Tag Archives: The Shadows of Luclin

Traveling to The Scarlet Desert

It has been a low key goal of mine to hit level 50, the original level cap, in EverQuest during this, its 20th anniversary month.

Of course, I don’t want to do that on one of their retro servers.  A live server will do me just fine.  And that there is an experience boost active on live servers through the end of the month is all the better.  I want to be a tourist.  I want to see the sights, not get in there and grind away.

This goal was prompted by the fact that I seemed on a pace to get there, so why not keep on track to make it happen.  All I seemed to have to do was go visit the daily hot zone quest giver on the Plane of Knowledge every day and run the quest he gave me.

The loading screen tip told me about him

Bonus hot zone experience on top of anniversary bonus experience was popping me up a few levels every day.  There was also a nice piece of equipment as a reward and it got me out into the world to see zones I had not visited in years, or may have never visited.

Hunting tigers on Kunark

And then I took the level 45 quest that sent me off to the Scarlet Desert and things began to go awry.

Norrath is a big place.  As we saw from the infographic they put out for the 20th anniversary, there is a lot of space and a lot of places in EverQuest.

That is a lot of walking

This is not helped by the fact that I haven’t really played EverQuest actively at level in the current content since some point in 2001.  That was 18 years ago.  Maybe my playing into some of The Serpent’s Spine content when it launched might count, but even that was back in 2006, at the start of the life of this blog, now nearly 13 years in the rear view mirror.

Even the Plane of Knowledge, the PoK, which came in with the Planes of Power expansion back in 2002, is in my mental list of “that new stuff.”

Basically, the game has grown far beyond my ability to comprehend, and I have forgotten a lot of even the bits I used to know.

Still, I was managing okay.  The daily hot zone quests for levels 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 were all pretty much in Antonica or Kunark, which meant I could find them by just looking at the in-game atlas and tracking back to a nearby zone that had a teleport from the PoK.

But the quest for level 45 was set in the Scarlet Desert, and I had no idea how to get there.  That was Shadows of Luclin content so, for me, it might as well have been on the moon. *cough*

Yes, it is on the moon

Actually, I went to the Paludal Caverns for one of the earlier quests, but that wasn’t too difficult.  I generally go to Zam, look up the zone, then look up the connecting zones to see if I know how to get to any of those, then the zones that connect to those, by which point I have usually found a landmark or a place with a portal on the PoK.

No so with the Scarlet Desert, the path to which you can see nestled in on the right side of the map, as well as on the south east side below the Twilight Sea. Easy points of reference, like Shar Vahl, the city of the Vah Shir cat people, were multiple hops away, leaving it looking like a long way to walk.

While fiddling around I discovered… or rediscovered, since I am sure I saw it at some time in the past… I guess that was about five years ago at another anniversary… the zone guide interface.  This lists out the many zones in the game and will attempt to chart a path to your destination.

A great idea!  I got it set to direct me to the Scarlet Desert and set off to follow the wisp.

Destination Set

The route seemed to be okay.  It did not include the need to go through an NPC, which I discovered five years back, breaks the pathing… and possibly your ability to follow the path if the NPC is no longer there.  The wisp can be comical at times, following a strict angled path along roads at times, while at other times lighting off and heading straight up almost vertical slopes at others.

One of the things I forget about EverQuest is that you can run up cliffs that would be impassible in other games.  But the wisp knows where you can go up.  Going down, at least without taking damage, can be another matter.  I didn’t have any life threatening falls, but I took some hits going down steep slopes.

Everything was going find until I zoned into Grieg’s End.  The first room in the zone had three aggro level 54 mobs.

Welcoming committee

I had also learned, as I leveled up, that while my mercenary was practically Superman when I was in my 20s, by now he was starting to show some weakness.  At level 41 he couldn’t simply take on three mobs at that level.  He wasn’t going to be able to chip away at them successfully even with heals from me. (Which drew aggro and led to more fun.)

With Grieg’s End seeming impassible for now, I gated us back to the PoK to look into another route.  The guide had actually offered up three and I had just taken the first one.  I excluded Grieg’s End from the list and took the next one offered.

The Fungus Grove route

This one routed me through several routes to the Twilight Sea and, from there, to the Scarlet Desert.  As before, the trip started smoothly enough, until I arrived in the Fungus Grove.  The mobs there were not as high level as Grieg’s End, but still a bit higher than my merc and I.  We dealt with a few solos, but accidentally got embroiled in a mass of attacking mushrooms that was clearly going to overwhelm us over time.  I decided to leave the my merc to his fate and just run for the zone line following the wisp.  But the wisp led me to a dead end… which was soon my dead end.  I was down and back in the PoK again.

