Daily Archives: February 19, 2011

Visiting Majestic West Karana

West Karana.

No, not that West Karana.

I am talking about the original West Karana, the EverQuest zone.

West Karana was the first “real” zone for those that started in Qeynos, the first place where danger lurked, the first place you could truly get disoriented, the first place where you really could lose your corpse.

And probably the first place that had a real feel of epic dimensions.

Behold, the hills of West Karana

Yes, if you started in Freeport, you had the Commonlands right there on your doorstep.  But in Qeynos we had to go a ways to find a wide open zone.

And our zone is still in its original state.  Freeport and the Commonlands have been completely redone, but Qeynos and the Karanas soldier on in 1999 fashion.

Skronk and I decided to take a trip there, to see how memories compared with the current reality.

Skronk had procured some additional armor and was starting to look a bit like Patrick Stewart in a 1950s Formula 1 racing movie… only with clubs rather than a racing car.

Is it Fangio?

Vikund, however, was still bare chested.  I have to find him a shirt.

Thus equipped, we headed out across the Qeynos Hills to the Plains of Karana.

Some things were immediately recognizable…

Zone Line - Well Marked

Corpses at the zone line.  Did they not quite make it when trying to escape? Did they AFK while zoning in and get caught in a train?  Each corpse has a story to tell, if only it could.

And it wasn’t just player corpses at the zone line.  They were all over.

Bandit Camp Gone Bad

It all felt very much like 1999.

And, of course, players were dying because dangerous stuff wanders West Karana, and if you don’t pay attention to what is going on around you, you can find yourself in trouble pretty quick.  At one time I compared the danger to the Thundering Steppes in EQII, but it is much more acute here.

Vikund and a Giant

Not everything is aggressive.  That Giant would have stomped Vikund into the ground had we not gotten out of the way.

On the other hand, the treant that passed was no immediate threat.

Is it Fangorn?

Though, if I recall right, if he catches you killing animals, he will join in and assist them.  So we just let him pass before we started in on anything new.

While there were quite a few groups camping various points of the zone, Skronk and Vikund were able to operate between groups and pull down enough mobs to make the trip worthwhile.  Threading our way through the periphery Vikund was able to hit level 5.

Actually caught the event this time!

And got a message that I had spells available to purchase at my guild.  That has actually been the case every level, but this is the first time the game mentioned.  Maybe it thought I was too poor until level 5. (And it was probably right.)

Skronk was a bit behind.  While I had been fooling around with double boxing, pulling Tistann the bard around in tow, he had succumbed and made his first alt.


Still, the different between our exp wasn’t that great and he had gotten 95% of the way to level 5 when we finally made a fatal mistake in West Karana.

We had been hunting animals between the second guard tower and the farm fields.

My favorite guard tower in West Karana

When we strayed onto the fields, we tried to keep alert.  The wandering animated scarecrows, one of the best animated mobs in the early part of the game, can move pretty erratically so you have to keep your eyes open.

Animated Scarecrow

But then we were in a fight and got a red add.  While we were trying to put a lid on that, and we were close to succeeding, a scarecrow wandered up and joined the fight.  It was time to run.  I threw a last heal on Skronk, he went one way, I went the other, and all the bad guys followed him.

Skronk made it pretty far, but not far enough.  He died, which was the signal for us to call it a night.

I had headed to the guard tower and decided just to camp there before anything caught up with me.  I can never remember what the guards will kill and what they will let pass, so I figured just being gone would be the best choice.

This morning I logged back in and started the run back to Halas to pick up new spells.  On the way I stopped by the barbarian fishing village.

Fishing Village

Then I stopped to say hello to the corrupt guards at the third tower.

Travel tax? What travel tax?

Qeynos Hills, Blackburrow, and Everfrost were all much less crowded than before, though it was Saturday morning.  Not a key play time.

The key spell I picked up was Gate, which lets the caster teleport back to his bind point.  I do not remember that spell at all from the old days, but there is a lot that was there that I don’t remember.

Now I just have to work on a shirt for Vikund.

We Storm the Qeynos Hills

A level a night is about all we have in us on the week days.

The schedule for posting this has been… interesting I guess.  We play on one day, I write the next, and post on the third.  The posting date is because the blog time runs on UTC.  I could change that.  WordPress.com has that option now, but it didn’t back when I started blogging and I don’t want to have to redo my blog stats spreadsheet because end of day suddenly changed by 8 hours.

Maybe, if we find some time this weekend, I’ll get to level 9 and be able to get the spell Spirit of the Wolf.  This is one of the reasons I chose a shaman.  They not only get that spell, but they get it earlier than any other class.

