September 3, 2007

Dragon’s Backbone/Xennumet Dungeon Key

This is yet another entry that I started a while back and never finished. Here it is, with a little dusting off and polishing up!

Above: Facing off against a Xenn Arcanist. Stranglewater Shore is in the background.

Dragon’s Backbone is a nice little quest hub for anyone level 32-38, except for the fact that it has gnomes – lots of gnomes. Predictably, their curiousity and desire to tinker has them knee deep in a mystery, and it’s your job to help them figure it out. If you complete their tasks, you’ll be rewarded not only with a nice set of shoulders, but also a key to the Temple of Xennumet, which is a dungeon located on one of the islands offshore.

The questline for the Xenn dungeon key starts by talking to Ligor Kwaggle, in one of the tents at the little outpost along the Dragon’s Backbone shore. He’s discovered a pedestal with some strange glyphs on them, and you’re asked to seek out a means to translate them. Bring back some bricks from the ruins along the shore to complete this quest, but make sure to look both inside the bulidings and outside around the ruins to find them.

Above: A view of the ruins of a massive underwater city, buried under the sea after the Cataclysm.

After that comes the quest Blue Stele, which I assume is an homage to Ben Stiller’s character from Zoolander. Grab an invis and an underwater breathing buff for this one, and head down to the ruins in the water to retrieve the stone tablets that Ligor asks for. Once that’s done, head back to shore and look for the odd looking stone obelisks scattered around. Click on the charcoal in your bags to get the needed glyph rubbings. You can get all 12 from the same stone, so just keep clicking. Lastly, you need a crystal bit from one of the Xenn. They’re fairly uncommon, but if you kill the 3 dot Xenn near the ruins you’ll get it eventually.

After turning them in, Ligor is able to translate the “Tale of the Lost Ones,” and asks you to retrive the three plans that instruct on how to build an energy cell to power up the mysterious activation crystal. Go get Ligor his drill bit first, and then make your way to Tri Peak Island to click on the three chests on each peak. Of course, after that, Ligor asks you to go get the ingredients, so roll up your sleeves and get ready to kill the leeches, grazers, and Xenn that roam around the ruins. Also, get another set of invis and underwater breathing buffs to scour the sea floor for scrap metal. Now, for some reason, the scrap metal looks like a pile of bones, so click on any bones you find (and if you know the explanation why, please let me know!)

Now it’s time to activate the crystal, which is located out on Tri Peak Isle. When you get there, click the energy cells in your bags, then click the three pedestals around the crystal. Lastly, click the crystal, but make sure to work swiftly – it’s on a timer and if you don’t snag the crystal in time, it poofs and you have to swim all the way back to Ligor to get another set of energy cells.

Next comes the fun part. Over in Mekalia is a long-dormant metal golem named Animus. The activation crystal will power him up, and allow Ligor to unravel the mystery of the Lost Ones. He will port you over to Mekalia. Once there, click on Animus to power him up and speak to him.

Above: Animus tells the Tale of the Lost Ones. I’m not intimidated, not at all.

He reveals that long ago, the Xennumet Empire mastered the ability to use magic crystals to communicate and travel. In fact, they became so good at it, that they didn’t even need the crystals, and instead became a borg-like collective. At the center was a being called the All-Father, and through his direction, the Xennu could coordinate their telepathic efforts to spread their empire. The borg was shattered, however, during the Cataclysm, and many Xennu either perished or went mad. The few who survived reside in the depths of the Temple of Xennumet, located on Mind’s Crown.

If you continue to hail Animus, he will give you a quest to attune a key crystal that he gives you. To do this, you need to head back to Dragon’s Backbone and search for four glowing pedestals – two on the Island of Madness and two on Stranglewater Shore. To find the ones on the Island of Madness, invis up and work your way through the island towards the large stone tower up the hill. You will pass one pedestal on the way there, just before the big hill to the tower. The other pedestal is in the tower itself.

Above: Island of Madness. One of the four pedestals can be found in the tower.

On Stranglewater, the pedestals are found in the tallest tower and on top of the pyramid. Again, invis up and you should be safe to run to each one. A quick sprint back to Ligor, and you now have your Mekalian Researcher’s Pauldrons and your Xennumet key!

Above: Andaraiel, me, Dunthor, and Torradan, enjoying the view after clicking on the final pedestal on Stranglewater Shore. The other one is found in the tower in the background.

This is a fun quest, and amazing experience for anyone level 32 and up. I haven’t explored the Temple of Xennumet yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Who would have thought that working for a gnome could be so much fun!

Posted by jayernh under Archive,Vanguard Level 35-40 | Comments (2)

July 26, 2007

River Palace

I started this write up a while back, and didn’t get around to polishing it off because I never got around to going back and properly doing this dungeon. But recently, I got a nice tell from Thearon, from the guild Asylum, and we ended up chatting about this very spot. It really is a great dungeon, and the irony is that tons of people have done the River Valley quests, and probably never set foot inside this amazing palace, full of eye candy and fun events.

