Tag Archives: Plane of Magic

To Speak as a Dragon and the Plane of Innovation

I left off last time with my quest plans thwarted due to a failure to speak the language.

Say what?

Without that language, Sathirian, I was not going to be able to get the quest that would lead me on my way to getting access to ascension levels.  The wiki said I needed that.

Fortunately, the side task to learn Sathirian turned out to not be that big of a deal.  I needed a collection that rewarded me with a book that unlocked a quest that sent me to somebody with a couple of tasks.  Really, in post-cataclysm Norrath that is like being asked to pop around to the store for a pack of smokes.  So I was soon back, speaking the language, and ready to move on.  That led to a series of quests… because it always does… which I seemed to be able to move through pretty smoothly.  I was following the wiki because, as I noted, this was all a huge side task to unlock ascension levels.  So I ran off and did the quests and reported back.

That one time a mob kicked me out of the zone…

That led me to a quest that, over on the wiki, had the following language requirements.

  • You need to be able to speak draconic to speak with the Scrollkeeper Sataleeti
  • You need to be able to speak Sathirian
  • You need to be able to speak Goblish for this quest.

Goblish, the language of the goblins I had for sure, and I had just done the quest for Sathirian, so covered on that base.  But Draconic?  I had to check my language list.

Languages are a thing in Norrath

Draconic was not on the list. (My list is kind of short compared to all the possible options.)  So I went to the part of the wiki about that language and it advised me that I needed to run through the quest To Speak as a Dragon.

That told me I needed to speak Krombral first, which I had covered, and that I needed to head to Lavastorm in order to kick off the quest.  Off to another zone.

There I followed the first couple of steps… though I seemed to be going through the motions.  I wasn’t getting any updates, and the steps seemed vaguely familiar to me.  But I’ve been dinking around in Norrath for more than 15 years now, I’ve been a lot of places and Lavastorm is one of the original launch zones.

I got to the step that sent me off to Solusek’s Eye, a dungeon in Lavastorm, which I fumbled around a bit finding, but eventually got into.  Once inside, I needed to go to Nagafen’s Lair, which is at the very end of the dungeon… and this is a big dungeon.  But getting down to the bottom started simply enough, largely because I still have the EQ2 Maps addon installed, so it was a matter of finding the arrows that led to ramps or elevators or whatever.

Waiting on the level 1 elevator

Along the way I saw some Efreeti, which reminded me that I still had a lore and legend quest for them.  So I slew all that I saw, which actually completed the quest for me eventually… on the second run.

Way down on level 7 you have to run along translucent ramps over lava pits to get to an elevator that isn’t well marked and… well… mistakes were made and I got stuck and had to recall and start over again.

You can fall off of these ramps

The second time around I got to the right elevator, went from level 7 to 6, followed the other path, went through the thingy, killed the guy, and eventually got to the right person.  Really, there is a whole wiki page about the dungeon and then another on how to get where I was going.

Majordomo Inferinus with Nagafen in the background

Majordomo Inferinus had a quest update for me, the first that I had run into, indicating that I had started down this path at some time previously… and likely gave up trying to get to Nagafen.

The update sent me to the Tower of Oracles in Antonica, a really old school zone.  There I spoke to the Sage of Ages who said he could teach me Draconic if I could run out and fetch a few things for him.  Runes.  Twenty-six runes.  Twenty-six runes that had been scattered all over the original zones of post-cataclysm Norrath.

I was going on the road.

I wasn’t going to even pretend to seek any of these runes out on my own.  I went straight to the wiki to get zone and location of every single one of them, and they were hidden far and wide.

Most were easy enough to get to.  The first one was nearby in Qeynos.

Like flying home

For one of them I had to sneak into Freeport via a side door.  Fortunately, at level 108 the Freeport guards mostly just shake their fists at you in annoyance.

First one to give me lip gets the shovel

There was a lot of entering old dungeons, pasting in the waypoint from the wiki, and just running to grab the rune.  But there were three spots that I had trouble with.

The first was in Stormhold, which was a dungeon I used to know like the back of my hand.  We spent a lot of time there back in the day.  But I could not recall how to get to the library.  Eventually I found a reference to a grate on the floor, but I spend some time running around.

