Tag Archives: West Karana

West Karana Abides

With the release of the latest EverQuest expansion, Call of the Forsaken, I felt just a tinge of anxiety.  One of the new zones listed for the expansion was West Karana.

I wondered if SOE might have tinkered with one of the most iconic zones in my history with the game.

West Karana all on One Map

West Karana all on One Map

So I had to patch up and log in to check.  Of course, it was night time.  That made for better atmosphere, but worse screen shots.

There were a couple of new guys at the entrance to the zone, working a bonfire or conducting a book burning or some such.

Roast a marshmallow with us?

Roast a marshmallow with us?

But otherwise the zone appeared to be still intact and as I remembered it.  Angular terrain, horrible textures, towers and buildings lit with that warm glow, bandits camping, scarecrows prancing, beetles clacking, and beasts wandering.

West Karana is still safe tonight, which seems surprisingly important to me at the moment.

The (Over?) Power of Mercenaries!

Still infused with our fresh wave of EverQuest nostalgia, Potshot and I were out of the tutorial and in old Norrath again.  My warrior and his bard were both level 11, we each had a mercenary in tow, and we wanted to see how we might fare in the world.

It is a big world, and where to go is always a challenge.  And this all the more with the Plane of  Knowledge available to us, since we can drop in on so many places without much travel time.  But without a lot of time to invest in researching where we should go, it had to be some place obvious.

The game itself suggested Blackburrow when we hit level 11, which seemed kind of low level.  I suggested West Karana, which has a variety of things to go after, and Potshot agreed.  It is one of those classic zones where nobody ever hangs out.

West Karana all on One Map

(Map image from Phoenix Dragoons site)

My thought was bandit camps.  That was something of a known quantity for us after last year on the Fippy Darkpaw server.  And though we were a level or two up on where we were when we started on bandits back then, adds and aggro management was still a danger to us at our level.

So we waded into the bandits.  First in the smaller groups that are on the plains around the farm, then later into the larger groups up in the hills.  And we were pretty much invincible.

Bandit Problems? Call Mercs R Us!

We went through a few rounds of clearing out bandit camps, including spawns with the ever annoying (and often deadly), casting bandits.

Basically, any time we were coming up short, the mercenaries picked up the slack.

It was nice to see that my mercenary, the healer, would not only heal Potshot and myself, but would also heal Potshot’s tank mercenary along with herself.  In fact, there were times when we seemed to be somewhat superfluous to the fight.

In the picture above, we had managed to pull the whole camp of bandits.  That looked like trouble.  But my merc pulled aggro on the whole group by healing me and ended up off tanking everything while just standing there healing once in a while.  Meanwhile, Potshot’s merc was doing more damage than either of us.  I tried to look effective by taunting so I could at least tank one of the bandits.

At more than one point in these fights it looked like we could have just stepped back and let the bots clean things up.  There were a couple of fights where us focusing on the right bandit first, like the level 12 casters, needed our involvement.  But we clearly had to screw things up mightily to worry about a wipe.

After demonstrating clear mastery over bandits, I ran us over to the farm fields to chase scarecrows. (Scarecrows were one of my early favorite models.  I like light shining out of their faces and the way they move.)

Here, due to bad placement and wide ranging scarecrow movement, we ended up taking on three scarecrows in a chain.  We never had to face more than two at once, but these were mobs were red to us.

Scarecrow in West Karana

And while I was nervous going in, especially when we started getting adds, we ended up knocking off the scarecrows without much drama.  The mercenaries kept us going, again doing the healing and most of the damage.  I managed to taunt well enough to tank and pretend I was making a difference, but I was pretty sure again that we could have gone off for tea and the mercs would have cleaned up for us.

The experience was pretty good though.  I was seeing 12% of a level from each scarecrow.  That got me well into level 12 and tipped Potshot into that level as well.

We did eventually meet our match.  A wandering spirit roamed by us, looking like four wisps glued together in two pairs, and I immediately tagged it, only to find we were taking serious damage from it without doing much of our own.

I quickly googled the mob and found it on Zam and found that it was level 25.  I suppose here was the test.  It was pretty clear that we were not going to be able to bring it down, but we hung around in the fight long after we should of to see how long we would last.  In what I would call a 7 minute battle (estimating methodology: take how long the fight seemed and cut that time at least in half, because people always over estimate) the mercenaries covered for us and stayed up until the healer ran out of mana.  And then it was slow death, all of us dropping one by one.

The mercenaries went down first.  Then, when we finally decided it was high time to leave, we could never quite get away as the wandering spirit would root us.  So we died too, a full wipe.

We were then back at the Plane of Knowledge, where Potshot discovered he lost a level.  So we ran out quickly and got that back before calling it a night.

This was my first real “out in the world” use of mercenaries in EverQuest.  They seem pretty powerful, considering we were using a pair of apprentice mercs. I suspect that this will even out some as we level up.

