February 22, 2007

Vault of Heroes

Since my last update, I’ve been doing a lot of faction grinding with Baby Tylenol, Little Noses, Comtrex, and Sudafed. A real gem of a bug hit our household, so I have been busy either tending to the sick kids or trying to recover from it myself. I think we’re on the rebound now, so hopefully I can get back in the routine again.

I did a nice little dungeon crawling this past weekend over at the Vault of Heroes, a great dungeon near Tarheen’s Vengeance. From what I can gather, this used to be the place where the Varanjar and Lesser Giants buried their heroes from the Orctide War, and which was also used as an armory during the war to help fend off the attacks from the Orcs and Goblins.

Now, though, the vault has been taken over by the Broken Fang Gnolls. There is also a group there that are called the Torsheim, which is the name of a Lesser Giant hero, but I don’t know any other background of why they are there, or why they have teamed up with the Gnolls.

The nearest outpost to the Vault is at Tarhean’s Vengeance, which was named after the last fallen warrior who tried in vain to protect the Vault from the gnolls. While there were many good solo and small group quests there for around 10-15, I could not find any quests that were directly related to the Vault of Heroes dungeon. I’m assuming that Vault quests are further along in a quest line from Tarhean’s, because we saw a few spots in the dungeon that were highlighted when we moused over them, so they must be clickable.

The dungeon is really fun, and a great crawl for any group that’s around 10-15. Pulls usually come in clumps of 2-3, which is a breath of fresh air compared to the hell aggro from Achatlan Caves or Khegor’s End. (Yes, I think I was traumatized by those two dungeons!) If they would just figure out a way to stop the roamers from causing ridiculous chain aggro, those spots wouldn’t be so bad. But there’s nothing more annoying than working hard to bring in a managable pull, and then get a roamer add, who chain aggros the last 12 mobs that he walked past, essentially bringing an entire hall or room of mobs.

We made our way up a few flights of stairs to an altar, which, sadly, was empty at the time. We then crawled back down and eventually found ourselves in some type of tunnel maze that contained spirits of the fallen heroes. The heroes were non-kos to us, and again, I wonder if they are related to some kind of quest.

I’d love to find out more about any quests involving the dungeon. I kinda outleveled the quests that are offered at Tarhean’s, but I might go knock them out just to see if any of them lead further along to other quests. Overall, though, Tarhean’s Vengeance and the Vault of Heroes chunk in general is great for anyone around level 8-15. There’s a lot of solo/duo quests, plus a number of little nooks to hunt from, like the outdoor gnoll camp (just don’t go crazy with the meat please!), Harshan’s Hold, Cave of the Urugog (awesome looking trolls!), and of course, the Vault Dungeon.

But if you do head to the Vault of Heroes, whatever you do, DO NOT SIT ON THE THRONE! Ok, not really, just having an EQ flashback.

Posted by jayernh under Archive,Vanguard Level 10-15 | Comments (4)

February 12, 2007

Oh for Goodness Sakes! Team Up!

I don’t know if it’s trauma from our past or what, but it seems like most people have a cutthroat mindset when it comes to mobs and nodes. I’ve had several instances where I’ve been working on a missive or quest that requires multiple killings of a particular mob, and another party will come in and race to get them first. Now, the mobs themselves really aren’t great exp, and it goes a lot faster if everyone joins up to kill it, but some people can’t seem to cope with that fact.

Above: Killing a named at the Redcap Stronghold, near Veskel’s Exchange in Thestra. Spider mounts are so cool.

One group in particular was so adamant about not grouping that they were even trying to taunt us with a circle dance while we all stood there in the empty graveyard waiting for more zombies. I’m happy to say that we had the last laugh, because the next night, the most vocal of the group had to eat a little humble pie as he followed our group down the Achlatan Caves to get his tombstone. (You can actually purchase some humble pie, by the way, from the nice tavernkeeper in Rindol Field. I highly recommend it!)

It’s the same with harvesting nodes too by the way. While I haven’t done any harvesting yet, I have heard that people who are grouped can both harvest from the same nodes at the same time. So there is pretty much no reason to fight over anything in this game, other than select farm mobs. So team up!

Cool moment of the day: I was out doing some solo missives in Three Rivers, and killing some Stonesmasher Gamehunters near the rock valley outside the village. As I was fighting, all the combat sounds had an echo to them, exactly as you’d expect them to sound if you were surrounded by rock. Small detail, very cool.

Above: Orkoh flipping out inside the Redcap Stronghold.

Neat spot of the week: The Redcap Stronghold, near Veskel’s Exchange. There is a missive offered at VE called “Icy Fruit,” that asks you to travel there. It’s a neat little brownie village that reminded me of the old brownie village in Lesser Faydark where the high level casters used to camp the guards. This one features brownies on their little spider mounts, and when you kill them the spiders flip around for a while after they are dead. The barrels you need to collect for the missive are found in the tents inside the fort, and there are also several named inside that drop a nice bard drum, some good medium healer gloves, a decent medium fighter cap, and other armor. (Expect a lot of bard drums though!) It’s a good spot for a small group of levels 11-14, and you can repeat the missive, so if you do it 10 times you also finish the night with a nice item from the missive turn ins. Now if only I could get myself one of those spider mounts!