Thinking there had to be an easier way, I went to Google to search for routes.  Somebody wrote that the easy way to get there was via the Guild Lobby off of the PoK.  There was a portal there that would drop me just two connections from the Scarlet Desert.

Unfortunately, one of the zones was a level 90+ area and I was one-shotted before I knew it and back in the PoK again, this time down a level.  I forgot that you could lose levels.

Time for another route.  If longer is safer I’d be okay.

Going via The Grey

The route updates as you go along, so that was a few zones into the trip.

This route, again, started out swimmingly.  The main problem along the way, was that the Chelsith Reborn zone was about on level with me and full of aggro mobs.  It also has that classic EverQuest feature/flaw where the mobs are all on the same pathing, so my merc and I ended up being stuck in one spot for over 30 minutes fighting off a seemingly endless series of adds that would wander up and join the fight.

On the bright side, Chelsith Reborn was also flagged as a hot zone, which meant bonus experience.  I recovered level 41, made it to level 42, and got a hair into level 43 just standing around slaughtering elementals and raptors during that time.

As lucrative as that was exp-wise, I did want to move along.  So I made it to the cave that zoned me into The Grey and started carefully looking around there.  It seemed safe.  I threaded my way around the dangers marked on the map when I suddenly noticed that the little breath meter was up, the one that you get when you’re under water.  The zone was airless.

I died.  And lost level 43.

I called it a night, but returned the next day to give The Grey another try.  I got my level back and padded it a bit in Chelsith Reborn, then got to the zone line determined to make a straight run through The Grey to the Scarlet Desert.

At about the halfway point, some mobs chasing me, and my air almost gone, I figured I was not going to make it.  You need to be going faster than I could manage to cross the zone in time.  Fortunately I had my Gate spell on my spell bar and I was able to land safely back in the PoK.  Again.

Having used the three recommended paths to the Scarlet Desert, I decided to pull back and see if maybe it would recommend something different if I specified the Twilight Sea instead.  And, as it turns out, yes, it does.

Headed for the Twilight Sea

That was a long path.  The run through the Katta Castellum was especially long, though it was probably worth the trip just to see it.  It is an example of the EverQuest dev team not being afraid to build on the epic scale.  And the swim across the Twilight Sea leveled up my swimming skill nicely.  But best of all, I arrived safely in the Scarlet Desert.

The Scarlet Desert welcoming committee

Now I just had to find five of the mobs I needed to slay in order to complete the task.  That can be a chore, and I wasn’t having much luck.  On the big mesa in the zone I spotted one of the mobs named however, and decided to give it a shot.

These guys, up on the mesa

There things went south.  I didn’t get just the one mob I wanted, he was linked with two others.  Still, a triple pull seemed within the bounds of our capabilities.  They were all +/- 1 level to us.

However, for no particular reason I could see, I had a moment of merc berserk as he suddenly ran off and collected up every other mob in sight, leaving me high and dry with the three original mobs who proceeded to beat me into the sand.  And there I was, back in the PoK again.

So I ran back.  Visited the castle.  Improved my swimming some more.  Then started in again on my mob search.

I tried the same mob again, thinking it might have been a glitch.  It wasn’t.  My merc just goes crazy up there.  Fortunately I stood a ways back this time and was able to zone out before my merc died.

Time to hunt elsewhere for mobs.

Around the mesa I did find similar mobs and eventually some of the ones I wanted started to spawn.

A sun reaver at last

I found my five, got my nice bit of gear, and ended up just shy of level 45.  Not bad.  It would have been better if I had been able to do it all right the first time.  But this way I did see more of Norrath… my zone achievement count went up quite a bit… even if it took me three evenings to get it done.

And then I had to gate back to the PoK because to get the quest for the next day I had to go back and speak to the hot zone guy again.  So I will be traveling some more.

But the real irony in all of that… the damn quest is called “A Simple Task.”

The Shadows of Luclin Complete on Fippy Darkpaw

The EverQuest expansion, The Shadows of Luclin, went live on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server back on November 21st.

Well, the last boss was cleared as of December 4th.  While the official timeline remains broken, in that it no longer shows who completed quests or killed bosses, reports indicate that Twisted Legion, the dominant guild on the server, brought down Aten Ha Ra.  This event starts the 60 day clock to the next expansion vote.