Now we just have to figure out where we should go in the world with this group to get us in range of the Lost Dungeons of Norrath content.

Norrath is such a big place and there are so many choices at any level.

Day and Night on Lake Rathetear

Having settled ourselves on the shores of Lake Rathetear, it was time to see if we could hunt there successfully.  Our goal was to get to level 19.

We decided to hit the gnolls and undead that guard the area that leads to South Karana.

Map of Lake Rathetear

(Map, as usual, from the EQ Atlas archive.)

On the map above, the area we were headed towards is marked with a “2,” while our camping point is marked with a “13.”

Getting there meant a swim of course.

Swimming to our target

Once there, we got ourselves together on the ledge overlooking the gnoll encampment, did our various buff, and generally made a plan.

Set up time

Down below us was a single gnoll, two groups of two gnolls each, and one group of four gnolls.  The gnolls were a mix of guards and shaman.  They were all at least a level or two below us, as they all con’d blue to us, so the experience was so-so, but they respawn rate was generally fast enough that we rarely had to touch the group of four.

When the sun went down though, the respawns turned to undead, which were much more lucrative for experience, as they usually con’d at our level or above, though some of the plain skeletons still con’d blue.

Combo gnoll AND undead

The only unfortunate part was that, in the 72 minute representation of the 24 hour day/night cycle in EverQuest, undead only seemed to spawn from 8pm to 5am, or about 27 of minutes.  So we spent most of our time grinding slowly through gnolls waiting for the sun to go down.

Eventually though, we started hitting 19, one by one.  When hitting 19, a little pop-up gave us advice on where to hunt next.

Of course, South Karana was just steps away.  However, the most lucrative spot for us, the Aviak tree house, was heavily camped when we got on.  But as the night dragged on and we faced another stretch of gnolls after three of us had already hit 19, we decided to head into South Karana to see if we could speed things up a bit.  We were also all encumbered with drops, so the centaur camp and its vendor was on our list of destinations.

It was late, past 11pm Pacific, and the Aviaks appeared to be at peace, so we were able to dive in for a bit and clear out those on the ground around the base of the tree house.

Attacking the Aviaks

However, our burdens were hurting our ability to fight.  Deneldir was slowed to walking speed when not buffed.  So we decided to head toward the vendor, taking targets of opportunity as we moved.

An opportune elephant

After we relieved ourselves of our excess mass at the vendor, we decided to head into North Karana.  Though we did okay in Lake Rathetear, we decided to head to Odus and Kerra Island for our next round, which meant heading first back to Qeynos.  North Karana is along the way.  We figured that we could get Deneldir his last few percentage to level there.

The familiar bridge in sight

That actually took much longer than I thought it would.  There is a gap in levels in the zone, with hill giants, griffons, and griffenes still conning red to us, but most everything else in the zone showing up as gray.  There were a few blue con mobs, high level beetles and griffawns, and a couple of runs around the zone finally got Deneldir his level.  The group was all level 19.

It was nearly midnight at that point, so we camped at the gypsy camp which, while not exactly safe, is still safer than the bridge is for Tistann.  He seems to be persona non-grata with the followers of Rodcet Nife, a priest of which is in the bridge tower.  He’s attacked me before.

The next morning I ran my guys back to Qeynos across West Karana.  Again, another odd experience, as the zone was almost all gray to my guys at 19, but I knew that there were still a couple of mobs out there I had to fear.  I even found a couple that were still worth killing for experience.

Scarecrows in West Karana

I cleared the field of scarecrows and continued on, eventually spotting the warm glow of the West Karana towers, something very home-like and familiar.  Then it was through to Qeynos, where I bound my guys on the dock so that they were be ready to travel to Odus later on.

Sunset on the Qeynos Docks

Next time, adventures on Kerra Island.

Getting to Freeport is a Breeze

Sunday afternoon, Potshot and I were able to get together in EverQuest and continue our adventures.

Both of us had been working on our armor quests and had gotten quite far.

Thrall, Tistann, and Tarlach in new outfits

Tistann is only missing his new helm, while Tarlach is just short a pair of gauntlets to complete all of his quests.

Thrall only has the sleeves, bracers, dagger, and robe so far, though when you look at that robe you might ask, “What else could he possibly need?”  Ming the Merciless reborn!  The collar on the robe is an especially good detail.

And then there is poor Deneldir.

The druid armor quests from Surefall Glade appear to be bugged, so he does not have any shiny new duds to show off.  But if things are going right, he doesn’t have to do much beyond heal and buff and toss in the occasional damage spell.

We though we ought to take our new threads out for a test drive, so we headed to West Karana and the bandit camp on the ridge where we have been a couple of times before as part of other groups.

We're hunting bandits

The combination of upgraded equipment and higher levels all around made for a very successful expedition.

We found we could take on as many as six bandits at once (or five bandits and a higher level brigand) without things coming unglued, even when some wise guy trained a few bandits over us while I was AFK.

