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