Luclin Bosses Down

The next vote should commence around the end of January, with the expansion opening, if the “yes” vote passes, by the second week of February at the latest.

The next expansion in line is actually a combo pack if reports are correct, and will include BOTH The Planes of Power and the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansions.

This actually puts the releases out of order, as The Legacy of Ykesha originally came out between those two expansions.  As I understand it, the raid focused Planes of Power and the group focused Lost Dungeons of Norrath were viewed as complimentary sets of content.  So you Frogloks will have to wait until the unlock after that it seems.

This, of course, lead to more forum posts about voting “no” on expansions, which at least might distract from the ongoing complaints about the speed of AA experience.  Planes of Power remains… controversial nine years later… but then so do most of the post-Velious expansions.

The Shadows of Luclin Goes Live on Fippy Darkpaw

Yesterday saw the next EverQuest expansion on the list, The Shadows of Luclin, unlocked on the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server.  The expansion will be live on Vulak as well in another week or so.

Firiona Vie in Space!

(Incredibly awesome full box art image above (click to enlarge) swiped from Giant Bomb, which has more images of Luclin if you are interested.)

This follows the very popular launch of the server back in February, the unlock of Kunark in early June, and the unlock of Velious in August.

With The Shadows of Luclin expansion Fippy Darkpaw is now moving beyond the expansion where EverQuest was my main game.  Not coincidentally, my daughter was born in the same month that Luclin shipped, so I am not even sure if I bought this expansion.  I have the discs from launch, Kunark, and Velious still hanging around, but no evidence that I got to Luclin.  Something in my brain thinks I played until Planes of Power came out, but I think that is because I knew people who talked about/complained bitterly about that particular expansion.

Among the usual flurry of new zones and such, The Shadows of Luclin introduced:

  • Alternate Advancement, those beloved AA points that let you customize your character’s abilities.  Before Luclin, every character of the same class and level was pretty much the same.  After Luclin people began checking how many AA points you had and if you spent them “correctly.”
  • The Val Shir, a cat-like race was added in.  They should not be confused with Kerra, who appeared as NPCs in EverQuest and later became the playable cat race in EverQuest II.
  • Beastlords, a pet using class with something of a monk/shaman mix of skills, appeared on the scene.  Like hunters in WoW and Rangers in Rift, they seemed to be reasonably popular.  I knew some people who rolled up beastlords and got them to level cap despite having several level cap characters already.  And, in a surprisingly slow move, SOE will be introducing Beastlords in the next EverQuest II expansion, Age of Discovery, sometime around the end of this month.
  • New character models.  Who didn’t love that?  Really, that many people?
  • The Nexus, a teleportation system that began the trend  towards trivializing travel in Norrath.
  • The Bazaar was also added, killing off the unofficial Commonlands Tunnel marketplace and introducing a way for player characters to act as NPC vendors, leading to astronomical (and misleading) /played times as dedicated sellers left themselves logged in 24 hours a day.

So Luclin was a game-changing expansion for EverQuest, one of those points in time that people use as a divider. (Usually to divide between something like “good old days” and “that new crap.”)

And what heralded the arrival of this expansion on Fippy Darkpaw?  A message on the EQ Players site or a post/tweet from the EverQuest community manager?  Nah, SOE doesn’t seem to want to exploit nostalgia to promote their most nostalgia driven title.  Besides, they have other things to do.  Those random screen shots of the week don’t scramble themselves after all!

Even the Fippy Darkpaw timeline chart was behind the times when I checked yesterday, though it finally updated this morning.

Luclin Now Open

The unlock of the expansion was a completely automated non-event for SOE.

No, the first notice that Luclin had gone live on Fippy Darkpaw was a post on the time locked progression server forum complaining that AA experience is too damn slow.

Some things never change.

Now how soon until the first boss is down on the server?

If you want to follow my spotty, biased, and nostalgia driven coverage of the time locked progression server, you can click on and bookmark the Fippy Darkpaw tag for the blog, or the wordpress.com-wide tag here, just in case somebody else posts about the server.  (Be warned, the RSS feed for that page runs about 2 weeks behind.)

And, as always, your memories, corrections, and complaints are always welcome on the topic, especially as we are now leaving the realm of personal experience for me.

Who has a Shadows of Luclin memory to share?