That moved us right along experience-wise, and Thrall became the first in the group to hit level 14.

This was odd, since when I started out Thrall, he was almost two levels behind Tistann.  By level 11 he had almost caught up and now at level 14 he is a good 20% of a level ahead.  I have to think that this is the racial penalties in play.  Tistann has the half-elf burden while while Thrall, being human, faces no penalty.

Or maybe the bard experience table is just a bit tougher than the enchanter table.

Either way though, Thrall hitting 14 was a big deal, because at 14 he got the spell Breeze, one of my three favorite early game spells along with Spirit of the Wolf and Mesmerize.

Dinner time ended our bandit camping, but later on in the evening I got back online with a mind to run east again to the Commonlands to pick up that new spell.

I brought Tistann along for his song of speed and headed out.

Unlike the last trip, I was prepared both physically and mentally.  Specifically, I heeded my own “too late” advice that came to me on the last trip and just ran along the north wall of Kithicor Forest.

The only hazard here is falling off...

Nothing blocked my way to the Commonlands aside from an occasional tree that was too close to the invisible zone barrier for me to squeeze around.

Then it was just a matter of finding the right vendor… and not getting killed by the wrong one yet again.

I wandered around a bit and then vaguely remember that there were some spell vendors over in the tunnel to North Ro.  The tunnel that is effectively the Commonlands Bazaar.

Plenty to buy and sell... don't trip on the dead troll

Inside the tunnel I wandered around until I found the right vendor and was able to make the big purchase.

Worth every copper!

And so my main mission was accomplished.

I still had a giant fire beetle carapace to collect along with a coyote skull, but figured that could wait a bit.

As I was about to log off for the evening, Potshot logged in.

I mentioned that I had made it successfully to the Commonlands.  After a quick chat we decided that, since we now have bind affinity on two of our characters, it might be time for a change of scenery.

So I parked myself in Freeport while Potshot started out on his own cross-country journey.

Of course, once I bind in Freeport it will mean running the other way across Norrath to complete the armor quests.  But maybe the druid armor quests in Freeport are not bugged so Deneldir can get a few upgrades.

This will also test my EverQuest knowledge.  I have adventured around Freeport and on Faydwer before, but most of my memories are from west of Highpass Hold and involve leveling up in zones in the order: West Karana, North Karana, East Karana, South Karana (Aviaks!), and then the Rathe Mountains.  Outside of that, things are a bit blurry.

Norrathian Scavenger Hunt

It looks like the low level armor quests are in for my two characters, a bard and an enchanter, as well as for Potshot’s paladin and druid.  So for much of this week we have put off the experience grind in favor of completing these quests, each of which give you a full set of armor and a weapon when done.

Seeking out these items is a bit of a scavenger hunt.

For example, to wrap up the bard armor quest in Qeynos, the Wind Spirits Armor quest line, you end up with quite a list of  items to obtain, which seem to fall into three categories.

There is the raw element needed for all of the recipes.  For the bard it is this:

  • 20 – Brick Of Crude Iron Ore

These drop off of gnolls in and around Blackburrow, so are easy enough to find, though they are a pain to accumulate as they weigh 15 lbs. and cause you to become encumbered after picking up only one or two.

There there are the standard vendor items that you can pick up around town at any time.  Again, for the bard quest these are.

  • 1 – Arrow
  • 1 – Bottle
  • 1 – Honey Mead
  • 1 – Throwing Spear

And then there is the Scavenger Hunt.  These items all drop off of mobs.  Some of them you can find at vendors in the area, having been sold for coin by people who did not need them, while others are flagged as No Drop and thus have to be looted from the mob in question by you personally.

  • 1 – Bandit Sash
  • 1 – Bat Fur
  • 1 – Black Wolf Tooth
  • 2 – Blackburrow Gnoll Pelt
  • 1 – Brown Bear Femur
  • 1 – Coyote Skull
  • 1 – Diseased Wolf Pelt
  • 1 – Giant Fire Beetle Carapace
  • 1 – Giant Spider Egg Sack
  • 1 – Gnoll Backbone
  • 2 – Gnoll Pelvis
  • 1 – Gnoll Scoutsman Documents
  • 1 – Greater Cat Tooth
  • 1 – Lock Of Scarecrow Straw
  • 1 – Low Quality Bear Skin
  • 1 – Matted Greater Cat Pelt
  • 2 – Ruined Wolf Pelt
  • 2 – Spider Legs
  • 2 – Vial Of Gnoll Blood
  • 1 – Woven Spider Silk
  • 1 – Young Puma Skin

The No Drop items seem to be spread out so that each recipe has one, so you cannot work completely from the vendors in your area.

Via some aggressive shopping (I covered all the vendors in West Karana, North Karana, and East Karana), and only a bit of mob camping, I have been able to make two bracers, the boots, and the breast plate for Tistann.  The armor is… bright emerald green.