Then there were the three in the Obelisk of Lost Souls.  The first was easy, but the other two were on the third floor of the dungeon, but to get to that you had to solve the maze on the second floor.  In the end it didn’t turn out to be difficult.  The problem was more that the wiki was focused on the step before then the step after, rather breezing over a couple of key facts that would have made everything go much more quickly.

I ran a quest that I didn’t need to, but whatever.  Eventually I made it to the last run on the third floor.

The place is kind of a dump

That got me the runes from there, though I saved the two in Lavastorm, down in Solusek’s Eye, for last just in case I needed to speak to Nagafen or his buddy again.  But I did not.  It was back to Atonica to the Sage of Ages who agreed that he could now teach me Draconic.

Lets get to it then!

Then, hey presto, I had the language on my list.

Now featuring Draconic!

That done it was back to Kunark and the Obulos Frontier to carry on with the quests.  I pressed on ahead, successfully running down the quest chain.  Everybody around the ascension trainer I wanted to speak to was now no longer hostile to me, the vendors wanted my business.  It was time to speak to Aranolh Tol’ren, master geomancer, to learn the Geomancer ascension class.  So I clicked on his and…

You son of a bitch!

Yes, I totally did not speak the right language.  Again.  Fuck me.

By this point though Bhagpuss had left a comment on my last post suggesting that I might not even need to do this quest chain, that the ascension trainer in the Coliseum of Valor might just train me up if I asked.  Th wiki says you can upgrade your ascension level cap there, but seems to suggest that you have to start out in Kunark as I was attempting.  Still, checking out the suggestion was probably easier than another language quest.

So I went back to the Plane of Magic and went to the Coliseum of Valor and spoke to Sunspear the ascension trainer and, well…

I feel like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz

Thus enabled, I trained Geomancer powers, used my little five level ascension boost token, which got me a couple of heavy hitting skills, which I managed to find room for on my four hot bars.

From there me, my mount, my mercenary, my pet, and my familiar, my upgraded combat skills, and my new Geomancer attacks, headed back into the Plane of Innovation to put the hurt on some tinker toys.

Give me numbers! More numbers!

Seriously, the numbers in EQII are pretty much set to ludicrous speed.

At that point I really couldn’t tell which thing I did had what effect, but overall I seemed to be slaying things more quickly.  Named mobs were maybe 8 minute fights, down from 25, while normal heroic groups were just a minute or two.

I fought a rogue roomba and what looked to be a giant floating mechanical head.

Getting ahead in the Plane of Innovation

It all ended up with a final mechanical boss that I had to stop and wind up at various points of the battle… anything to keep the fight going.

Taking the fight to him

That got me through the first instance.  However, I was disappointed at my leisurely progress. I remained level 108 and, though all of this, I think I advanced maybe 2%.  It isn’t that I haven’t enjoyed tracking these things down, but my goal is to get to level 110 before the Blood of Luclin expansion hits, and time was running out.  After all of that… and a lot of those Kunark quests were blue to me, so granted experience… I was all of 7% into level 108.

Well, there was no point in going elsewhere, so I pressed on into the second instance for another round of battle with clockwork menace.

Clockworks with a theme

There was some slow going.  A couple of the named mobs, like Toa the Shiny there, drain you power, which means you end up being unable to use your combat abilities, and you are nothing it you are reduced to melee only.  This isn’t WoW Classic. But I muddled through, thanks in part to some power restoration potions I had in my inventory.  I am not sure where I got them… probably part of the ages ago level 90 character boost… but they came in handy.  Anyway, I made it to the final confrontation with the Great Gear.

He doesn’t look so great to me…

There was, of course, a fight, but I made it through once more, grabbed the magic dingus, and retraced my steps back to an NPC and then back to the Coliseum of Valor.

The Wiki entry on this was very helpful, as at several points it has to tell you not to do what the quest tracker tells you to do or you’ll have to start the instance all over from scratch.

Back in the Coliseum of Valor it was time to turn in the quest to Druzzil Ro.  My hope was that this would at least get me close to level 109.  But when I turned it in, I was suddenly level 110.

Level cap at last!

This may be the first time in nearly forever that I was at the level cap before the next expansion dropped.  I was maybe level 48 when Desert of Flames hit back in the day, and I’ve been behind ever since.

I was also now able to use some of that stuff that dropped from the dragon event!  Time for some mount and merc upgrades.

But I was left wondering what to do next.

