I guess I’m a strange duck when it comes to what I enjoy doing to level. What I prefer fits into the grind category but it doesn’t feel like grinding to me. One of my favorite zones in Asheron’s Call 2 (AC2) was Northeast Nepath where you started a group and killed mobs repeatedly within the confines of the small area called The Crossroads. I thought it was fun. Most players say they hated the place. Go figure.
At NE Nepath, people came and went. The diversity and tactics used, changed as the class composition of the group changed. The approach you use to kill multiple mobs when there are plenty of healers is different than when there aren’t enough – or any at all. Killing a boss mob when you have a tank is the opposite of what you do when you don’t. People have to know how to kite, drop aggro when you pull it, fancy foot-work out of the way, go back to fighting and rinse repeat without dying. Consequently, you can be killing the same exact mobs in the same sequence but the strategy and tactics differ because of the players – their classes, their skill level, gear and knowledge of the encounter. Once you get beyond the Chapter 2 Public Quests, these things come into play. The moment to moment adjustments are what kept it fun and fresh for me, and are why I never tired of NE Nepath in AC2.
In Troll Country, the first Public Quest (PQ) you encounter reminds me of NE Nepath. The giant trolls are roaming the area right along side and around the outpost of NPCs. You’re meant to contain the battle inside of a corral of sorts that has guards cheering on the sidelines, as you kill the first wave of Trolls. Troll Country is in Chapter 4 (I think - am offline writing) and it’s the first PQ that requires the players to do more than run around higgly-piggly (stole that from Paul Burnett) killin’ stuff. Phase 1 is fine for people to be off on their own killing at random. Phase II will drop you on your ass and wipe the group if you’re still in the corral when it starts. Multiple BIG ASS 10-ton hitting Champions will pound you into the dirt, if you’re still standing in the corral when they first spawn. Conversely, Phase 3 will be a reset nightmare if people run out of the corral every time they pull aggro on The Rock, whose health will reset if he chases someone who runs out. No, it’s not a bug. Hold you’re ground and take it like a man or run around in circles like a girl, just don’t exit the corral.
It took me doing the PQ a couple of times to notice the rhythm needed to do this successfully with a small group. P1 = do whatever to kill 50 trolls. P2 = focus fire and please don’t wipe. P3 = pray for a tank and healer or put on your kiting boots, know where your aggro dump ability is located on the keyboard and all noobs please step to the rear.
If Phase 2 goes horribly wrong and your party dies, things are going to get interesting really quick as the Champions exit the corral and spew a can of whip-ass all over the outpost. I don’t know if this is operating as intended. The first time I saw it happen it immediately reminded me of a bad NE Nepath pull in AC2 where mobs come in kick everyone’s ass and then follow runners up into the outpost and kill everything in sight there too. People resurrecting or zoning in all become unwitting victims. I’d already been part of a bad pull with the Champions and assumed the reason they stomped me even after I ran out of the corral and onto the road was because I had aggro. Uh huh, that’s not it. They will kill everything in their path while on the rampage and stay spawned for a LONG TIME.
I found out just how long they stay spawned when I’d come back from eating lunch and zoned into the area. I was still licking my fingers and eatin’ some chips. I saw the PQ P2 was active but I was only passing thru the area so I didn’t care. I stayed on the far side of the road – and I do mean far side and sauntered down the lane toward my destination when BLAM, some big hairy mofo 1-shot me – more accurately, he 1-footed me and spit green gunk all over my corpse. Thanks!
I admit to being a bit stunned. After rez’g I peaked around the outpost to see the area in complete nuke mode. It was funny the first time I died. It was whole lot less funny the second and third time, when I couldn’t find a place they wouldn’t come after me. Having used my recall to get to the zone, I had no options other than passing thru on foot. I could exit the zone in the opposite direction but my quests were north thru Troll Country and dammit, I wanted to quest!
Eventually things settled down and I stay around to take a few pictures as a warning and reminder for future generations. When the group that I was watching wiped on P2 again I went down to help. It was no use, this group didn’t understand the sequence and I was short on time. I snapped a few pictures and zoned the hell out. Yes, I ran in the opposite direction like a girl and decided I could go farm some seeds for a while.
I have since learned that you can avoid getting sacked with the town
if your an innocent by-stander by running behind the town, over the
fence and run along the edge of the cliff. LOL I still get a kick out
of stopping to watch P2 gone bad on people while passing through.