Bard turning slowly green

The nice thing though is that, when you make the chest item for your quest, you also get offered the quest for the weapon that goes with the set, which in my case was the Wind Spirits Longsword.

That sword might be one of the best looking I have seen so far in the game.

Tistann's new blade

The design is simple and functional, taking the form of a katana.

I am somewhat stuck on the coyote skull, the young puma skin, and the giant fire beetle carapace, none of which I have seen anywhere.  And then there is the diseased wolf pelt, which seems to drop quite regularly off of rabid wolves in Qeynos Hills, only they are a pretty rare spawn.  I count myself lucky to have gotten one so far.

The Qeynos armor quest for my enchanter, the Arcane Order Armor, has a likewise long list of items to obtain.  The magic users, magicians, enchanters, and wizards all get the same quest.  It is no wonder nobody can tell them apart on site.

Thrall looking for some clothes

For Thrall’s quests, the basic item for each recipe is:

  • 20 – Woven Spider Silks

Those are easy enough to find hunting spiders out in West Karana.

And the vendor items… well… they make more sense than perhaps some of the bard items.  An arrow and a bottle?  Really?

  • 1 – Cloth Cap
  • 1 – Cloth Sandals
  • 1 – Cloth Shirt
  • 1 – Cloth Sleeves
  • 1 – Cloth Wristband

And then, again, there is the Scavenger Hunt:

  • 1 – Bandit Sash
  • 1 – Fire Beetle Leg
  • 1 – Giant Fire Beetle Carapace
  • 1 – Giant Fire Beetle Eye
  • 1 – Giant Fire Beetle Leg
  • 2 – Giant Whiskered Bat Eyes
  • 1 – Gnoll Jawbone
  • 2 – Gnoll Pup Scalps
  • 1 – Golden Bandit Tooth
  • 2 – Large Myotis Bat Ear
  • 1 – Matted Lion Pelt
  • 1 – Medium Quality Bear Skin
  • 1 – Puma Skin
  • 1 – Rabid Wolf Hide
  • 1 – Shadow Wolf Paw
  • 2 – Snake Eggs
  • 1 – Spider Legs

There is that giant fire beetle carapace again, and a rabid wolf pelt, which I am going to guess also only drops from rabid wolves in Qeynos Hills.  And then there is the medium quality bear skin, which Potshot also needs, and which does not appear to be a drop or vendor trash, but a crafted item.

Tistann had one of those as well, the low quality bear skin, but I managed to find one of those by searching all of the tailoring vendors.  We shall see if luck strike again in that regard.  If not, Thrall may have to take up tailoring, which will mean that Tistann might have to continue on with smithing since you need skinning knives to work on hides.

So far I have not been able to complete any of the recipes for Thrall, so he has no new armor to show off.  But I suspect Potshot and I will spend some time this weekend trying to outfit our team.

To Get Rich in Norrath is Glorious

Okay, maybe we didn’t get rich, but my characters have quite a bit more money.

Thanks to some of the advice on the last post on the topic of money, we were able to redirect our efforts and end up with enough cash to catch us up on spells and the like.

Blackburrow is a bit much to two-box solo, at least where stuff is still up at your own level.  I ran in to try that and ended up leading a train to zone in under three minutes.  It was a record I think.

Since I couldn’t find Potshot on initially, I headed out to West Karana to look into bandits.

While there are a couple of spots where only two bandits spawn, they were already camped.  So I took a chance and started hitting the bandits at the farm near tower 2.

The aptly named Bandit Farm

I found that with a little luck with spawn timing, I could hold down the farm with just my bard, my enchanter, and his pet.  Not only was the experience good, but the drops and the coins looted did start adding up pretty quick.  The bronze weapons they sometimes drop are worth anywhere from 1 to 4 plat.  Serious money for somebody with only a plat to play with.

However, a bad spawn… like finding out that there were two casting bandits around the back of the barn… lead to some less successful encounters.

Bandits to Qeynos Hills!

Later on I even found out that, yes, you can still lose a level in EverQuest if you die.  Again, a bad spawn at the bandit farm did the trick.

But that came a bit later.  First Potshot got on and we decided to hit Blackburrow as a team.

Now I had been into Blackburrow a few times with my second guy on follow and seemed to never have a problem with him getting peeled off or falling into anything.  So naturally, the moment we both start into the zone with our second box in tow, both of them managed to fall into a hole within a minute.

This got us separated and we ended up spending the next 15 minutes just finding each other via vague directions and the little green Xs on the map.

Eventually though, the game could not hold us back.  We found a nice little spot and started the gnoll slaughter.

Deep in Blackburrow

Things got a little hectic at first, thanks to the joy of fleeing gnolls running off to bring back friends.  I am sure at one point we had over a dozen gnolls in play.  But most of them were far enough below our level that we managed to keep a lid on things.  Eventually, after that epic battle, we settled down into a sustainable routine.