Part of me wants to just go run the dragon event some more, to farm for more drops.  But another part wants to get out an alt and, using what I now know, do a sprint to 110.  Don’t I get some sort of xp boost now that I have a character at level cap?

And then there are my lagging trade skills.  Do I get moving on those?

Any route I choose, my main goal was accomplished.  I will actually be ready when Blood of Luclin goes live on December 17th.

Getting Side Tracked on the way to 110 in Norrath

I carried on for a bit in the Plane of Magic in EverQuest II.  I made it through the faction quest line I was working on and dug into the signature quest line for the zone, making it into the Coliseum of Valor.

Hob nobbing with the deities of Norrath

I managed to make it to level 108 as part of that.

Another level further along

I even managed to collect enough status along the way to boost the guild up a level.

I don’t think we get anything until 50

It has been a few years since that happened.  I think we got to level 40 back in 2010 during my attempt to bring the instance group to the game.

After that it was into the Plane of Innovation where things… really slowed down.  Not the drip of experience, which was already almost non-existent for mobs, but the pace at which I could slay them.  I was able to slay them, despite being level 100 heroic groups.

That guys was worth an achievement

With a mercenary along to keep me healed and my gear level I was in no danger of dying.  But it was taking a long time to kill encounters.  Heroic groups were running past 5 minutes per fight and that Ancient Clockwork Prototype was a 25 minute bout.  That is a long time to be mashing buttons… and in EQII you have a ton of buttons to mash.  I have four hot key bars up in my UI, three to keep essential combat related skills and another for utility items I use often, and I know I am missing a bunch of skill.  I am just glad that when you die the game retains all of the “until cancelled” buffs you cast on yourself.  I’d need another hot bar for that list.

Anyway, with fights starting to run that long I began to think that perhaps my DPS was not up to snuff.  As I said, my defenses seem to be fine, so it was time to look into things to make me hit harder.

First up was skill upgrades.  I think I have mentioned before the complexity of EQII skills.  When you gain a skill, or a skill upgrade, it comes in at apprentice level.  You can upgrade that to journeyman level via trade skills, adept via random skill drops, expert from trade skills using rare components, master from rare chest drops, grandmaster via an every 10 levels, pick one skill, alternate advancement mechanism, and ancient via rare raid drops.  There is a whole thing on the wiki about this.

You can also train them up via a time learning mechanism akin to EVE Online skill training, which at level 100+ takes about 16 to 20 days to go from apprentice to journeyman.  But  if you want to spend money you can buy Station Cash and level those up instantly.

Upgrades, wait or pay

I opted to wait given the current price of Daybreak Cash.

Daybreak Cash Prices

With my subscription discount and buying Daybreak Cash at its cheapest per unit price, that instance upgrade to just journeyman would run about $78.  And, while I would take a journeyman upgrade, I really wanted something a bit better.

That is because, as you might expect, every step up the upgrade ladder makes a skill noticeably better.  You can even get in situations where a level VI version of a skill at grandmaster is much better than the level VII version at apprentice.  The game tries to work around that by doing a compare when you earn a new skill and leaving the old one on your hot bar if it is better.  But if you later upgrade the new one you have to go and audit your hot bar to make sure you have the right one.

And if you have boosted your character up levels… well.  Sigwerd got past level 60 on his own, then boosted to 90 and has gone from there to 108.  Along the way some of the skills in his hot bars have fallen behind.  So I went through and fixed all of that.

Then I started shopping for upgrades on the market.  But the prices for adepts for level 100+ skills are insane.  Sigwerd has about 50K platinum, making him my wealthiest character.  Inflation got him that money through the market.  But inflation means he could piss that all away quickly on the adept upgrades for his skill, which run from 2.5K to 10K platinum each.

Few people seemed to be making journeyman skills, and those that were on the market were even more expensive than adept skills.

The prices of a Frenzy VI upgrade

I went to my alchemist, but he is only level 92 in that trade, so I need to level him up there.  And even then there is the question of getting the recipes which require a signature quest run.

So I did what I could there then started fishing elsewhere.

I went through my alternate advancement trees to see if there was anything I could boost there.

I looked at gear, but my stuff from the Days of Summer quest last year was still better than anything on the market, along with the upgrades to that I had gotten in the Plane of Magic.