Addendum:

There was a post in the forums of each of the three expansion unlock messages, in case you want a more exact time stamp:

[Mon Jun 06 01:01:00 2011] <SYSTEMWIDE_MESSAGE>:The barrier to the Ruins of Kunark has been breached. Make haste, many new and exciting adventures await you in these foreign lands!

[Mon Aug 29 01:01:56 2011] <SYSTEMWIDE_MESSAGE>:The barrier to the Scars of Velious has been breached. Make haste, many new and exciting adventures await you in these foreign lands!

[Mon Nov 21 00:04:23 2011] <SYSTEMWIDE_MESSAGE>:The barrier to the Shadows of Luclin has been breached. Make haste, many new and exciting adventures await you in these foreign lands!

 

Despite Rampant Hacking and GM Shennanigans, Fippy Darkpaw Server is Still Stuck on Velious

Another entry in my sporadic attempt to chronicle the key events of the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server.

And the way things have been going, you might think that SOE had never done a progression server before. (They have.)

Either that, or that somebody there feels that drama is the best advertising they can afford.

First there were complaints about absentee GMs when it came to contested raid bosses, which turned to complaints about how the GMs started handling things when the did show up.

Then there problems with the raid bosses themselves and the wardens guarding the Sleeper, whose awakening is the keystone event of the Scars of Velious expansion.

Along with that, some of the drops needed to complete the 72 item quests that make up lions share of events required to “complete” the expansion were missing.  This is one of those, “You know, you did one of these progression servers just a couple years back, did nobody take notes?” sort of things.

By way of a solution, if a couple of now deleted posts on the progression server forums were to be believed, some GMs took it upon themselves to hand out missing items to a few people who asked… just not to everybody who asked.  Like people weren’t already torqued about the GM sponsored Fight Club thing.

Meanwhile, Ten Ton Hammer has a piece up about the prevalence of hacks in EverQuest, and how they are especially common on the progression servers where there is fierce competition for the fame of being the first on the server accomplish one of the key gating tasks required to unlock the next expansion.

When asked by Massively about the hacks issue, EQ Producer Thom Terazzas said that the EQ team was primarily focused on the upcoming expansion. (Which sounds like the same response Ten Ton Hammer got with their own inquiries.)

All of which adds up to mean that the Scars of Velious expansion, which went live on the Fippy Darkpaw server on August 29th, still is not complete.

The Current State of Velious

No vote on the next expansion can occur until that happens, so the 60 day buffer between the final event and the affirmative vote for the next expansion going live still looms between current players and the Shadows of Luclin expansion.

At least I think that is how it needs to go.  I have saw a post over at the unofficial Fippy Darkpaw forums that said that waking the Sleeper was the sole gating event to starting the count down to the Luclin vote.  The Sleeper was woke 17 days into the Velious cycle.  I still think you need to need to complete everything to kick of the timer for the vote.

I suppose we will see what was the real trigger.  If it was just the Sleeper, then the vote for the Luclin unlock should show up in the middle of November.

Otherwise, we are now into 38th day since Velious went live on Fippy Darkpaw with no end in sight.

Compare this to the Kunark expansion, which was done in 13 days, and the goals for the initial release were brought down within 10 days of the server launch.

And finally, over on the unofficial Fippy Darkpaw forums, people are trying to assemble a list based on memories of what happened with the last progression servers, The Sleeper and The Combine which launched back in June 2006, of what issues might come up with Luclin.

They will at least be forearmed.  Will SOE be forewarned?

The Scars of Velious Open on Fippy Darkpaw

The second EverQuest expansion, Scars of Velious is now live on the Fippy Darkpaw Time-locked Progression Server.

Original Box Art

There was no official announcement as far as I could see. Neither the forums nor the EQPlayers had anything on the subject.  Of course, the forums seem to be reserved for complaining about guilds fighting over the same bosses and the lack of population on these server.  Meanwhile, what passes for “news” on EQPlayers seems to be primarily focused on Station Cash and what you can buy with it.

So it was pretty much by accident that I went to check the status of Fippy Darkpaw this morning and found that Velious was now open… and two bosses down already this morning.

Aug. 29 Game Status

Two bosses down today means that it probably just went live, given how things have gone in the past.

The Ruins of Kunark went live back in early June and was “completed” in about two weeks, which started the 60 day timer for the next expansion, Velious. (I thought it was a 30 day timer initially, but it is 60 days.)

At this rate the next expansion, The Shadows of Luclin, should be available some time in November of this year.  And the last expansion should be live on the server somewhere in the 2014 range.