Gnolls in smaller numbers

Gnolls were not as good experience-wise as bandits, but they all seemed to have pockets full of stuff.  We slew them until we were all heavily encumbered.  We then waddled out of Blackburrow meeting up at the entrance.

Out of Blackburrow

Then it was time for the second part of the money making plan, selling our booty to the right vendor.

For me, that basically meant stop selling to this guy.

Buy cheap, sell dear!

Yes, that is Tubal Weaver, the NPC vendor who stands just inside the gates of Qeynos.  He is the convenience store of NPC vendors; handy and well located, but you pay a price.

In my case, I found that the vendor at the guilds of either of my characters would give me roughly double the amount in coins for any given item.  I am going to have to keep a known price item with me now just to test vendors out in the field.

Anyway, after focusing on that for the weekend, I was able to accumulate enough coins to bring Thrall up to date on his spells, with a good 50 plat surplus between the two of them to cover future levels.

Now, next on my list, is equipment.  Both Tistann and Thrall are wandering Norrath rather under-equipped.  I will have heard conflicting reports on which of the newbie armor quests are in-game at this point.  Potshot has managed to finish a couple of the Paladin quests, so I will have to research the bard and enchanter quests.

Wanderung Nach Osten

Potshot and I have been pushing on in EverQuest on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server.

But as you level up you find yourself seeking new places to hunt as you soon find your hunting ground, once so full of juicy targets, suddenly overrun with blue mobs that just don’t give the same experience kick.

Not that there is not a wide range of mobs in West Karana, but you have to find the ones appropriate for your group.

We did have some success against bandits, as long as we could keep them in small groups.

Bandit fight in West Karana

There is a spawn point for a pair of bandits that served us well, though the spawn rate is somewhat slow.  That slowness lead us to try to pick off other nearby bandits who end up bringing along all their friends.  Pairs we could handle, even three bandits were manageable, but four or five yellow/red mobs quickly got out of hand.  We had to make a run for the border a few times.

We went looking for a better place to camp, which meant wandering eastward in the zone, as the title of the post is meant to indicate.

I remembered having good results back in the day with Paladin over by the Combine ruins.

A so-so place to hunt undead

My memory seemed to be flawed in that regard.

Not that there were not undead to be slain.  But they seemed to be lower level that I recalled.  We cleaned them out a couple of times and then, in the usual EQ way of things, a red ghoul spawned in the middle of all the blues.  Reds make us shy away.

For those of you who have not played EverQuest, or who haven’t played it in ages, let me summarize how the /consider system works.

When you highlight a mob, a target ring appears about it on the ground.  The ring has a color.  The rings gain some variety in color as I recall when you get into the higher levels, but at low levels, you appear to get these:

  • Gray -Too far below you to give any experience
  • Blue – 1 to 4 or 5 levels below you
  • White – Your level
  • Yellow – 1 to 2 levels higher than you
  • Red – 3 to 50 levels higher than you, your mileage may vary

I seem to recall green being in there, but maybe that is at higher levels.  Anyway, this is what I have observed so far.

There is no nice little number on the mob telling you what level they are, nor are their names color coded to let you know who is aggro and who is passive.  You get a color and, if you /consider (which is mapped to the C key by default) you get a statement about their view of you,  like ‘indifferent’ or ‘ready to attack’.

All of this makes for interesting times.  Gray mobs you don’t bother with.  Blue ones you take when you have no other options.  White and yellow mobs are your meat and potatoes for a camped group.  And then there are the red mobs.

A red mob that is just 3 levels ahead of you is a choice target and your group will probably have no issue with it.  One that is 5 or 7 or 10 levels above you is more likely to kill you or send you running for the zone line.

And so, when we decided to just head on over the zone line to North Karana while most of the group was level 7, the problem of “how red is that red?” became one of immediate interest.

That first look into North Karana

West Karana, while it had plenty of higher level mobs for us, was also full of much lower level mobs.

In North Karana though, the lowest level mob we saw at first was our level, and most everything seemed to con yellow or red.  It looked like a happy hunting ground as long as we stayed near the zone border.  And so we set up shop in the lower left hand corner of the zone.

North Karana

(Map from the EQ Atlas archives)

We got off to a rough start.  We did not seem to have our act together and were oddly reluctant to flee when things were obviously not going our way.  Despite being 10 steps from the zone line we had a few deaths before we settled in.

Our first experiments with red con mobs went badly and until we learned the hierarchy of giant beetles out there (scyther > borer > pincer) we tended to shy away from anything red.  But yellow mobs were in abundance if we went looking far enough.

A beetle in our range

(That shot makes me want to do a series like the 36 Views of Mt. Fuji, only with the wizard spires.)

