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Overheard in the Market


An Arcane Asylum Publication Back Issues Volume 1, Issue 2

Welcome Back!

In the second installment, Zsa will ramble on all things Norrath. I've also added a link for back issues, so new members don't miss out on the dish from past issues.

AA Noobz Ownz J00
For the first time since Zsa joined the illustrious ranks of AA, the guild had a guild meeting on 9/23/2001. The meeting was attended primarily by our new inductees, level 1 wankers created especially for the occasion, but was overseen by some of our more notable members such as Faril, Talcea, Cloe, and Irvine.

First, the meeting itself. There were several primary topics of discussion. First, Talcea spoke on the subject of loot from guild raids. The crux of the discussion was:

  • Loot won on guild raids goes to someone in the guild. It does not get sold in Freeport.
  • Someone who wins loot in such a manner is encouraged to hand their previous gear down to a guildie that can use it, but this is not a rule that will be enforced. We trust your judgement.
  • A guild mule named Aabank (if possible) will be created to hold guild property that has no clear owner at the present time.
  • Iownfaril is a badazz to be feared by all
  • With that out of the way, the meeting went on to discuss some changes in the overall operating procedures of the guild. Notably:
  • The title and role of guild elder is no longer something granted based solely on your level. It should indicate a degree of service and dedication to the guild that goes beyond just being a high level. Future holders of this title will be determined by the existing board of elders, though of course Iownfaril has veto power.
  • New members to the guild will be handled in a more democratic manner. A message board has been created here where potential new members will be presented. Members will then vote via e-mail, with negative votes weighing very heavily against potential members (and a positive vote from Iownfaril weighing tremendously in their favor, of course). This should help to make sure we remain a close-knit guild where all are comfortable with all.
  • Several folks expressed frustration with the current, fixed raid schedule. The elder folks, easily identified by the lack of 'wanker' in their name, agreed to look into this and try to come up with a more varied raid schedule to accomodate different real-life schedules.
  • A lot of discussion took place around people's pursuit of their epic quests. Iownfaril, being da man, volunteered to create a web page for tracking epic progress so that we can see who needs what, identify places where we might be able to kill multiple birds with one stone, and if nothing else people can see that they aren't being ignored; we just have lots of people working on lots of epics.

    And of course, fun was had by all. A few amusing highlights:

  • Lots of ooc messages and such asking why on earth AA had level 1 warriors. I've had a few experiences recently that lead me to believe that we have established a reputation as a powerful (and likeable!) guild.
  • A level one wizard seeing us and asking if he could join AA. I believe Spin told him he needed to pay an initiation fee in unmarked bills.
  • At one point someone at the gates asked if there were any newbie warriors around who were not twinked. Sure seemed funny when sitting in the midst of like 30 of them.
  • At long last the newbie rumble in the arena took place, and since Iownfaril had been forced to log off, it was won by the alter ego of our own Kronill. Congrats!

    An abridged transcript of the meeting can be found here, and a near complete version can be found here.

  • Only a Few Months Until Luclin

    Time flies, and we're actually not that far from the release of the next EQ expansion, Shadows of Luclin. As we get closer, more info starts to become available. Sony's official site can be found here. This includes a link to a bunch of screenshots. It also has a link to a video, which you can see here. A few other interesting points I've heard:

  • They released the minimum system requirements. You can find them on the Luclin page, but the short version is a P3 with 16MB of video memory, or a lesser processor with an nVidia GeForce video card. Recommended config is a P3 with a GeForce 2 and 256 megs of memory.
  • One of the cool things I've heard about the new engine is they are doing a better job culling polygons you cannot see, which would drastically reduce the rendering load in some places (like the Kunark zones full of trees). If this is true, it might well be the case that the Kunark zones get much less laggy. No more jacking back the clipping plane in Warsilks Woods. Fingers crossed...
  • They actually released a press release about the introduction of horses in Luclin. For some extravagant price, you'll be able to buy and "equip" a horse, that may well increase your speed. Personally, I don't get all the excitement around the horses, but I also am not one to go weeping and begging for SoW, so maybe I'm weird. Lots of people seem very excited about this.
  • AA Epic Quests Roll Onward
    In the last issue, I summarized the AA members who had obtained their epic quest weapons, and described the pain and sorrow that is the paladin epic quest. Since that issue, we've added a few epics to the guild. Congrats to our own Arcane Council Speaker, Gadd, who became the first AA enchanter to complete his epic quest! I notice that Gadd's armor tracker also lists Tillos as being our first ranger with an epic. Nandian became our first epic Wizard, and Kalle became our second epic Shaman. Finally, we also have at least one new member, Cloe, who came already equipped with the druid epic, bringing the number of epic equipped members up to at least 11 that I know of. That's not bad at all, particularly given how many members are well on the way through their quests.