Posted by jayernh under Archive,Vanguard Level 10-15 | Comments (6)

February 5, 2007

Varlon Majar and Me

I think I’m roleplaying a ranger a little too well, because I can’t seem to stay in one spot for very long before getting itchy to explore somewhere else. The upside to that, though, is that I got to see some nice little hunting spots.

I did a little work over at the Verdant Lurker Headquarters, near Veskel’s Exchange. This, by the way, is currently the only spot where you can get a cloak, if you tinker a bit with the quest. Apparently all cloaks have temporarily been taken out of game, with the exception of the Collector’s Edition /claimed cloaks and the one you get when working on the Verdant Lurker quest line. There’s a good post about how to keep the Verdant Lurker cloak here on Vanguard Rangers. (Terrific site for rangers by the way). I haven’t gotten far enough to get the cloak part (it’s really a shoulder item but looks like a cloak), but when I return to Veskel’s I fully intend to!

I also visited Khegor’s End, a great crawl for solid groups for levels 12-17. It’s in Western Thestra, over near Bordinar’s Cleft. There are a ton of quests that involve this dungeon, and what I love about it is that you can’t really get lost inside. It’s very linear, yet it feels huge. Bring a solid group in here though – mobs are 4 dots and tend to come in clumps. And don’t forget to stop and fill your vials along the way!

I also did some questing over in Kojan, near my homeland. I got to do some orc hunting (Can we trueshot now?!) and knocked out a bunch of quests involving the Kojuko. I plan to head over to the Tomb of Lord Tsang soon, if I can stay in Kojan long enough.

But of all the places I saw over the weekend, my favorite was Three Rivers. And of all the quests I worked on, my favorite was the quest line involving a really cool wizard named Varlon Majar.

Varlon is a wizard who recently moved into a rather imposing tower overlooking the Village of Three Rivers. Captain Vauni Graylion beckoned me over and asked me to deliver a welcome letter to him, since her guards were not able to get past the stone guardians to reach him. I took the letter up the hill and, lo and behold, I was immediately attacked by two stone guardians. After killing them, something called their “inner manifestation” appeared over them. It was not KOS but it was attackable, so be careful not to accidentally whack it while trying to loot the corpse if you do this task.

I made my way up to the tower. You can actually skip some of the guards if you hike up the left side rocks, just watch out for a couple of stone guards that sit on the backside of the rocks, plus one roaming Commander that walks up and down the hill. There’s also a little demon at the top that offers a few more quests if you have room in your journal (I didn’t).

I met Varlon and delivered the letter. He didn’t seem that impressed with the welcome note, but he was very glad to see me. He explained that he needed to do some mining, and needed a dwarf to do the work for him. He then gave me a big sack and told me to subdue a dwarf, stuff it in the sack, and bring it back to him.

I looked very closely at him, and wondered if I had somehow warped into Hathor Zhi and was talking to a dark elf. This seemed extremely evil, but then again, it did seem like a good idea, and I knew a few dwarves that deserved to be stuffed in a sack.

The best spot to find the dwarves, by the way, are right below along the road near the Bloodaxe Bridge. There are several clusters of Draven Outlaws, and there are two quests involving outlaws offered in Three Rivers, so it’s wise to scoop those up and knock them all out at the same time. The quest for Outlaw arms is even repeatable, so do it early and often! If you are hunting the Outlaws solo, you can grab singles from the clusters of three if you wait – they do roam a bit. Or, you can head a little further down the road and find the Outlaw camp where Draven hides out – there are several outlaw guards there and it’s easier to get them single.

I quickly found my dwarf and delivered the sack. As I was delivering his response to Three Rivers, however, he told me that the dwarf became belligerent and tried to escape with his pick axe, so Varlon had to dispose of him. I had to now go get a halfling!

I started to get worried that my skin was going to turn blue, but I went down and fetched a halfling for him. He then instructed me to take the sack of dwarf remains and toss them over the side of the Bloodaxe Bridge. Great, not only am I becoming an evil elf, but I’m now doing mafia-style disposal!

This was quickly becoming the coolest quest ever, so I dumped the sack over the bridge and eagerly returned to find out what the next step was. Of course, the halfling didn’t work out for good old Varlon, so I had to get him a high elf, and also dump the halfling over the bridge. You can guess what happened when I delivered the high elf!

I was preparing to go get him a gnome, but instead he sent me back down to the bridge. After dumping the high elf, he wanted me to actually retrieve the three poor souls and bring them back. The catch was that they had become zombies, so I had to “subdue” them and bring them back in that sack again.

I delivered the goods, and Varlon rewarded me with a choice of some plate boots or a tunic with some wisdom on it. I’m guessing these used to be property of the poor dwarf, but since he didn’t care anymore, I chose the tunic.

As I left the tower, I wondered what Varlon was going to do with his new undead pals. I also wondered if the villagers of Three Rivers would be thrilled to learn of what their new neighbor was up to. At least he didn’t ask me for a human, so it can’t be that bad!

On another note, I just wanted to thank Mikael over at Teloncast put in a nice word for my site on his latest Vanguard Podcast. Thank you! Teloncast is a nifty podcast about a variety of Vanguard topics, and he reviews news highlights of the past week too. It’s fun to listen to it in the background while you look for your tombstone in Vanguard, so check it out!

Posted by jayernh under Archive,Vanguard Level 10-15 | Comments (2)

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