Once we got settled in and a feel for what we should be looking for, we moved our little camp to one of the small hills in the zone, just off to the East of the Wizard spires.  That put us closer to the flow of “traffic” in the zone and gave us decent all around vision to keep an eye out for the wandering mobs that might do us in, such as the various griffons, griffenes, griffawns, and that hill giant that wanders the zone from time to time.

Level on the hill

Then it was a matter of pulling and slaying.  We ended up with a decent rhythm in the zone.  We got used to pulling the next target straight over the enchanter to get his pet engaged, which helped a lot since the pet was a level or two ahead of us a lot of the time and was probably doing more damage than any individual in our group.

Targets were plentiful and lucrative and we only had to run for the zone line a few times when we were working out which red mobs we might have a chance against. (Borer beetles only at this point.)

And with our success, we found ourselves up to level 10 as a group.

I was interested to see that you now get your skills, and a notification about them, when you level up out in the field.  I do not recall that being how it was back in 99, but my memory about many things is flawed.

Among the things level 10 got us was spirit of the wolf for our druid, so it will be easier for Tarlach to run out and pull.

North Karana is still our hunting ground for now, though a lot of our initial targets have now gone blue to us, so we have to seek out other prey.

Atop the bridge tower

We still have a ways to go before we are able to take on the griffons that fly about the zone.  They are the most prominent mobs in the zone, but used to be quite worth the effort to hunt back in the day.  We also have South and East Karana close to had as well.

And, in another level, we will have bind affinity in the group.  We can then take our show on the road and bind ourselves in other locations so we won’t have to worry about having to run all the way from Qeynos should we die in Faydwer.

Our horizons expand.

Who Sells My Spells by the Seashore?

Nobody does.

At least not the spells I needed, which is why I had to run to Highpass Hold, which is up in the mountains, far from Qeynos and the seashore.

It is like the vacation quandary, mountains or seashore.

Up to this point, all of the spells for Thrall, my enchanter, have been available from one of the guild vendors in South Qeynos.  But my level 7 pet upgrade was nowhere to be seen.  I had to go check Allakhazam.

The spell system is one of those things in EverQuest that I am sure we would never put up with in a more current game.

Unlike the original game, 12 years back, where you got some spells every five levels if you were a caster, they are now more spread out and you get something every level.  In some ways this is better.  They’ve added spells to the game and they would come in huge lumps if you have to wait every five levels.  On the other hand, it does mean a lot of gating back to the guild and trying to find your spells.

To get your new spells you have to run back to your guild, buy the spell, and copy it into your spell book.

This isn’t so hard if your class only has a few spells, but for the true robe and pointy hat brigade, which has many spells, just finding the spell can be an issue.  The spells are sold by vendors in your guild, but each vendor can only sell so many spells.  So for an enchanter, there are a number of vendors in and around the guild.

In the Magic Guild

In that picture are three of the vendors an enchanter might need to visit in Qeynos.  There are three more in the building next door and a couple more that I can only describe as “hidden,” since they are standing in little niches around the side and back of the building, as well.  And these are mixed in with vendors for magicians and wizards.  This adds up to quite a few vendors.

The spells do tend to be grouped by level, so one vendor sells a certain level range of spells, but nothing about a given vendor tells you which levels.  But at least once you figure out which one is about the right level, you have a starting place.  And the spells themselves are list alphabetically in the vendor’s inventory, so you actually have to right click and hold on each spell to bring up the information about the spell, which includes the level at which a given class can use it.

Then certain special spells are only sold by a limited number of vendors, so the spell you need might not be anywhere close to the guild in your starting town.

And, naturally, there is nothing in the game that tells you what spells you get at a given level, no nice little pop up at ding or empty but labeled slot in your spell book.

It is no wonder that Allakhazam’s became so popular.  I have no idea how mere mortals were supposed to figure all of this out on their own.

I certainly became, and remain, a fan of that site when it comes to EverQuest information.

And because of the site I knew that at level 7 Thrall was due to get a new pet spell.  There is a whole series of these spells, each of which summons a pet of a certain level and only that level.  None of this Wow-esque summoning of magical pets that are always the same level as you.

According to Allakhazam, my level 7 pet spell was up in the High Keep in Highpass Hold.

I’ve been there before, but it has been a while.  Way, way back in the day, I decided I wanted to make armor, but starting on the Qeynos side of the world meant you had to get your initial ingredients from Highpass Hold, which is… a few zones over.  The mountains, remember?  Now I would be making that trip again.

I had a bit of time yesterday morning, so I decided to give it a shot.  The first zone on the list was West Karana.

I’ve spoken about West Karana being dangerous, but I am used to it and know the safe, quick way to pass through it; follow the river.  It was daylight in the zone and I got to pass one of the zone landmarks, the combine ruins.

Great place to hunt undead

I ran along the river until I hit the invisible zone line and zoned into North Karana, where it was night time.

Spires in the dark

One of the odd things about EverQuest is that the zones don’t all seem to be in sync when it comes to the day/night cycle.  There I was running across a well lit landscape and then I zoned into the adjoining landscape to find it dark.