At one point I was looking through my claimable items… those have piled up over the last 15 years… and found a mount that had better stats than my own, so swapped to that and started upgrading it.  I also claimed a companion pet I had in there that also gave me a stats boost.  And I bought a familiar… which is also a pet of sorts that also gives you stats, so I am not sure what the difference is, other than that familiars are “collectable” and have seasons and cost Daybreak Cash.  I got a slug.  But it was a slug that gave me a stats boost.

While in the claims window I also ran across some other, older, unclaimed items I found a token worth a five ascension level boost.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I recalled something about ascension levels and it being something of an alternate alternate advancement path.  So I figured I ought to track that down.

Now we get into one of my gripes about EQII.  I am sitting in something close to the current content, running one expansion back in Planes of Prophecy.  But ascension levels came in with Kunark Ascending, the expansion before that.  In order to unlock access to ascension levels, I need to run down a signature quest in that expansion.  But to get that quest I need to go back to the expansion before that, Terrors of Thalumbra, and run through a signature quest there to unlock the trigger to get the quest that will get me into the zone, Obulus Frontier, that has the NPC that will give me the quest that will unlock ascension levels.  That quest chain actually starts on the Isle of Mara, which sends me around a bit to other zones.  Then it is finally off to Thalumbra, which you have to do a quest to access, and where I need to work on my faction with the local in order to get the next quest that will lead to the further quest.

Thalumbra is underground

So I ran through that, getting side tracked along the way to unlock access to trade skill recipes so I could craft beyond level 100, since that was only another six quest chain and I was down there anyway.

Eventually I get into Obulus Frontier, but it is late in the evening so I figure I will pick this up the next day and recall home to sell stuff in my bloated inventory and put stuff up for sale on the market.  In my inventory is a bunch of stuff from the Days of Summer 2019 quest event, which was still running, and which I ran across by accident when I ended up in the Sundered Frontier on one leg of one of the quests to get access to Obulus Frontier, so of course I stopped and ran those.  Now I have a full set of level 110 gear to wear if and when I make it to level 110.  So I had to put that in the bank.

Of course, the next day I had to figure out how to get back.  The wiki says there is a way to get there from Thalumbra, so I go to Greater Faydark, take the gnomish transport device, and fly around to the spot where I can get in.

Me, my companion, and my familiar

However, it won’t let me in.  I have not done the quest that opens up the access from Thalumbra to Obulus Frontier, because of course I haven’t.  So I go to Kunark and find my way through to the portal that will get me to the zone and I go in and I find the mob that will give me the quest that will finally unlock ascension levels… and I get this.

Say what?

As it turns out, I do not speak her language because, as you might be able to guess at this point, I have not done the quest that will teach me the language that lets me speak to her to get the quest that will unlock ascension levels and one voice in the back of my head is shouting, “Are you fucking kidding me?” while another is just sighing and saying, “Or course there is another quest.”

So I ran off to find that quest.  And I know that won’t be the last quest.  I took a moment to fly off to the person who actually ends up training you in your ascension class and they were surrounded by hostile guards, which likely means I will need to do some more quests to raise my faction sufficiently to get through the guards and converse with the trainer.

I am not upset about this trail of events.  That I spent three late evening running through all of this and am still going is an indication that I am invested.  But as a solution to my original problem, that fights were taking a long time, it seems to be something of a bust.  I don’t know if this will actually solve the problem and, more pertinently, if I had just put up with the long fights I would have easily been done and through and on to the next thing and probably level 109 with the same investment of time.

And if I had spent that same amount of time running some of the repeatable, faction earning side quests in the Plane of Magic I would undoubtedly be level 110 by now, my original goal.

Such is life with EverQuest II.  If you haven’t kept up, catching up can be a long process.  And I have had no shame in this using the wiki, pasting in way points, and just taking the direct route to things.  I cannot imagine figuring this out without simply giving up and embracing out of game information.

It has also been something of an interesting dive into an attitude or two that has changed at Daybreak on the Norrath team.  There was a era when they were very big on marking quest locations or areas on the map when you had then up on your tracker.  There were blue dots and shaded blue areas where you could expect to find the relevant NPC or mobs for the quest.  They have apparently given up on this completely with the last expansion or two.  Why spend time on that when there is always the wiki I guess.

The quest for level 110 continues.

