Saturday found the instance group come up shy on players, so time in Azeroth was pushed off again.
But Potshot and I were still around and were able to put the time towards what I would have to call our current main game, the EverQuest Progression Server called Fippy Darkpaw.
We had done some experience in Southern Ro earlier in the day where we made quite a bit of progress. But when it came to the evening run, Potshot brought up the exploration aspect of our adventures, the desire to not only play the game but to experience the game as far and wide as we could. So we said farewell to the Desert of Ro and pointed ourselves northward.
We met up in the Commonlands at the tunnel, still full of people buying, selling, buffing, and socializing.
There we ran around a bit looking for a good place to camp and kill. But a lot of the stuff we stumbled over at the Nek end of the zone was gray, green, or blue to us. (The consider system changes gears at level 16 and stuff starts showing green if it still gives experience but is more than a few levels below you.)
We searched around for a bit and came up with a camp of Cinder Goblins. There we took on a Cinder Goblin Cleric who con’d yellow to us and seemed to be a likely target.
This, however, turned into something like the eternal battle. We would knock this goblin cleric down to under 20% health. I think he hit as low as 12% at times. And then he would heal himself back up to 50%. We would knock him down again, he would heal again. The fight went on and on.
Fortunately with the spell breeze cast on Thrall, Deneldir, and Talrach, we never ran out of mana either, so we would heal up, the goblin would heal up, and so on and so forth.
About five minutes into the fight we started digging into our spell books and abilities trying to find something that would stop his healing.
Close to the ten minute mark I had Thrall save up a whole bar of mana then tried to unload as much damage as I could on the cleric. I think that is when he got down to around12%. But he managed to get off a heal. We had nothing in our bag of tricks to stop him.
Furthermore, Thrall’s all out assault made the cleric lock on to him. It was time to run for the zone line. Tistann put on the song of speed and we ran for it.
We made it safely out of the zone, though on the other side of the zone line in Nek Forest, a Dark Elf guard by the name of Gvarr started beating on Thrall, who was already low on hit points. He stepped back across the zone line into Lavastorm just in time.
After that I began to wonder if there wasn’t something better close at hand we could go after. Then I remembered Najena.
Meclin and I had gone into Najena at one point during a past nostalgia run. This was on a standard EQ Live server back a couple of years, and the place was empty then. In EverQuest and empty dungeon is a dangerous dungeon, and back then we got ourselves into a serious mess in there. Now, however, we a lot more people were in the right level range.
(Map from the EQMac Wiki EQ Atlas Archive)
Najena is just off to the East from the entrance to Lavastorm, so we thought we would give it a shot.
There were 27 people in the dungeon, including our four, and we had to hunt around for a bit before we found a spot to hunker down.
The skeletons right at the entrance were gray to us, but not very far into the place we started running into mobs that were blue or better. A lot of the likely places had groups, though we ran into some wanderers as we looked about.
Eventually we found a spot in a hallway that had a few spawns close by from which we could pull. This is sort of the way things go. As a lower level group, we couldn’t go much further into the dungeon. (If you look at the map we were not even at the point marked “1”), but by sitting there and keeping that segment clear, people could come and go from deeper in the dungeon.
Experience was great. I knew that some dungeons, including Najena, offered a boost to experience, but we were rolling in the exp, at least on the EverQuest scale of things.
Along the way I got a tell from Toldain (hey!) who brought up the whole double experience weekend question. I had heard that there was an experience boost, but was not sure that it applied to the progression servers since that would seem to undo what they were trying to accomplish. (When did SOE do their first enhanced experience event? I do not remember any from the early days, but my memory has proven faulty before.)
Still, at the rate we were going, things were good. The group started the day at level 14 or just into level 15 and we all hit level 17 inside Najena. Even with two deaths, Thrall and Denelir, the soft targets, both got taken down once, we were way ahead for the evening.
Among the things I associate with EverQuest is time flying by, and it was true that night. We had spent a while running around and getting settled. Midnight came and we old guys had to call it a night. Well, I had to. My daughter fights to stay in bed on school days, but on Saturday and Sunday she pops out of bed at the same time she is supposed to get up on weekdays without any prompting, and that means we have to get up.
So we headed back to Freeport, stopping long enough to pay back Guard Gvarr for his past crimes.
So Najena worked out well for us. The group is all well into 17 now. I am sure that seems very slow to some, but that is about the pace we can sustain.
And while we might venture back to Najena in the short term, now that we know we can knock out the tentacle terrors without too much drama, we will want to keep the tour going as well. I am thinking we ought to get on a boat, cross the Ocean of Tears, and spend some time on the Estate of Unrest. That used to be a happy hunting ground for my paladin back in the day.