For North Karana I seemed to recall that following the river around to the bridge to East Karana was a bad idea.  The road through the zone that runs from the South Karana to East Karana bridge was the safest route, so I followed that.

I also noted that the mobs in the zone were my level or just a bit higher, except for the griffons which were red, and made a note to suggest that Potshot and I move our next hunting expedition to NK.

I made it safely across North Karana and zoned into East Karana, where I was greeted pretty much with what I remember about the zone.  Corpses.

They didn't escape

In my first run to Highpass Hold, I got to East Karana and turned around.  The zone at the time was covered in a layer of fog and dangerous creatures would loom out of it.  The first time I did make it past, I had spirit of the wolf on me and ended up leading several creatures all the way to Highpass.

Now, however, the fog is gone and there seemed to be a dearth of dangerous, or at least aggro, creatures.

Seems pretty clear in East Karana now

I just headed out across the zone and made it to the long, long run up the canyon path.

Here I felt I was home free.  The run is long, but as long as you don’t fall off the edge, things are usually okay.

I did have one heart stopping moment when I rounded a corner and was face to face with a Dark Stalker, which is basically a big black wolf.  He con’d red and aggro, but didn’t seem to think I was worth the effort, so on I ran.

Eventually I hit the top of the pass and zoned into Highpass Hold.

Almost to the end of my journey!

Just beyond the gate/tunnel pictured above there are some gnolls.

I remembered the gnolls, but I could not recall if there was anything special I had to do to get past them.  In my memory, I could only recall just running past them.  But then, they used to be camped all the time too.  What to do?

I decided to just try and run past and head for the keep.  If I could remember where the keep was.

The gnolls had different ideas.  They were red to me and stunned me with every other hit.  I knew I was done for.

Back to North Qeynos

And being dead meant going back to my bind point which was all the way back where I started, back in North Qeynos.  Well, the spell for my level 7 pet would have to wait until I had the time for another attempt.  At least the experience loss is small and all my equipment wasn’t still sitting on my corpse.  Getting that back would have been a challenge.

Then I got a tell from somebody asking me if the gnolls had seen through my invisibility.

Invisibility? Crap, I had that spell!  Why didn’t I think to use it?  And now here is somebody come to mock my stupidity.

But no, it turned out that this was a fellow enchanter, also level 7, who had been up there for the same spell I had been.  His name was Obmoz and he offered to pick up the spell for me.  He actually grabbed that and my next two pet spells, which ran about four and a half platinum.

When he gated back to Qeynos, I basically gave him all of my money, which was about 9 platinum.  One can always grind for a bit more coin, but I wasn’t sure when I was going to find the time to make that run again, so I was grateful.

So now Thrall has his new pet, which actually cons yellow to him, so it is a level or two ahead, and the spells for his next two pets as well.

Plus I think I know where we are going to go hunting next.

A Werewolf at Tower 2

I logged in last night and found that the big bad wolf was at the door of Tower 2.  The big bad werewolf that is.


I’m telling you, West Karana is a dangerous place.  At least at level 7.  That werewolf is level 25.

It is a good things that the guards at Tower 2 are pretty tough.  They are level 30, so were able to dispatch the werewolf, though they seemed to be struggling with Froon the other night.

A Steep Level Curve Never Kept a Good Alt Down

While you all have been out playing Rift, Potshot and I have kept banging away at another game that also recently had a problem with queues and not enough servers, EverQuest.  Or at least the EverQuest progression servers, where SOE was also off by 100% in the number of servers needed at launch.

The work to get our characters on the EverQuest Fippy Darkpaw Progression Server nearly up to double digits was apparently so satisfying that Potshot and I decided to do it again.


We both decided to two-box the game past the initial free period, but quickly found that our initial characters were too far ahead to group up with any new, second account character.  So we rolled up four fresh, new characters instead.

Go us.

And thus the journey began again.

I think we actually chose a decent set of classes for the group.  The Fippy Darkpaw server at this point is a game without talent trees or souls or even alternate advancement (not yet), so you get what you get when you choose a class.  Your role in a group is limited by your class and everybody at your level has the same skills.

In a way, the simplicity is refreshing.

Potshot chose to roll up a druid and a paladin.

The druid, in base EQ, is one of the best classes around, with the ability to heal and buff along with travel spells that come along later.  With his druid we have one of the tanks favorite spells with coat of thorns plus the ever popular Spirit of the Wolf at level 10. (It was a tough call for me between shaman and druid with my first character.)

And then there is the paladin, beloved of all classes in all games in which they appear, right?

Okay, stop laughing.

There are no healadins or ret pallys in EQ, but it is a solid choice for a tank with a bit of healing, buffage, and special powers versus undead.  My highest level EQ character back on my original account was a paladin.  If we can get this guy a Ghoulbane, he’ll be set.