Level 105 Fever in the Plane of Magic

I re-subbed to the Daybreak All Access pass for the EverQuest II 15th anniversary events, as I did back in March for the EverQuest 20th anniversary.  This started off with chasing some dragons, as I mentioned last week.

Dragon in the Loping Plains

There are four dragons and they are not hard to find.  They spawn in a rotation by the travel spires in four zones.  You can follow them through their cycle going from Thundering Steppes to Everfrost to Nektulos Forest to Loping Plains.  I think that is the order.  I just go where the crowd goes.  There are some interesting drops and an achievement and special mount form if you slay all four dragons.

Spires Defended

Achievement reward

I did that with the character I consider my main, Sigwerd, a level 100 berserker on the Skyfire server.  Then I got out my level 100 paladin on the same server and did it again.

Dragon in Nektulos Forest

And then I did it yet again with a level 100 berserker, Reynaldo on the Hands of Fate server, who is still knocking around in the Revelry & Honor guild.  It was a bit tougher with him as I have never bothered to get him a mercenary, and not having your own pet healer means taking care.  Still, I managed it with him.

I have another level 100 character sitting around, a Shadowknight who was one of my level 100 boosted characters… Sigward is the only one who leveled up to 100, and I seem to recall boosting him to 85 back in the day… but I wasn’t sure how much commitment I really had to him.

And I was wondering how to use some of the nice drops I got from the dragon event.  Bhagpuss has a post that shows the dragon form mount.  They were all flagged for level 110 players and my highest group there is all level 100.  I wanted to get somebody to level 110.

The easiest way to do that would be another boost.  And since you get a level 110 boost with the base Blood of Luclin expansion pre-order at basically the same price as a boost out of the cash shop, I figured I might as well grab the expansion.

So there was now a level 110 boost in my /claim items.  However, in buying the expansion I also unlocked all of the previous expansions.  I do not remember the last time I bought an expansion, but now I had everything live on the server.  So I decided to see if I could just level up to 110 via content rather than using the boost right away.

Of course, as I always say when I come back to EverQuest II, the game is pretty bad at telling you where to go or what to do in order to get started at whatever level you left off at.  I had been doing something in the Vesspyr Isles previously with Sigwerd, but I recalled it being very slow.  He was barely 5% into level 100 and I knew he had done a series of quests there already.  I was not keen to go back, so I looked around at what else was available.

There was Myrist, The Great Library on my map, but that said it was for level 110 players.  Next to it, however, was the Plane of Magic.  That said level 100, which seemed good enough for me, so I gave that a shot.  I took the spires there and was in.

When you wander into the Plane of Magic you have to pick a faction to work with.  Each espouses a specific philosophy, but I chose House Vahla pretty much at random.  They had a nice gold trimmed platform.

Turning in a quest on their platform

The first couple of quests boosted me up to level 101 pretty quickly.  It was one of those deals where you have to earn enough status with the faction in order to unlock further quests, so I repeated the first two a few times.  Soon I was level 102.  Clearly these were decent quests.  I had read somewhere that Daybreak chose to emphasize questing for leveling up.  While I had the membership boost, the vitality boost (blue bar in EQII land), and a pre-expansion experience boost going, slaying mobs didn’t move the experience bar at all, no matter how hard I hit things.

Hitting things repeatedly

The damage I do seems to throw out crazy random numbers.  And EQII does not suffer from a lack of combat skills, so I just mash a bunch of buttons and things die.

Getting around wasn’t too bad either.  EQII has embraced flying and my berserker had a mount from a special event from way back, so I just glided over the terrain, dropping on my targets when I needed to.

Swooping by a waterfall

But it is the quests that boosted me along.  It wasn’t a long time before I had made it to level 105.

Half way to 110

After that the quest experience started to slow down some.  But I am going to try and carry on a bit and see if I cannot get to 110 on my own before the Blood of Luclin expansion hits.  It might be something to actually be lined up at the right level for an expansion when it drops.  Of course, we’ll see if I can actually figure out where to go when it does drop.  Daybreak still isn’t very good at that.

Addendum:  I carried on after I wrote this and made it to level 107.  I had to use the Orb of Concentrated Memories, an item usable once every seven days that restores you exp vitality.

The guild log shows me leveling up

Now I’ll have to see if I can make those last three levels before the bonus exp runs out.