    There are a few epic quests that AA has not completed yet, however. By my understanding, we have not yet had an epic bard, mage, necro, pally, shadow knight, or warrior. We already covered the pally quest, and the shadow knight quest was described in fantastic detail in the forums here, so I'll take this opportunity to describe what I found when I read up on another much maligned epic quest, the bard epic. The bards probably know all this; the goal is to help the rest of us understand, so we can better help our bards...

    If you want tons of details, I found what seemed like a pretty good walkthrough here, but I can summarize it for the lazy amongst us. The quest, at a high level, involves collecting 4 items:

  • The top of page 24 from a composition
  • The bottom of page 24 from a composition
  • Page 25 from a composition
  • A lute on which to play the composition

    The top of page 24 seems remarkably simple. It just involves running around a lot, basically running a relay race with a bunch of bards. For your time, you are rewarded with the top of page 24. In all fairness, it is quite a global jog.

    Getting the bottom of page 24 involves some of the more interesting and detailed plot of the quest; those who are into such things may wish to read up on it. The crux of it is trying to help a bard in South Karana resolve some issues with his long lost daughter. Someone did some very nice detective work in sleuthing out exactly who to speak to, what trigger phrases to use, etc. This stage does, however, have one difficult "to do", even if you know what to say and who to say it to. At some point you must confront a dude by the name of Maligar in West Karana. Sounds like he can be handled with a solid group around level 50 who knows what they are doing. If you succeed, you do some more errand running, and eventually end up with the bottom of page 24.

    We're starting to get warmed up, so to get page 25 you actually have to kill some stuff . To get it, you need to get some items to help a bard make lute strings. Specifically:

  • You need guts off a level 51 dragon in Skyfire.
  • You need guts off Nezekezena, a level 50 or so dragon in Burning Woods.
  • You need guts from Blackwing, a level 40 dragon in Rathe Mountains.

    In each case, it seems the means to finding the dragon is fairly well understood and shouldn't be too difficult if you are equipped to deal with the dragon once you find it. It sounds like it is worth mentioning that if you aren't careful when looking for Blackwing, you can find yourself face to face with Rharzar. He is a green drake for the Shadow Knight epic, and is level 55. This makes him much harder than the guy you are looking for, and could lead to a quick and painful death if he surprises you.

    I have to admit: in doing my research, at this point I was grumbling to myself. 3 of the 4 items down, and it just doesn't sound that hard! Yet. Now we start to get to the part that makes people groan about the bard epic almost as much as the paladin epic. You need to get that lute, which is made for you by a gnome in Steamfont. To even get him to speak to you, you run a little mini-quest that involves killing a named Cyclops in Ocean of Tears (we'll call him "Quag", because that is his name). He is level 45 or so. With the mini-quest completed, you can start to get our short friend Forpar Fizfla to talk to you, and get him to make the lute for you. He'll send you out to pick up a few items at the store, which he can use to make the head and neck of the lute. Specifically:

  • You need a Kedge Backbone from Phinigel Autropos in Kedge Keep. This is not a guaranteed drop; the walkthrough I read figures about 1 in 5 times, and says two good groups to kill him.
  • You need an Amalgym Tentacle from an Amygdalan Tendril in Fear.
  • You need a Petrified Lycanthrope Skull from the Drolvarg Warlord in Karnor's castle. This tough guy is 53 or 54.