So Potshot has a nice duo there that can form the nucleus of any group or go out and do some damage on its own without too much drama.

For myself, I decided to go totally outside of my comfort zone and run with a bard and an enchanter.

Actually, a bard isn’t all that outside of my comfort zone.  I had one as an alt back in original EQ. And seemed like a good class for a support character when boxing.  Bards sing their song and, when you have a moment, you can put them in melee range to help out with some damage.  And since SOE left in the /melody command that lets you automatically weave together songs (you used to have to do that manually back at launch, and I’m not even sure that the devs intended for people to do that) you can keep a couple of songs going for the party.

EQ bards hearken back to their TorilMUD progenitors in that they have a song that restores hit points.  Ever the mid-battle panicked request in Toril, once again the tank can shout, “Sing Heal!”  Plus I already had him rolled up.  He appeared in an earlier post.

Then there is the enchanter.  I have a long and disastrous history with cloth wearing casters.  A plate wearing cleric is fine, and I have done well as a leather clad druid, but being the guy in the robe with the pointy hat has never been my thing.  I’m more often the corpse in the blood stained robe laying smashed into the dirt next to the crushed pointy hat.

But for rounding out a group an enchanter is worth his weight in gold.  Mesmerize for crowd control, breeze for fast mana regeneration, damage spells with some punch, and that pet which, if you can get the mob to hit the enchanter a couple of times, will join in and do a chunk of additional damage.

Compared to the druid/pally combo, bard and enchanter isn’t the ideal pair for grinding, they do work in their own way.   The enchanter pet helps a lot.

So we formed up our new group in Qeynos.

Out in front of Qeynos Again

  • Tarlach – Paladin
  • Deneldir – Druid
  • Tistann – Bard
  • Thrall – Enchanter

My daughter, looking over my shoulder yet again, was appalled that I chose the name of the Orc war chieftain for my human enchanter.  I figured that with mesmerize as a spell, it wasn’t a bad name.  And I have a Deathknight named Varsoon over in WoW, so turn about is fair play.

We did the same run through the Qeynos front yard and the Qeynos hills until the group got to level five.  While things are not as hectic in those zones as they were during the first, free week of the progression servers, they are still quite active.  There is never less than a dozen people visible out in front of North Qeynos.

Then we headed out to West Karana.  Up until that point, things are pretty tame.  Sure, Holly Windstalker will come by and kill you if she catches you killing bears or wolves in the Qeynos Hills.  She got Tarlach at least once.  And there is always the dread corpse problem, but that is only at night.

But as I said before, West Karana is different.

Lined up at the start of the Plains of Karana

Sure, it is a happy hunting ground where you can find things to fight, like giant spiders.

Spider Fight

And game is plentiful.  You can find a nice spot and pull game to your group.

Our little combat camp

But danger lurks out there as well.  The above picture is us resting after a giant spider fight where a second, then a third giant spider wandered up mid-fight and assisted the first spider.  Who knew spiders were so social and supportive?

Bandit wander between camps.  Giants wander the plains.  There is a werewolf who walked right by us while Potshot was AFK for a minute, barely outside of aggro radius.  That would have done us all in right there.

And then there is Froon.


Froon is a cyclops that lives up in the hills in West Karana, but who walks the plains from time to time.

Back when EverQuest came out, the first time I went to West Karana to explore, I ran into Froon.

This was one of the very few times I can say I felt real fear and alarm in a game.  Here I was, out in this open plain with only a few trees around, and this giant cyclops was striding across the landscape towards me.

I ran straight back to Qeynos Hills.  But it was one of those moments that impressed the hell out of me.  Here was an area that wasn’t just dangerous, but one populated by giants.

Since then, whenever I see Froon, I feel a tingle, an echo of that first time when I saw him.  It isn’t so much fear now as excitement though.  We had just formed up in tower 2 in West Karana when I noticed that the guards were fighting something.  I went out and saw Froon.  He was almost dead, but I had to get a screen shot of him.  He is such and important aspect of the zone… the game… to me.

Some day our new group will take on Froon.  That is one of my goals for our current venture in Norrath now.

But we’re not there yet.

We’re closing in on level 8 right now.  Tistann the bard can now “sing heal,” which has proven to be quite a boon.  It only heals a few health points per tick, but it keeps going continuously.  And when a 20 point hit is a big one, this helps keep us afloat.

Tarlach has armored himself up some.  We’re going to have to find some mobs that drop equipment some day though.  Tistann and Thrall still have only one or two items and have been spending their money on spells, songs, and backpacks.

We also haven’t had a chance to use mesmerize as yet.  We’re not quite high enough level to take on the bandit camps yet.  I did test it out in the Qeynos sewers, but I’ll have to work out how best to play the crowd control card when the time comes.

But for now we trying to get in a little exp each night and camping at tower 2 in between.

Heading to Tower 2

We still have to work out some additional logistics, but our second round of characters is moving ahead.