Above: The garden atrium in River Palace.

If you are looking for River Palace, there are two ways to get there. One is to head through the Shidreth Mining tunnel (west of Ahgram), and across River Valley (just follow the river west). The other is to use the Riftway to get to the River Palace rift, and then either hike or fly up the eastern hill till you see it.

There are only four quests there that we found – two at the entry stairs, and two in the sewers, which can actually be repeated if you choose. What sets this place apart is the number of neat events that you can trigger, plus the fact that there are many spots in this palace that make you pause and stare a while.

When you enter the palace, you’ll see a large hall. Invis works everywhere in here, as far as we could tell. If you head through the door on the left, it takes you upstairs, which eventually leads to Erthena’s chamber. She is the Queen of the Palace, and her son is the lumpy Cyclops, Serpeus, who hangs around on the island just outside. Killing him ticks her off royally, and you’ll hear her shout “SSSssssssserpeus, my son!” That’s a clear signal that you’ve just spawned her, and she’s not going to welcome you with a hug.

Above: Serpeus, son of Erthena.

To reach her, you will need a key to her chamber. This is a rare drop from any mob in the palace, but you’re better off getting it by killing nameds – we got ours in the basement while doing the Erthgar Broodmother event. (more on that later) Thearon said his group got it from a named cat found upstairs, in a small room near the cat-filled balcony.

We ran out of time so we haven’t killed her yet, but I’ll update with screenshots once we do. She does have a decent loot table, including a nice caster robe as one of her rarer drops.

The upstairs is also where you’ll find the High Temptress, and I believe the corrupted wells are here also. Both are needed for one of the quests you pick up at the entry. I should mention that the mobs in here are all pretty much 4 dot mobs. They tend to start around mid 30s, with high 30s mobs the further in you go. So bring a group.

In addition to the fun upstairs, you can also visit the garden rooms, which can be found if you take the door on the right as you enter the palace. (North side I think). Be careful in here, because you’ll probably get some terrific chain aggro in here. We killed some of the trash mobs and had two neat discoveries – one was a strange gem that looks like some sort of quest item, and the other was the curse that the siren mobs cast on you, called Curse of Beauty, which literally turns you into a hag.

Above: Me, as a hag. :(

There are some clickable flowers in the garden wing of the palace. We didn’t have chance to try this yet, but apparently if you have any pristine flowers on you from those lovely flower quests in the valley, you can use them to trigger an event. If you have a pristine flower of each type on you, and you click on the flowers, it will start a ring event. There is a pedestal named the Eternal Fountain in here, and I believe that if you survive the waves of mobs, you are given an eternal flower. I’m guessing here, but clicking the fountain afterwards might lead to either some kind of boss encounter or a reward. Hopefully next time we check this out we won’t have such buggy aggro so that we can trigger the event, as well as figure out what that gem is for. (Ok, I really just want to go back so I can get some of my guildies turned into hags)

Tired of the beauty that surrounds you? Then jump down the well in the entry hall and visit the sewers! Just make sure to invis and cast lev before you do. While you can jump safely without lev, it’s a lot safer to grab one if you can, since you have to pretty much be spot on with your jump or you’ll smack the wall and die. The sewer pool is full of aggro mobs, both around the sides and in the water. If you swim to one side you’ll see a nook with another quest NPC. He offers two neat quests that lead to a couple of fun triggered events, and some nice rewards.

Above: The pool/entry room in the River Palace sewers. Hope that invis lasted the jump!

There are basically two routes in the sewers – north and south. Each quest has steps that involve both tunnels, so try to keep an eye on what you need while you explore. The North tunnel is full of walking clumps called Erthagon and tall walking mushrooms called Erthanid. The South tunnel is full of small serpents and giant tadpoles called Erthgar.

If you are working on the quest called “A Dangerous Proposition,” you have to kill the required number of mobs from the North tunnel, plus loot some nutrient lumps. When you get the required amount (I think it’s 10), you click on it to make a nutrient ball. At that point, you’ll need to head down the south tunnels, until you see a sparkly mist that floats you up into a tunnel, and drops down onto a platform surrounded by eggs. This is the Broodmother’s lair, and if you click on the egg it will summon her, along with about a dozen of her little broodlings. (Turn down your settings beforehand or risk a fierce lockup!)

Above: The Erthgar Broodmother.

There’s some decent loot from the event, and this is where we looted our key to Erthena’s chamber. Be careful, though, because our third time doing the event we got some wonky aggro from mobs under the platform, which caused them to warp on top of us. If you have time I recommend clearing under the platform before starting the event.

