It is always a bit of a problem for me in EverQuest II. I find a zone that is about the right level that I can work though to the end… and then I am at the end and have to go someplace else.
The last time I checked in from Norrath I was wrapping up the Withered Lands. I had finished the overland zone and had gone off to the instanced area, Skyshrine: City of Dracur. There I had fell short of finishing up everything when faced with an ornery boss dragon, Ovilas.
I couldn’t best him either solo or with a merc healing me, so it looked like I ought to find a new path in order to get to level 100.
I wasn’t badly equipped. Sigwerd had made it up to level 70 when I took one of the occasional free boosts that Daybreak hands out and jumped him to level 95. That boost came with a set of gear that was better than any drop I received over the length of the Withered Land and, aside from Ovilas there, I was able to face most foes solo. Those that I could not solo were generally doable with a merc, though I did have to be careful not to pull half the zone. I could still be swamped if I wasn’t at least a bit self-aware.
And so the search began.
This ought to be an easy thing. You can Google the zones by level for EverQuest II and find a nice chart at one of the wikis.
But what is the right level and what you can handle and how you actually get there are always complications. This is made more difficult by the fact that there is quite a bit of overlap when it comes to zones in a given level range. 95-100 covers several expansions worth of content, often gated by various quest lines and by levels of difficulty that can vary greatly.
For all the problems WoW has, knowing where to go generally isn’t one of them. And, I suppose, this is another answer to the question about why their expansions have levels. It doesn’t just gate, but also segregates content.
Anyway, in looking at that list on the Wiki I decided to hit the Tranquil Sea, only to find out when I got there that I had done a lot of the lead-in quests for the first part of the zone about two years back, when I had boosted Sigwerd to level 95. He’d even made level 96 there. But as to where to pick up after two years away, I was at a loss.
Feeling a bit optimistic, I then tried Zek: The Scourge Wastes, a re-use of the old Zek zone, one of my favorites back in the day. It was listed as level 100 and it was on the list of locations available from the spires. I was level 98, close enough right? However, selecting that as a destination only informed me that I did not meet the requirements to enter the zone. There is a quest to get there, and you can only get the quest after you hit 100.
Then there was another zone on the list… the name of which has already escape my brain… that seemed about right but you needed to learn the language of dragons which was a quest from the old days which involved a dungeon in Lavastorm and a quest chain that I looked into and then gave up on pretty quickly.
And then there was Cobalt Scar, where I started early on, gave up on, then returned to after the other paths did not seem so fruitful. I think the problem was that I took the spires to the zone, and that drops you in one end of the zone, but not the end where any quests lines start.
This was not helped by the fact that apparently at some point I visited and started up one of the quest chains, so the camp part way into the zone that seemed like an obvious place to start… was not at all a place where I could start. Eventually I got that sorted out as I found where I had left off, which was with the otter-like Othmir down on the beach.
The Othmir quest line carries on down the shore, dealing with the usual collections quests and a hostile walrus-like people encroaching on their turf, but then takes a dark turn as you are sent on down the beach into what becomes the Othmir version of The Walking Dead.
There is a fairly sizeable set of quests where you help the surviving and besieged Othmir fortify their outpost them investigate what is going on, which involves travel through both time and space. At one point I was sent off to another zone and somehow totally lost the thread of the story and ended up in the Tower of Frozen Shadow, which is in the Great Divide zone, which happens to be, for the most part, much lower level than what I was looking for.
Game for anything that would get me along to level 100, I went into the tower, grabbed the inevitable quest, and became a bit lost. I went to look up information about the zone and ended up with the walk-through for the original EverQuest version of the tower, which told me to go kill the big undead gnoll. This actually turned out to be correct for the EverQuest II version of the tower as there was indeed a gnoll guarding the mirror that serves as a gateway into the rest of the tower. The problem was that the gnoll was epic. No, really. All the mobs in the zone are.
Again I have run into the problem of being able to tell what I ought to be able to kill and what I should avoid. Ovalis, up at the top, slaughtered my merc and I, so I was a bit concerned that this guy might wipe the floor with us, named Epic 2 full group raid mob that he was.
But it was no problem. My merc and I killed him handily, no problem at all, barely an inconvenience. So I carried on with the quest… until it required me to take on a whole room of such mobs. That was a bit too much even for the merc and I, even when the merc was able to ress me mid-fight for a second run.
Thus thwarted, I turned back from the tower and began to look in earnest for the Othmir undead story thread I had lost. Eventually I found it, got back to Cobalt Scar, from whence I was sent off to the Eastern Wastes, another zone in the Destiny of Velious expansion, to run down some quests at the Othmir camp on the beach. There I met the leader of the Othmir.
They live alongside, and are constantly battling with, a race called the Yha-lei, which I can only describe as what murloc would look like if they lived in Norrath.
I did the Lore and Legend quest for them, the trophy for which is a trident described as “Glubble Bluggle Blurggle Bluggle Glubble.” If that isn’t a straight knock-off of murlocs then I don’t know what is. Unless they were in the EverQuest Scars of Velious expansion, we know where these came ceom.
Again, after being side-tracked for a bit with that I got back on the story thread, ended up back in Cobalt Scar, and seemed to wrap up the whole zombie Othmir quest chain… though the zombies seemed to still be swarming. I guess that is how it always ends up. But there was a quest chain out of there which sent me to a remote camp which, in turn, eventually sent me off to the New Combine fort where the spires dropped me when I entered the zone and into a series of quests that were almost at level for me. At last!
Following those along for a stretch got me through level 99 and to the magic number.
At that point I finished up the quests I had opened and headed off to Yun Zi and his vendor assistant to pick up the level 100 equipment set that was available for characters level 100 and above who had completed the 2017 Days of Summer quest line.
While, as I said, the level 95 gear I got with the boost two years back was pretty good, this new set was a serious boost in stats. I took before/after screen shots just to see how much of a boost it was.
Aside from my shield block percentage, everything went up by a huge amount.
So, of course I made my way back to the Withered Lands to test all this gear on Ovalis, who had so soundly defeated me before. Things went a bit differently this time.
He was no problem now.
Of course, I had just rushed into the instance to slay him, forgetting to pick up the mid-point quests so I could complete the zone. But at least I had made it to level 100.
Which naturally left me once again looking for my next path forward in Norrath.