it was too dangerous.  Compared to Kobold Village there were only a few aggressive creatures.  There was another nest of wood rats and a anti-social goblin, neither of which were very fearsome.  Oh, and then there was Chacodyn up in his tree.  Now he was bad.  Stay out of trees.

I well remember my first visit to the Faerie Forest.  I tailed in behind somebody else then went off exploring.

I explored for quite a while, then decided I really needed to get back to town.  So I explored some more.  I went back and forth through the zone.  I grew quite frustrated.

You see, I had not yet learned the secret to getting out of the Faerie Forest, a secret that can be summarized as:

nueuuedenensn

No, that is not the capital of Estonia.  Those are the directions to get from one landmark, Finn McCumhail a verbose NPC on the path through the Faerie Foresy (“Travel these realms with care!”), and the front door of Anna’s house, inside of which was the exit from the zone.

There is a trick in that path.  You’ll notice that the last three directions you need to travel are north, south, then north again.  If you don’t do that little trick, you just end up back on the path you just came through.

I had narrowed down that area as the most likely way out, but could not get past that trick.

So I shouted.  I yelled for help.

Fortunately, back in those days