    Now we're talking. Starting to get to some pretty nasty stuff. So you get your friends together, drag all this stuff back to Forpar, and he tells you the really bad news. This is all well and good for making the neck and head, but he still needs to make the body of the lute. Uh oh. He only wants three things to make the body. Sitting down? Two of them are a red dragon scale, most commonly found in the middle of an argument about Naggy drops, and a white dragon scale, most commonly found in the middle of an argument about Vox drops. The third item is a smithed metal bit, presumably put in here as some sort of cruel joke to try to push the poor bard over the edge. As with the book drops for paladins, you need these dragon scales, and they are not guaranteed drops by any means. Further, the red scale is also needed for the warrior epic. It would be easy to believe these quests were designed by someone who just loves watching players argue with each other over loot.

    So you went on the dragon raids! You got lucky, and got the scales! He can make your lute for you now! Assuming you don't need strings for your lute, that is. Groan. The strings for the lute drop off a little fella named Trakanon. This is apparently not the regular Trak; it is sorta like Ragefire. You kill the regular Trak, and about 18 hours later an Undead Bard spawns. You end up fighting him, and he's around level 55 or so. If you take him down, it triggers a Trakanon spawn who has the stuff you need. This Trakanon is said to be somewhat easier than the regular Trakanon, for what that is worth...

    But if you manage to go to enough dragon raids and get lucky enough to get both your scales (or unless AA becomes uber enough to get them from alternate sources like Kunark dragons), and you got your other pieces, and you finally got your strings, you can get Forpar to finish making the lute for you, and the lute combined with the song sheets you got earlier can get you the grand prize. This is a Singing Short Sword, which is regarded by some to be the best epic out there: 1hs, 16/26, STR15 DEX10 STA10 CHA15 HP50 MANA10 All Saves 10. And it procs a little ditty called Dance of the Blade, which gives the entire group 55% Haste, 30 strength, and 30 attack for 2 and a half minutes or so at a range of 150 feet. And that, my friends, does not suck. It also gives you the same instrument bonus you would get by holding any store bought instrument of any type, and gives an 80% bonus to some songs that are singing only. By all reports, it also looks totally boss.

    So which bard is getting there first in AA?

  • Karana Plague Quests
    Zsa is not usually one to sleep on such things, but I recently realized they have been adding quests in the Qeynos area surrounding the plague of Bertoxxulous in the Karanas. The early rewards aren't great, but the plot is actually pretty in depth and interesting, and the quests look like they have the potential to escalate to very nice items, not unlike the Coldain Prayer Shawl quests. A walkthrough of the first quest can be found here, but it is really a walkthrough, so don't go there if you like sorting through such things yourself. The crux of it is helping to reveal the agents of Bertoxxulous operating within Qeynos. Similarly, the second quest can be found here. The third and fourth quests seem to be solvable now, and each quest in turn gives a better neck slot item. When Zsa needs another levelling break, I may head out there and do these.
    The Bible of Damage

    All of us at some point end up having to decide which weapon or combination of weapons will work best for us. Okay, maybe not you finger wigglers. Leave me alone. So MOST of us have to answer such questions, and when doing so, knowledge is power. This is tough, since Verant doesn't release the guts of the combat engine; they won't give you the formulae they use to calculate damage and so on. Fortunately, other folks with even more time to burn than me have spent a lot of time studying damage patterns and trying to figure this out. And one guy in particular has done a great job of documenting all this. His results can be found here. It can help you answer questions like:

  • If I add X points of strength what effect might it have on my damage?
  • That guy does a LOT more damage than me! I wonder how much of it is because he's 6 levels ahead of me...
  • That weapon looks cool, but will it really help me much?
  • Should I be dual wielding these two decent weapons, or using this one shweet two handed weapon?

    The math gets reasonably thick at times, but the guy does a good job explaining things, and I think it is quite readable. He covers all sorts of topics including double attacking, dual wielding, damage bonuses, damage caps, and so on. There is a lot of misinformatino out there on these topics, and this guy seems to have put together a pretty reliable guide that cuts through the crap and gives results that sure seem to fit with what I see in practice. Zsa sez check it out...

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