Above: The Ravenous Erthanid Sporebeast, in the sewers of River Palace.

If you are working on the quest called “Clearing the Way,” you have to kill a bunch of Erthgar from the south tunnels, loot a random drop egg, and then use the egg to spawn a named Erthanid in a mushroom filled room in the North tunnel. We invised into the room, set up on the left wall, and cleared the room before clicking on the mushroom and spawning the Ravenous Erthanid Sporebeast. The fight was pretty straightforward, and one of the notable drops is the Sentient Crystal of Mass Acceleration, a Psionicist group buff ability that gives increased attack speed and lower refresh timers.

Above: Mysterious flower room, upstairs in the palace.

There are still some things in the Palace that look like they serve some purpose (what’s with that giant flytrap upstairs?), but we had a lot of fun exploring this place and uncovering several neat events. If you have a good group of mid to high 30s, it’s a great place to explore. Thanks again to Thearon for his tips and advice!

Posted by jayernh under Archive,Vanguard Level 35-40 | Comments (3)

June 26, 2007

The Arena!

Giant sea sirens, scurrying brownie troublemakers, huge beasts of molten ore, and axe-wielding minotaurs who keep law and order — all of this can be found at the Arena, in Seawatch Cove. My guildmates and I spent some time here not too long ago, and it’s a fun, and rewarding, spot for anyone who is in their mid 30s.

Above: Finishing off the boss of a silver challenge ticket. He’d make a great plush doll.

Traditionally, when you hear the word Arena, images of PvP and free-for all battles come to mind. This arena is a bit different. It’s not a spot where you get flagged as PvP if you enter, rather, it’s a hunting spot for solo and group players who are looking for some experience and the chance at some great rewards.

The goal is simple in the arena — obtain zaraj arena coins and turn them in to the appropriate minotaur for your desired prize. It’s just like skeeball, only the tickets are really coins, and the person you give them to is a minotaur, and your prizes are things like armor, camel mounts, and legendary weapons, instead of hi-bounce balls and plush dolls.

Above: The Arena in Seawatch Cove.

There are several ways to obtain coins too. You can work on the quests given out by the minotaurs inside the arena, most of which ask you to kill the minos out at the camps and ruins nearby. You can also kill “suspicious spectators” who sit in the stands throughout the stadium. Lastly, you can kill nameds in the arena, who drop coins and also have a pretty good chance of dropping arena tickets.

Arena challenge tickets are a lot of fun, and the harder the challenge, the more coins you win. There are four types of tickets – bronze, silver, gold and platinum. You can divide up the coins any way you’d like, but remember that they are soulbound, so if someone is careless and clicks take all, the rest of the group is out of luck. To begin a challenge, just stand in the arena and click the ticket. Make sure that it’s clear though, and don’t start a challenge when another group is in the middle of one. It’s bad form, and could possibly bug stuff.

Above: One of the guards from a gold challenge ticket.

Bronze is a 6 coin ticket, and pretty easy. You have to kill 3 level 38 2 dot siren trash mobs, and then a level 39, 3 dot siren will spawn. Nothing tricky, just standard hack n slash.

Silver is similar. You kill the three level 38, 3 dot mobs, and a big, level 39, 4 dot cyclops will spawn. This ticket is worth 10 coins.

Gold is a little more interesting. When you start it, 4 big, level 39, 4 dot elementals spawn on the side of the arena, and come, one at a time to fight you. When you kill them all, a 5 dot level 39 rock boss appears. The fun part is that they have some kind of damage mitigation buff, so the fight can last a while, and bring flashbacks of Vex Thal. This is a 65 coin ticket.

Platinum is hard, but if you get it right it’s a fun fight and a great reward of 100 coins. This challenge summons a 6 dot, level 40 minotaur named Champion Traken, the boss of the arena. He’s hugely annoying because he has a big knockback and a stun. The trick is to get him pinned in the corner of one of the side passages, near the gates. It takes some finessing, but once you get him there, it’s a lot easier for the group to stay close enough to damge him. Obviously, casters and ranged attacks help a lot in this fight, just keep your back to a wall and you should be fine.

If you are interested in the specific rewards, seek out the minotaurs that guard the arena. They offer class specific armor for coins, as well as an Arena Master Weapon of your choice for 1,000 coins. There is some fun stuff too, offered by Dizzle, such as a camel mount, repair bots (limited charges) and some Zarajian Magic.

It’s a fun spot overall, and a nice change from the usual hunting and dungeon crawling. Even if you aren’t going for the big prizes, it’s easy enough to get some quick coins and walk away with something for a night’s work. The only thing missing is Russell Crowe organizing the slaves behind a broken chariot and yelling “Strength and Honor!”

Posted by jayernh under Archive,Vanguard Level 30-35,Vanguard Level 35-40 | Comments (3)

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