But so far we’re climbing the level ladder slowly.

This time around we missed each other outside of Qeynos initially, with Skronk off to do some exploring.  It can be hard to tell if your friends are online, since the buddy list seems to be broken.  Fortunately the command /who all skronk generally gets the job done.

While he was out exploring, I decided to see if all accounts really were enabled for this week.

Sure enough, another Station account I had was live, so I decided to try a little bit of multi-boxing in order to pass the time.  I decided that a bard would be a reasonable choice.  I could leave him just playing his buff song while I did the fighting, and if I needed and extra hand I could just switch windows and have him join the fray.

I played around with my bard in tow for a while, then finally caught up with Skronk.  Things were thinning out some on front of Qeynos because, like us I imagine, people were ready to move to slightly more dangerous game. (I suspect that the Qeynos front yard will fill up again this weekend.)

We headed out into Qeynos Hills this time.

Qeynos Hills, hand drawn

(Map, again, from EQ Atlas.  I love those old maps.)

Out in QH we got a few more lessons in how things used to work… and how they still work in EverQuest.

We had made our way to the ruins where the skeletons are and were starting to rack up some kills out there as a trio, Skronk, Vikund, and Tistann the /follow bard.

Out by the ruins in Qeynos Hills

I was a bit surprised to see player corpses laying around the ruins.  There is no corpse run at low levels any more, so I am not sure why people wouldn’t just use the respawn option that pops up in a window now.  I remember a time when dying by those ruins at night would make you seriously consider just logging off, but now…

Anyway, we had settled in and were doing well when along came a higher level player with a level 2 in tow and began just taking all our mobs.  You see, in EverQuest, it isn’t who tags the mob first, it is who gets in the most damage on the mob, and we just weren’t able to compete.  Community means bad things as well as good.

So we moved along since we hadn’t a hope of even slowing down this power leveling event and our own time was limited.

Then in a case of unnoticed adds, Tistann got slain.  I decided at that point to just log him out.  Skronk and Vikund were probably powerful enough for the area and I’d already had to go back and fetch Tistann after he got hung up on the scenery a couple of times.

We still managed to find enough prey to keep us going, but soon we ended up learning another lesson from the old days.

It was night time and there were wisps all over the zone.  While they were red to us at level 3, we were itching for something that deliver some good experience, and in my memory wisps were excellent sources of exp.

So we decided to try to take one.  I buffed up Skronk with everything Vikund had in his spell list (a surprising number of buffs), rested a minute in order to get back mana in case I needed to heal, and then it was after the nearest wisp.

On the first swing, we both got the message that the wisp was INVULNERABLE, in all caps.  It was at this point that my memory decided to share with my consciousness that you need magic weapons to damage a wisp.

I said run and Skronk started towards Qeynos, which was the wrong choice, since we were within spitting distance of Surefall Glade at that point.  Not that it mattered, since we were certainly not invulnerable to the wisp and it beat down Skronk before he got very far.

I had headed towards Surefall, then stopped to see how Skronk was doing.  He went down and the wisp came for me.  I started to run.

Wisps are social and another one joined in the chase, but I had enough of a head start to make it to Surefall alive.

Another lesson learned.  Fortunately, with the current rules of the server, which are different in many regards to the 1999 rules, there is no real penalty for dying if you are under a certain level.  So we formed back up and carried on.

As we started out that evening, I didn’t think we would get our level, but we managed to make it to level 4 out there in the Qeynos Hills.

And, for the evolutionary shot of us through the levels, here we are, level 4 monk and shaman.

Hunters in the Night

You can see that Skronk managed to pick up some leather armor while Vikund got some cloth drops so that he is not completely bare from the waist up.  Skronk is pooling up his cash for more armor upgrades while Vikund has to save for spells.  Only five more levels until Spirit of the Wolf.

Maybe this weekend we can catch up a bit to the hard core players.  I saw several level 20s that night.  That is more dedication to the game than I can muster, or more knowledge about how and where to level than I posses.

Soon we’ll be in the wide hunting grounds of West Karana.

Hulkageddon IV – Tears of Veldspar is Live

It is now past 00:00:01 UTC on February 19th, 2011, do you know where your exhumer is? (Or your hauler, for that matter?)

Check the official site for updates and links on how to access the kill board.

Feeling left out?  Have nobody with whom to gank?

Fear not, for a new corp has been formed, Hulkageddon Orphanage, to bring together lonely would-be gankers.  There is no excuse to sit on the sidelines now… unless you are one of the industrialists targeted by this event.

If so, fly safe until 23:59:59 UTC on February 28th… and, of course, beyond.